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NIFF: Niagara Integrated Film Festival

The curtain is about to go up on NIFF, Niagara’s very own film festival!

From June 19 – 22, film lovers will be flocking to watch movies both big and small at venues in St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Have you checked out the lineup of movies and events? Are you feeling a little overwhelmed about what to choose? Because we love our readers, The Niagara Local has put together a simple approach for planning out your NIFF experience.

Thanks to JoAnne Wang and Lauren O’Malley for sending us in the right direction for NIFF.

1. Experienced film festival goers will tell you that the best way to plan for a festival is to make a spreadsheet! Create a calendar with time of day on the left and days across the top. (If you’re going to NIFF with a group of people, sharing a spreadsheet on Google Drive is a great way to do joint planning.)

2. Think about what’s important to you at NIFF: what are the criteria that will make the experience for you? Do you want to see a premiere? Documentary? Canadian made movies only? Famous actors? Do you want a winery experience? Do you want to see the director in person? Do you want to bring your kids?

3. Now take your time and go through the list of movies on the NIFF site. Read the synopses and watch the trailers, and add anything that looks interesting into your calendar. Make note of any factors that are important to you: family friendly, venue, director, actors, etc. This is where you can get really fancy and use colour coding!

4. Once you’ve made your way through the entire program, go back to your schedule and see what you’ve got. Where there are movies that don’t work for your personal schedule, eliminate them. Where there are multiple movies at the same time, revisit the descriptions and trailers and only keep the most interesting ones for you.

5. Now you should have a schedule of movies that you are drawn to for one reason or another. This is the time to use your notes and personal criteria to narrow down your choices even more. At this point, you should be left with a short list of movies to pick from.

Now-  just in case a spreadsheet isn’t your thing, here are a few picks that caught this local’s eye.

For family:  Ribbit. Who doesn’t love a frog?

For the full on Niagara winery experience: Red Obsession. “A film about power, passion and the fine wine game”.  Filmalicious Dinner at Trius Winery at Hillebrand

For laughs:  Cas & Dylan. Because you just can’t get enough of Richard Dreyfuss.

For love:  Third Person.  Two words. Liam Neeson.

For learning: Food for Change.  Also the best chance to run into Tiffany Mayer of Eating Niagara.

We also asked fellow local, Lauren O’Malley of Gathering Niagara for her picks.  Here is her short list:

Cold in July (Michael C Hall, Don Johnson and Sam Shepard, and more twists than a pretzel)

A Kind of Wonderful Thing (local; looks very good all around)

The Best Offer (mainly for the director and Ennio Morricone)

Dead Before Dawn (looks like a total blast!)

Frank (existential comedy about literally being unable to manage without a mask)

Hellion (love Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis)

God Help the Girl (great story about the making of the film)

Four Corners (gritty and tough South African)

and for the truly local:

Niagara Rises: a series of films from the talents within the Niagara region. 

That’s it! You’re ready to buy your tickets to the very first Niagara Integrated Film Festival. Have fun, and we’ll see you at the movies!

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