Greenwich International Film Festival 2018, Greenwich, CT, USA - Highlights
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Greenwich International Film Festival 2018 Honorees - photo by Luxury Experience The 2018 Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) held in Greenwich, Connecticut celebrated its fourth year of excellence of making an impact. For film fans, attending the festival was more than just seeing an incredible selection of 49 films, it also provided the opportunity to meet with directors, producers, and actors to learn the backstory of the making of the films. Combined with their annual prestigious Changemaker Gala and Opening Night Party featuring a performance by Ms. Lauren Hill, the 2018 Greenwich International Film Festival was an enchanting success.

 

Ashley Judd, Edward F. Nesta -GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Ashley Judd and Edward F. Nesta

Let the festivities begin... May 31, 2018 - The Changemaker Gala

The 2018 Greenwich International Film Festival was off to an impressive start with the Changemaker Gala benefitting UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and Waterside School. The festivities for the prestigious gala evening began with a cocktail reception held at the stunning Betteridge store, jewelers since 1897, located at 239 Greenwich Avenue where guests had the opportunity to meet Changemaker Honoree Ashley Judd while sipping champagne, enjoying hors d'oeuvres, and indulging in trying on exquisite jewelry.

Terry Betteridge, Ashley Judd - GIFF 2018 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Terry Betteridge and Ashley Judd

The Changemaker Gala evening continued with a sumptuous Awards Dinner at L'Escale located at 500 Steamboat Avenue overlooking the water. A magical setting,

GIFF 2018 Gala Dinner - photo by Luxury Experience
Changemaker Gala Awards Dinner

 

The Changemaker Gala Menu


Appetizer

Asparagus Vichyssoise Truffle Cream


Duet Entre

Herb Crusted Halibut & Grilled Angus Filet Mignon

Yellow and Green Beans Bundle

Multigrain & Spinach Croquette


Dessert

Mixed Petit Fours


Signature Cocktail

Make An Impact: Casamigos Tequila, Lime, Club Soda

 

Debra C. Argen - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen at The Changemaker Gala

Jenna Bush Hager, Master of Ceremonies, awarded Changemaker Honoree Ashley Judd for her work with UNFPA, and Community Changemaker Honoree Duncan Edwards for his work at the Waterside School in Stamford, Connecticut during the gala dinner.

 

Duncan Edwards - GIFF 2018 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Duncan Edwards

"GIFF awards artists who've used their voice for positive social change through their philanthropic endeavors and their career accomplishments. This event, sponsored by Betteridge, supports charity partners; UNFPA, Americares and the Waterside School."

 

GIFF 2018 Honorees - photo by Luxury Experience
Greenwich International Film Festival Honorees

Colleen deVeer, Ginger Stickel, Duncan Edwards,
Ashley Judd, Wendy Stapleton, Jenna Bush Hager

 

Gabriella Dias, Mark Lindsay, Donna Lindsay - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Gabriella Dias, Mark and Donna Lindsay
(Executive Board Members)

 

June 1, 2018 - Opening Night Party

 

The opening night film was The Price of Everything, an entry from the USA, Director Natahniel Kahn, Producers Jennifer Blei Stockman, Debi Wisch, Carla Solomon, Editor Sabine Krayenbhl, Key Cast: Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Director of Photography Bob Richman.

Edward Nesta, Debra C. Argen - GIFF 2018 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward F. Nesta & Debra C. Argen
Opening Night Party

The film explores the contemporary art world and questions whether art is a commodity, beauty or an asset? The film delves into the interwoven dynamic of the artist, art collector, art dealer, and auction houses and how each entity effects one another, and as well as their influence on current art darlings Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Nijdeka Akunyil Crosby, "one-time art star" Larry Poons, and Amy Cappellazzo from Sotheby's who appear in the film.

Debra C. Argen, Artist  Larry Poons - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen and Larry Poons

The Q & A had the added benefit of having artist Larry Poons and Amy Cappellazzo on the panel.

Ginger Stickel, Colleen deVeer, Ryan Eggold, Sam Kleiner - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Ginger Stickel, Colleen deVerr,
Ryan Eggold, Sam Kleiner

Following the film, we went to the Opening Night Party held at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, where actor Ryan Eggold presented the 2018 Greenwich International Film Awards to the following films:

Best Narrative Feature: Find This Dumb Bitch and Throw Her Into a River

Best Documentary Film: The Dawn Wall

Best Narrative Short: The Peculiar Abilities of Mr. Mahler

Best Documentary Short: Kayayo - The Living Shopping Baskets

Best Connecticut Short: The Hammamis

Best Social Impact: Crime + Punishment

 

Lauryn Hill - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Lauryn Hill

Part of the excitement of the Opening Night Party is the top entertainment, and for 2018,there was an electrifying performance by Ms. Lauryn Hill and her band, followed by music from DJ April Larken who kept the party going all night long.

DJ April Larken - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
DJ April Larken

Watch Lauryn Hill perform Everything is Everything- https://youtu.be/HL0A_f9Ts_s

The Films - June 1 - 3, 2018

Forty-nine fabulous films and (3) days to screen them... here are the films we saw during the festival.

Narrative Features Category

Joo, O Maestro, Brazil, Screenwriter Mauro Lima. Producer Paula Barretto, Editor Bruno Lasevicius, Key Cast: Aleks Alifirenko, Jr., Al Bernstein, Todd Blood, Kevin Sebastian, Director of Photography Paulo Vainer.

There was not a dry-eye in the house during the screening of this poignant film about the Brazilian classical pianist and conductor Joo Carlos Martins. Telling the story of his life from his childhood fraught with illness through adulthood, the film beautifully captures the passion, the pain, and the incredible challenges that Joo Carlos overcame throughout his life to realize his goal. It is a film that inspires and touches the spirit. In Portuguese and English, this film is a "must see." Interesting to note is that the three actors who play Joo Carlos Martins from childhood to adulthood all play the piano in the film.

 

Joao, O Maestro - GIFF 2018 - Q&A - photo by Luxury Experience
Joo, O Maestro - Q & A session

There was a Q & A following the film.

Documentary Features Category

Chef Flynn, USA, Director Cameron Yates, Producer Laura Coxson, Editor Hannah Buck, Key Cast: Flynn McGarry, Director of Photography Paul Yee.

The film is about Chef Flynn McGarry, a precocious gourmet chef who started cooking at 10, gave multi-course elegant gourmet dinners in his family's living room transformed nightly into a dining room at age 13, and opened his own restaurant in New York City at age 19. The film captures a young boy's passion for creating gourmet cuisine, over coming difficulties by hard work and stages in some of the top restaurants in the USA that helped shape what will hopefully be a creative talent in the culinary world for a long time. This film for foodies should come with the warning to eat well before the seeing the film or else you will be very hungry watching Chef Flynn's beautiful presentations.

Director Cameron Yates, Debra C. Argen, Laura Coxson - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Director Cameron Yates, Debra C. Argen, Producer Laura Coxson

There was a Q & A following the film.

SOUFRA, Lebanon/USA, Director Thomas A. Morgan, Screenwriters Thomas A. Morgan, Mohamed El Manasterly, Producers Kathleen Gynn, Trevor Hall, Craig Piligian, Editor Mohamed Manasterly, Tabitha Rae Koh, Key Cast: Miriam Shaar, Director of Photography Johny Karam.

This inspiring film takes place in Lebanon and is about a generational refugee Miriam Shaar who has lived her entire life in a refugee camp. With little to look forward to in terms of earning money, she overcomes incredible odds and becomes an entrepreneur and engages other women refugees to help her start a catering company and a successful food truck. It is a wonderful story about never giving up and pursuing one's dreams against all odds.

SOUFRA - Q&A - GIFF 2018 - Photo by Luxury Experience
SOUFRA - Q & A session

There wasa Q & A following the film, and a lovely dessert from Green Leaf Catering to leave the audience with a delicious taste of the spirit of the film.

The Dawn Wall, USA. Directors Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer, Producers Josh Lowell, Philipp Maderla, Peter Mortimer, Editor Josh Lowell, Key Cast: Tommy Caldwell, Kevin Jorgeson, Director of Photography Brett Lowell. This film won the Best Documentary Feature award.

This adventurous film is about intrepid rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who go against all odds in their efforts to climb The Dawn Wall of El Capitan, the 3,000-footv ertical rock face in Yosemite National Park in January 2015 after 6 years of planning. An inspiring film about pushing yourself to realize your goals, thefilm follows Tommy Caldwell's adventures and challenges from his early youth,to being kidnapped and held hostage in Kyrgystan, to losing the upper portionof his index finger, through the actual climb with Kevin Jorgeson. TommyCaldwell proves the quote, perseverance wins, as he and Kevin Jorgeson never give up and follow their dreams. The film is an adventure-lovers dream of a film that had our hearts in our mouths watching their daring climb.

Director Josh Lowell, Edward F. Nesta - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Director Josh Lowell and Edward F. Nesta

There was a Q & A followingthe film.

Note: After we saw the film, on June 6, 2018 Tommy Caldwell climbing with Alex Honnold broke the record of climbing The Nose at El Capitan in under 2-hours.

The Price of Everything, USA, Director Natahniel Kahn, Producers Jennifer Blei Stockman, Debi Wisch, Carla Solomon, Editor Sabine Krayenbhl, Key Cast: Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Director of Photography Bob Richman.

The Price of Everything was the Opening Night Film of the festival. The film explores the contemporary art world and questions whether art is a commodity, beauty or an asset? The film delves into the interwoven dynamic of the artist, art collector, art dealer, and auction houses and how each entity effects one another, and as well as their influence on current art darlings Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Nijdeka Akunyil Crosby, "one-time art star" Larry Poons, and Amy Cappellazzo from Sotheby's who appear in the film.

The Price of Everything - Q&A GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
The Price of Everything - Q & A session

The Q & A had the added benefit of having artist Larry Poons and Amy Cappellazzo on the panel.

Won't You Be My Neighbor, USA,Director Morgan Neville, Producers Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma, Morgan Neville, Editors Jeff Malmberg and Aaron Wickenden, Key Cast: Fred Rogers, Director of Photography Graham Willoughby.

This film follows the life of Fred Rogers (March 20, 1928 - February27, 2003) the man who changed children's television programming over the course of 50 years. Wearing a cardigan sweater and with simple props, puppets, and an easy approach, he engaged children talking to them about their feelings, and "beseeching us to love and allow ourselves to be loved" in his television program which touched so many lives.

The Greenwich International Film Festival celebrated its 4th anniversary in 2018 and we were thrilled to celebrate with them on their tremendous achievement of bringing a world-class festival to Greenwich, Connecticut. Bravo! We cannot wait to see what they create for the 2019 Greenwich International Film Festival!

Mark Teixeira, Edward F. Nesta - GIFF 2018 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Mark Teixeira (Board of Directors) and Edward F. Nesta
The Changemaker Gala

"Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a non-profit organization that hosts a world class film festival each June and supporting events throughout the year. It was founded to bridge the worlds of film, finance, and philanthropy. The Festival's mission is to provide filmmakers with the opportunity to showcase their work with the goal of finding financing for future projects. Additionally, GIFF harnesses the power of filmto serve the greater good by supporting charity partners with festival proceeds."

"Since its foundation in 2014, Greenwich International Film Festival has matured into a year-round organization with programming that entertains, educates and inspires audience members through film. GIFF strives to Make an Impact on the local community and the world beyond. To date, GIFF has:"

Raised $350,000 for charity partners

Awarded $100,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers

Offered a wide variety of free educational programs to the community


Raised awareness of important issues facing the world today through our programming, including Human rights, Cyberbullying, Gun Control, Racial Injustice, Prison Reform, Educational Reform, Environmental Issues, Forced Migration, Mental Health, Women's Rights

Honored humanitarian Changemakers including Renee Zellweger, Christy Turlington Burns, Trudie Styler, Freida Pinto, Harry Belafonte, Mia Farrow, and Abigail Breslin

 

 

To learn more about attending or submitting films for consideration for the next Greenwich International Film Festival, please visit the website: www.GreenwichFilm.org

GIFF 2018 - Greenwich International Film Festival

Greenwich International Film Festival

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