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2017 Greenwich International Film Festival Announces Full Slate of Programming

Greenwich International Film Festival schedule

Greenwich International Film Festival logo

The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) has announced the full movie slate and event programming for its upcoming third annual edition, which is set to run between June 1-4 in Greenwich, Connecticut. GIFF, which is run by women, is set to feature movies that focus on the social impact that society’s biggest issues have on all citizens.

GIFF’s goal is to bridge the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy. The festival, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will benefit its charity partners with its proceeds. For more information on GIFF’s mission, as well as ticket, screening and programing information, visit the festival’s official website.

The third annual Changemaker Gala and Awards, which will be held on GIFF’s opening night on Thursday, June 1, will honor artists who have used their public platform and the power of film to further positive social change. This year, Renée Zellweger and Christy Turlington Burns will be honored for their humanitarian work with ALS and Every Mother Counts, respectively. The event, which will be presented by CuisinArt Resorts & Residences and ALS FindingACure, will include a cocktail reception at Betteridge, and will be followed by a black tie dinner at L’Escale in Greenwich.

A noteworthy panel that will also take place on June 1 is Live From Connecticut: A Conversation with ‘Saturday Night Live‘ writers. The event, which will be held at 7:00pm at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, will show how NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ has gone on to become one of the most popular, celebrated and longest-running programs in television history. The legendary late-night sketch show, which is known for the irreverent manner in which it has poked fun at politics and pop culture, has been a preeminent launching pad for some of the best comedy writers and performers of the last forty years. In partnership with First Republic, the panel will feature a discussion with leading ‘SNL’ writers, including Tim Herlihy and Bryan Tucker, who will discuss the creative process of bringing the script to the screen with moderator Lorne Manly of the New York Times.

The screening section of GIFF will begin the following evening, on Friday, June 2, with the documentary, ‘Bending the Arc.’ The movie follows the team of doctors and activists whose work to save lives in a rural Haitian village thirty years ago grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. The film, which was directed by Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos, was also an Official Selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

‘Bending the Arc’s GIFF screening will include a special Town Hall Panel Q&A that will be moderated by Barbara Pierce Bush, and feature Ophelia Dahl (Partners in Health), writer-producer Cori Stern, Joia Mukherjee (Partners in Health) and Rifat Latifi, M.D. from Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). WMCHealth is the presenting sponsor of ‘Bending the Arc’ and its Q&A discussion, which will focus on the state of global healthcare, following the screening.

Another event that will be held on June 2 is the Opening Night Party, during which actress, activist and humanitarian Sophia Bush will present the Best Social Impact Film Award. The prize will be awarded to one film across all categories that promotes social change and awareness. The films in competition for The Social Impact Prize will be determined by the GIFF team and will be awarded by the festival’s Social Impact Jury. The prize will have a cash value of $10,000.00 USD. The Social Impact Jury is comprised of actors, activists, philanthropists and entertainment professionals. The award will be presented to the winning director during an awards ceremony, where he or she will be presented with a trophy and receive a check.

The festival will also host a special performance by Flo Rida, which will be open to the public, and will also be held on Friday, June 2. Tickets are now available on GIFF’s official website.

What are some of the movies that will be featured at GIFF? Check out the list of some of the notable narrative films below.

5 Doctors
Directed by: Max Azulay and Matt Porter
Starring: Max Azulay, Matt Porter, Emily Walton, Zoe Azulay and Bobby Moynihan
Synopsis: Convinced that he’s dying from a bizarre array of symptoms, struggling comedian Spencer Kaminsky returns home to visit his five childhood doctors in a single day, all while desperately trying to avoid the friends and family that he left behind.

A Bad Idea Gone Wrong
Directed by: Jason Headley
Starring: Matt Jones, Will Rogers and Eleanor Pienta
Synopsis: A comedy about two would-be thieves who accidentally arm the alarm system and have to break out of the house they just broke into. When they discover an unexpected housesitter, they suddenly have to deal with a hostage situation, double crosses, sexual tensions, and discoveries that make their difficult escape even more dubious. SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Best Ensemble.

Directed by: Quinn Shephard
Starring: Trieste Kelly Dunn, Chris Messina, Tate Donovan, Geneva Carr and Quinn Shephard
Synopsis: It’s the start of a new year at a small suburban high school—Abigail (Quinn Shephard) is an eternal outcast returning for the first time after a mysterious event the previous year. Facing constant bullying, Abigail escapes from her hostile surroundings by immersing herself in the worlds of the characters she reads about, much to the amusement of her manipulative classmate, Melissa (Nadia Alexander). When the girls’ intriguing new drama teacher Jeremy (Chris Messina) announces Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible” as their fall show, and casts Abigail over Melissa in the starring role, Abigail’s confidence blooms — but soon her relationship with Jeremy begins to move beyond the fantasy world she’s constructed. This taboo bond strikes a nerve in Melissa, fueling a vengeful jealousy that quickly spirals out of control — and brings about a chain of events that draws even further parallels to the madness of Salem…

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Directed by: David Soren
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal
Synopsis: Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, and boasting an A-list cast of comedy superstars headed by Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.

The Hero
Directed by: Brett Haley
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross
Synopsis: ‘The Hero’ stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving new film from writer-director Brett Haley (‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’). 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 (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 (Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. ‘The Hero’ is a beautiful and poignant celebration of life and the legacies we all leave behind.
Sponsored by: Hospital for Special Surgery

The Light of the Moon
Directed by: Jessica M. Thompson
Starring: Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Stahl-David, Conrad Ricamora and Catherine Curtin
Synopsis: Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, is sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control of her life, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at -risk woman causes her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame.

Megan Leavey
Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Starring: Kate Mara, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Ramon Rodriguez, Edie Falco, Will Patton, Common, Geraldine James, Marko Caka, Catherine Dyer, Corey Johnson, Sam Keeley, Miguel Gomez and Melina Matthews
Synopsis: ‘Megan Leavey’ is based on the true life story of a young marine corporal (Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.

Greenwich International Film Festival
Starting on
June 1, 2017
Ending on
June 4, 2017
Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that hosts a world-class film festival in Greenwich, CT. The goal of the Festival is to bridge the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy. The third annual Festival will take place June 1-4, 2017, has a social impact focus, and will benefit charity partners with proceeds. The four-day event will feature a star-studded Opening Night Party, film premieres, engaging panels, a Changemaker Honoree Gala and more.
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As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.

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