Home » Film Highlights: Greenwich International Film Festival 2018, Greenwich, CT, USA

Film Highlights: Greenwich International Film Festival 2018, Greenwich, CT, USA

Debra C. Argen, Kevin Sebastian, Elisabeth Ness - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
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Greenwich International Film Festival 2018 (GIFF) The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) held annually in Greenwich, Connecticut is a 4-day renowned festival of films that takes place at the beginning of June. Celebrating its fourth anniversary in 2018, the female-founded festival brought an incredible selection of 49 films, panel discussions, Q & A with cast and crews of the films, its prestigious Changemaker Gala honoring actress and activist Ashley Judd and Duncan Edwards, Waterside School Executive Director, Opening Night Party with a performance by Ms. Lauryn Hill, and so much more. Luxury Experience shares some of the many film highlights.


The Films

There were 49 incredible films this year and so few hours in a day to see them, however we managed to screen 6 films over the course of 3 days and look forward to seeing the ones we missed when they hit theatres.

2018 Greenwich International Film Awards went 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

Here is what we saw:

Narrative Features Category

João, O Maestro from 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.

Debra C. Argen, Kevin Sebastian, Elisabeth Ness

There was not a dry-eye in the house during the screening of this poignant film about the Brazilian classical pianist and conductor João 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 João 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 João Carlos Martins from childhood to adulthood all play the piano in the film.


Joao, O Maestro - Q&A - GIFF 2018 - phofo by Luxury Experience
Questions and Answer – Joäo, O Maestro

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, overcoming difficulties by hardwork 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 from 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
Question and Answer – SOUFRA

There was a 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 from 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-foot vertical rock face in Yosemite National Park in January 2015 after 6 years of planning. An inspiring film about pushing yourself to realize your goals, the film follows Tommy Caldwell’s adventures and challenges from his early youth, to being kidnapped and held hostage in Kyrgystan, to losing the upper portion of his index finger, through the actual climb with Kevin Jorgeson. Tommy Caldwell 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 - DAWN WALL - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Director Josh Lowell, Edward F. Nesta

There was a Q & A following the 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 Krayenbühl, Key Cast: Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Director of Photography Bob Richman.

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

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 dynamics 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
Question and Answer – The Price of Everything

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 – February 27, 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.

"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."

Edward F. Nesta, Debra C. Argen - GIFF 2018 - photo by Luxury Experience
Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen
GIFF 2018 Open Night Party

"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:"

o Raised $350,000 for charity partners
o Awarded $100,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers
o 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

Greenwich International Film Festival -2018

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: info@GreenwichFilm.org

Website: www.GreenwichFilm.org

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