This weekend you have a tasty new reason to visit the Niagara region: the Niagara Integrated Film Festival is launching its inaugural year, offering a weekend of exciting film presentations paired with incredible wine and food from award-winning local vineyards. Developed by TIFF founder Bill Marshall, NIFF marks an effort to bring the renowned cinema culture of Toronto to the Niagara region like never before, with several delicious ways to experience the best of both worlds. It’s the film festival that treats you like a star, and it runs this Thursday June 19th through to Sunday the 22nd!
Festival highlights include a variety of programs designed to tickle your tastebuds and whet your cinematic appetites, including:
Filmalicious – Touted as the “ultimate wine and dine experience,” this dinner-and-a-movie event will be hosted at some of the region’s most renowned vineyards, offering custom catered food, delicious wine, and a film, along with some guest speakers and additional entertainment at select screenings.
Film Feast – This “non-stop sampling of wines, hors d’oeuvres and movies” includes a Niagara bus tour where you will visit two wineries and a micro-brewery, sampling a flight of vintages and brews alongside a variety of delicious items at each location. This all accompanied by a selection of Canada’s best shorts from “Canada’s Not Short on Talent“, a special presentation of works which have been curated by Cannes programmer Danny Lennon.
The World’s Smallest Film Festival – This film competition features shorts that were shot exclusively using a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, iPad, etc) as a way to showcase the extreme creativity of filmmakers working only with today’s groundbreaking mobile film technologies. The theme for the competition is Water – an integral element of the Niagara Region and it’s award-winning products.
A few film selections that stand out at the festival include:
The Peter Sellers “Hector Dimwittie Trilogy” – The Canadian premiere of three rare 30-minute films featuring legendary actor Peter Sellers in the role of Hector Dimwittie, the titles of which are Death of a Salesman, Insomnia is Good for You, and Cold Comfort.
Restrung – Mike Enn‘s portrait of Randall Wyn Fullmer, a former Disney artist/animator/producer who gave up his career in order to pursue his passion of creating handcrafted bass guitars.
Ribbit – A 3D animated feature about a frog searching for his place in the great big pond we call the world, featuring the voice talents of Sean Astin, Tim Curry, and Russell Peters.
Love Is Strange – A drama directed by Ira Sachs exploring a same-sex couple who are forced to live apart after one of them loses their job. The film stars Alfred Molina, John Lithgow, and Marisa Tomei.
More Than Honey – This award-winning mixture of personal essay and nature documentary explores the global epidemic affecting the honeybee colonies of the world, which continue to decline in population each year.
Cold in July – This thriller starring Dexter’s Michael C. Hall tells the story of a family man who shoots a petty burglar late one night at his house in defense, only to have his entire life turned upside down when the victim’s ex-con father rolls into town bent on revenge.
Earth to Echo – Three friends begin to investigate strange occurrences in their neighbourhood, but soon find themselves in over their heads when they discover an alien from another world who needs their help.
And to see a glimpse of what’s in store for festival-goers, check out the image gallery below from the NIFF press conference, when founder Bill Marshall introduced the festival alongside several filmmakers and festival supporters, and we all were treated to a bunch of delicious things!