Wonderful Waterloo Archive

This site is maintained by Sam Nabi as a record of the vibrant Wonderful Waterloo community, which was taken offline in 2014. This site is a partial archive, containing some posts from 2009-2013. To read more about the recovery effort and access the data in a machine-readable format, check out the GitHub page.

Grand River Film Festival

Post #258
01-02-2010 10:42 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,555
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
Grand River Film Festival

History of GRFF
In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, ‘We shape our cities and in turn they shape us’. But, cultural success requires political action, business support and community commitment in order to realize the benefits of dreaming the ‘BIG’ dream.

With these thoughts in mind, it is with great excitement that we announce the 3rd Annual Grand River Film Festival, to be held on the banks of the Grand River in Cambridge – Oct 22-25, throughout the cities of Cambridge and Kitchener.

It is my belief that this festival has become a cornerstone of this region’s cultural renaissance and an annual focal point of provocative screenings of movies from around the world, which may shape and change the way we view the globe.

The mission of this Festival is investing in our youth. We hope to accomplish this goal through a structured volunteer program and a shared love for cinema. And, by making an investment in our youth by providing year-round skills development, professional training and mentoring opportunities for the next generation of community leaders, business people and perhaps, even a filmmaker or two.

Complemented by parties, special events, Q & A’s by industry professionals and star appearances, this festival is poised to become South Western Ontario’s annual gathering point for movie lovers of all ages.
Post #259
01-02-2010 10:42 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,555
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
Festival's growing pains in past
December 19, 2007

Not bad for a first try. . That's how Ken Nakamura sizes up the 2007 Grand River Film Festival.

Now that festival volunteers know their jobs, a better time of year is available and people are learning how to party, the festival's founder expects a bigger 2008 edition.

"Part of the educational process is teaching Cambridgites how to festival," Nakamura said.

"To festival" is more than just buying a ticket and watching a movie. It's turning to the person sitting beside you when the house lights go up and asking what they thought of the film.

"The point of a festival is getting talking and debating."

Only towards the end did Nakamura sense that people were starting to understand the festival was a dinner party with movies as the buffet.

"What I started to see was the socializing . . . when the film was over, they started to talk, they started to get it."

The 2007 edition of the festival ran on the first and second weekends of October. That put it hard against K-W Oktoberfest, which cut into attendance more than Nakamura expected.

This year, he's proposing a move to a five-day run in the third week of September, when there's no big competition.

Last year nine films were shown three times each. Most screenings were at the University of Waterloo school of architecture, and a few at the Waterloo Region's Children's Museum in Kitchener.

This year, he's planning 41 films shown once each, at the school of architecture, the museum and Wilfrid Laurier University.

It cost about $70,000 to put on the festival in 2007, thanks to corporate and personal donations.

"We're pretty close to breaking even. I knew that going in," Nakamura said.
Post #260
01-02-2010 10:45 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,555
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
Sound system, projector are must-haves for Grand River Film Festival director
October 05, 2009
By Terry Pender, Record staff

CAMBRIDGE — More than anything else the Grand River Film Festival needs . . . a 35-mm projector and a sound system.

Without a permanent home and a 35 mm projector, the organizers cannot screen the latest offerings from the film festival circuit, Ken Nakamura, the founder and artistic director of the Grand River Film Festival, said.

Most of the movies screened at the Grand River Film Festival, which runs Oct. 22 to 25, are already on DVD.

Nakamura feels frustrated in his efforts to build a world-class film festival here because of the lack of basic cinematic infrastructure.

“We are challenged in many ways,” Nakamura said in an interview Monday.

“I see wonderful films travelling to Sundance, Cannes and Berlin but they are only available on 35 mm if you want them as a premiere,” Nakamura said.

A 35-mm projector and a good sound system can cost upwards of $150,000.

The festival’s Opening Night Gala, Pontypool, will be screened at the Galaxy Cambridge on Thursday, Oct. 22, using a 35-mm projector. But that theatre did not want to screen other festival offerings during the weekend.

“Try to get Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it’s impossible,” Nakamura said.

It was the same for other commercial cinemas with 35-mm projectors.

The school of architecture in Cambridge hosts festival screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but not during the week because of lectures.

“And the problem there is it’s on a Christi Digital Projector, it’s not 35-mm,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura said he would like to the see the 650-seat Drayton Festival Theatre, which will be constructed in Cambridge next year, become the permanent home for the Grand River Film Festival in that city.

“We are in discussions,” Nakamura said.

The 500-seat Gig Theatre on Ontario Street in downtown Kitchener is an ideal location for the festival’s permanent home.

Nakamura said a corporate sponsor or sponsors are needed so the festival can buy and install 35-mm projectors and sound systems in those two locations.

“My God, we are community of 500,000 people, we deserve this. Come on, Sudbury’s film festival is in its 21 year,” Nakamura said.

Cinefest, the Sudbury International Film Festival, quickly established itself as the fourth largest film festival in the country after it started in 1988. It is held immediately following the Toronto International Film Festival and screens many galas and features from TIFF.

The organizers of the Sudbury Film Festival screen all of their movies at a single multiplex cinema. There is a gala every night of the festival, which ran from Sept. 19 to 27 this year. The after-parties are held at a variety of locations around that city every night.

The Cinefest Galas included Precious, the latest movie from Lee Daniels, which won the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. That movie is not slated for general release until next month.

Until the organizers of the Grand River Film Festival can secure large venues with 35-mm projectors, they are trying to build audiences by adding another layer of experience — directors, writers and stunt specialists will attend this year’s festival.

“We are trying to put the sizzle in front of the movie,” Nakamura said. “As much as possible we are trying to get actors, directors, etc., to come and support it.”

It cost $18,000 to bring Yojiro Takita and his wife to the Grand River Film Festival from Japan. He directed Departures, which won this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar.

“I am very proud of that, bringing an Oscar-winning director to this region. It is huge, huge for the arts and culture community I think,” Nakamura said.

For film festival information, go to www.grff.ca.
Post #1377
01-30-2010 05:45 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,555
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
Grand River Film Festival might end without Cambridge grant
By Kevin Swayze, Record staff - January 29, 2010

CAMBRIDGE — The Grand River Film festival could fade to black after Cambridge rejected a $15,000 grant request to help the three-year-old event.

“I think that our board has to decide if we want to discontinue the film festival, or scale back to smaller event, which is something personally I don’t want to do,” said David Marskell, chair of the volunteer board.

The board might also refocus on Kitchener and Waterloo sponsorships, so the event is no longer “Cambridge centric.” Or the festival could become a film society, running events through the year, he said.

Thursday, city councillors voted 4-3 to reject adding the money to the city’s proposed 2010 budget. Councillors Ben Tucci and Pam Wolf, and Mayor Doug Craig supported the grant. Councillors Gary Price, Linda Whetham, Karl Kiefer and Rick Cowsill voted no.

Council meets March 1 to finalize a budget with a 2.7 per cent tax hike, or $27 more on a house assessed at $214,000.

Marskell wasn’t at Thursday’s meeting. Friday, he was surprised to hear Cambridge rejected a grant.

“We will obviously go back and plead our case,” he said.

The festival cost about $100,000 to run in 2009. With the help of corporate sponsorships, money from the Trillium foundation and a city grant of $20,000, it finished with a $3,000 surplus.

Despite a successful year, the festival isn’t ready to survive without the annual grant from Cambridge, Marskell said.

The festival asked Cambridge for $20,000 this year too, but nothing was allocated in the draft budget.

Wolf said it was “too harsh” to cut funding. She and Tucci tried to convince council to support a lower grant of $15,000, to give some help while showing fiscal restraint.

“I don’t think they’re at the point to cut them off. You might as well kill the festival,” Tucci said.

Price said the film festival recovered from a first year “disaster” with the help of the Cambridge library, which is experienced in with weekly film nights.

“The library board has pulled away from it because they believe the Grand River Film Festival is on the right track and can run it themselves.”

Marskell said the festival learned much while co-operating with the library, but now needs to hire a part-time worker to handle tickets and paperwork.

The city only intended to help the festival find its financial feet, said Coun. Karl Kiefer.

“They have proven and shown they can exist on their own. It shows they’re on the right track and doing quite fine, thank you.”