Sunday, 21 June 2015

Niagara Integrated Film Festival - NIFF 2015

Finally one of my Film Festival wishes has come true thanks to the legendary Bill Marshall who was one of the co-founders of the Toronto International Film Festival and his partner Sari Ruda (co-founder and President.

In 2014 after many years of trying to get it started this dynamic duo finally got the Niagara Integrated Film Festival off the ground.  A festival that pairs Food & Wine and Film into one festival.   
Bill Marshall
Sari Ruda 

This is a more civilized way to attend a Film Festival.  The film screenings are held at different wineries around the Niagara Region and also at a couple of theatres in a couple of malls.  This is only the second year for the festival but you would never know it based on the expert team that is in place who have many years of festival experience.  The festival ran from June 18-21 which is high season for weddings but also a great time to have an indoor/outdoor festival in the Niagara Region when things are in full bloom.

At the wineries you can attend a 3 course dinner with wine pairings and then stay to watch a film outside in a tent on the winery grounds.  You can purchase the dinner and film package for $159 but you can also purchase tickets for the film screening only for $29.  Fancy snacks and wine were also available for the screening portion.  Ticket prices for the mall screenings are $12.50 for adults and $10 for seniors/students which is a great price for a film festival film.  

Hopefully in time there will be more sponsors to bring down the costs of the winery screenings.

Even though this is a relatively small festival compared to the behemoth TIFF festival there are still some films with a few high profile people.  The "Filmalicious" screening that I attended at Redstone Winery screened the film MATCH starring Sir Patrick Stewart.  The Filmalicious program is the Winery screenings that include a 3 course dinner and wine pairing and a screening of a film after the dinner.  Redstone Winery has only been open for 2 weeks so we were the first group of people to sample their dinner menu.  I will go into more detail about the dinner in another blog post on  I will also post a separate post about the film Match.

Other films at the festival included Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship which stars well known Canadian Actor Enrico Colantoni (Remedy).  I was trying to see that film but didn't have the time.  Another film that is in theatres now that screened at NIFF was I'll see you in my Dreams starring Blythe Danner.  And the film For Grace, a documentary about Chicago Michelin Star Chef Curtis Duffy screened at Peller Estates and Chef Duffy and Director Kevin Pang were in attendance.  The sci-fi film Advantageous co-written and acted by Jacqueline Kim screened at Henry of Pelham and Ms. Kim was in attendance at that screening.

I sat down with Founder Bill Marshall at the White Oaks Resort where the festival set up shop for their Industry day and for media interviews and asked him a few questions about the festival.

For more information about the Niagara Integrated Film Festival Http://

Still photos of Bill Marshall and Sari Ruda provide by GatPR.

Programming Team: Tony Watts - Director of Programming, Kate Yorga - Programming Manager & Emma Norton - Assistant Programmer