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Greenwich International Film Festival 2017, Greenwich, CT, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
GIFF - 2017 - Colleen Deveer, Wendy Reyes, Ginger Stickel - photo by Luxury Experience The third annual Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) held in Greenwich, Connecticut from June 1 - 4, 2017, was an incredible experience that featured over 60 international film premieres and screenings, educational panels and workshops, and parties that celebrated the art of film. It was a continuous round of excitement that educated, amused, and delighted audiences.

A few of the many highlights we attended 

GIFF 2017 - Betteridge Jewelers - Greenwich, CT - photo by Luxury Experience
Betteridge - "Changemaker" Cocktail Reception

GIFF 2017 - Cavier - photo by Luxury Experience
Caviar Beckoned

The Greenwich International Film Festival opened with the elaborate "Changemaker" Cocktail Reception sponsored by Betteridge and Cartier on June 1, 2017. Held at the stunning Betteridge store, jewelers since 1897, located at 239 Greenwich Avenue, chilled champagne flowed steadily and bowls of caviar beckoned, when one could take one's eyes off the luxurious displays of jewelry, including exquisite estate pieces, a few of which (Debra) had to try on. To celebrate the festival, Cartier brought some very special watches to tempt and dazzle the eyes including their stunning Panthθre watch.

GIFF 2017 - Debra C. Argen, Edward F. Nesta - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
On The Red Carpet -"Changemaker" Cocktail Reception

Academy Award-winning actress Renιe Zellweger, a recipient of the 2017 festival's "Changemaker Award for her leadership and support in the search for effective treatments and a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)" mingled with the guests, as did humanitarian, maternal health advocate and model Christy Turlington Burns who also received a "Changemaker Award" for her work with Every Mother Counts, an organization she founded to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere," and Honoree Andrew Niblock, who has ALS. A gala dinner followed at L'Escale at the Delamar Hotel.

GIFF 2017 - Renee Zellweger, Edward F. Nesta - photo by Luxury Experience
Renιe Zellweger and Edward F. Nesta

The 4-day festival films consisted of Narrative Features, Documentary Features, and Shorts Programs. We attended the Opening Night Film & Party, on June 2, 2017, that began with the dynamic premiere of the Documentary Feature Film, Bending the Arc, an American 102-minute film directed by Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos. Held at the Bow Tie Cinema on Railroad Avenue, complimentary wine helped kick off the celebratory film festival with panache.

GIFF 2017 - Colleen de Veer, Wendy Stapleton Reyes, Ginger Stickel - photo by Luxury Experience
GIFF Founders
Colleen deVeer, Wendy Stapleton Reyes, and Ginger Stickel

The film is about "the extraordinary team of doctors and activists - including Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl - whose work thirty years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. Epic, yet intimate, the film is a compelling argument for the power of collective and personal vision and will to turn the tide of history."

GIFF 2017 - Bending the Arc panelists - photo by Luxury Experience
Bending The Arc - Panelists

The screening was followed by a Q&A with Ophelia Dahl, Cori Stern, Joia Mukherjee, and Dr. Rifat Latifi (Westchester Medical Center) and Moderated by Barbara Pierce Bush. We had the opportunity to speak with Ophelia Dahl and Cori Stern after the Q&A to learn more about the film, and their involvement, and were impressed by the entire group's passion and humanity.

GIFF 2017 - Ophelia Dahl, Edward F. Nesta - photo by Luxury Experience
Ophelia Dahl and Edward F. Nesta

GIFF 2017 - Cori Sten, Debra C. Argen - photo by Luxury Experience
Cori Stern, Screenwriter and Debra C. Argen

An over-the-top Opening Night Party followed at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club, presented by Betteridge, Alfa Romeo, and Casamigos, where a concert by Flo Rida kept the audience dancing throughout the evening. A well-stocked bar and delectable hors d'oeuvres by Cuisinart along with top area restaurants including The Little Pub, BarTaco, DiCicco & Sons Events & Cuisine, Fortina, and more, complemented the fun evening.

GIFF 2017 - Flo Rida and Guests - photo by Luxury Experience
Flo Rida and Guests - Opening Night Party

Activist and head of the Social Impact Jury, Sophia Bush presented the film awards, with top honors going to director Matthew Heineman for the Best Social Impact Film, City of Ghosts, earning a $10,000 cash award. Other award-winning films included: Best Narrative Feature Film, The Strange Ones, directed by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein, Best Documentary Feature Film, Bending The Arc, directed by Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos, Best Narrative Short Film, Under Pressure, directed by Lilli Schwabe, Best Documentary Short Film, The Rabbit Hunt, directed by Patrick Bresnan, and Best Connecticut Shorts Film, Blind Sushi, directed by Eric Heimbold.

GIFF 2017 - Edward F. Nesta, Debra C. Argen - photo by Luxury Experience
Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen
Opening Night Party

On June 3, 2017, we saw the American, 93-minute, Narrative Feature, The Hero, (genre: Comedy/Drama) directed by Brett Haley, with screenwriters: Marc Basch and Brett Haley, Cast: Krysten Ritter, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Sam Elliott, and Katherine Ross, Producers: Sam Bisbee, Amy Jarvela, Houston King, and Erik Rommesmo.

"The Hero stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality. Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy."

As longtime fans of Sam Elliot "the voice" and Katherine Ross, it was a pleasure watching the on-screen chemistry between this dynamic couple who have been married since 1984.

Celebrating its third anniversary in 2017, the Greenwich International Film Festival is about "Making an Impact," and with the high-quality of films, programs, and parties, they clearly succeeded in hitting their mark. We eagerly look forward to the 2018 Greenwich International Film Festival.

"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 film to serve the greater good by supporting charity partners with festival proceeds."

"GIFF strives to Make an Impact on the local community and the world beyond. To date, GIFF has:

•  Donated more than $125,000 to charity partners
• Awarded $70,000 to talented filmmakers
• Offered a wide variety of free educational programs to the community
 • Raised awareness on important issues facing the world today through our programming. Topics have included:  Human rights • Cyber bullying • Gun Control • Racial Injustice • Prison Reform • Educational Reform • Environmental Issues • Forced Migration • Mental Health • Women's Rights
 • Honored Humanitarian Changemakers including 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:

Greenwich International Film Festival

Greenwich International Film Festival
55 Old Field Point Road
Greenwich, CT 06830
United States
Telephone:         +1 203-717-1800
Fax:                    +1 203-717-1804
Email:                  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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© June 2017. Luxury Experience.  All rights reserved.

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