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Organizers Look To Premiere A New Kind Of Film Festival For Greenwich

Left to right: GIFF Founders Carina Crain, Wendy Reyes and Colleen deVeer
Left to right: GIFF Founders Carina Crain, Wendy Reyes and Colleen deVeer Photo Credit: ChiChi Ubiña

GREENWICH, Conn. -- If Greenwich residents Carina Crain, Wendy Reyes and Colleen deVeer have it their way, the Greenwich International Film Festival, playing for the first time this June, will become an annual mini-Cannes with a social impact focus. 

The three women, who met through their kids' schools, have backgrounds in screenwriting, nonprofits, fundraising, acting/producing, fine arts and fashion, respectively. (Among the three of them and GIFF's COO, they have 12 children under the age of 10 among them.)

It has taken two years, but their vision of a different kind of film festival -- first sparked as part of a dinner party conversation -- is about to come to fruition, combining the world of film, finance and philanthropy. 

"GIFF will eventually create an alternative market for film deals to take place which will support up-and-coming film talent," said Reyes. "We also hope to open up  a window to the world for Greenwich residents via our partnership with UNICEF and with our focus on social impact films."

In addition to the 29 films to be shown over a four-day period beginning June 4, there will be a host of panels with discussions on “Women in Production," “The Changing Face of Television," “How to use Film to Create Social Impact,"  and “Inside Film Financing."

The panels, said Reyes, are packed with A-listers in their fields. "One exciting panel is 'Sports Guys on Sports Movies,' which will officially launch the festival on the evening of June 4," she said. "Mark Teixeira, a GIFF board member, is spearheading the panel, which will be moderated by Mike Greenberg of ESPN."

There will also be a Children’s Acting Workshop with Hollywood child stars on Saturday, June 6. Some very fun parties begin with an opening night soiree hosted Friday night by Jenna Bush Hager and another event on Saturday, June 6, emceed by Greenwich's own Kathie Lee Gifford.

As for the films, expect an eclectic mix of shorts, features and documentaries, all of which were selected by a team of programmers from the 450 submissions. Reyes said the films were also chosen by the women through relationships forged over the last two years with distributors.

Of particular interest: A film written, directed and produced by Greenwich native Paul Dalio. Additionally, Greenwich’s own Luke Lorentzen directed "Santa Cruz del Islote" about a community in Colombia.

"Both films are fantastic and we are very proud to showcase these emerging local artists," said Reyes.

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