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5 experiences at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF)

NIFF begins only its second season this weekend, but is well worth the drive to the Niagara region to take in some films, a wine tasting, some food pairings, and an all and all delightful experience. Remember, the “I” stands for “Integrated” and that is what your experience will be – fully integrated.

5. For Grace – this Mark Helenowski and Kevin pang film recently played to sell-out crowds at Hot Docs, and wowed audience members. Co-director Kevin Pang hails from Toronto originally, and will be on hand to take questions about his film. Best of all, the film is paired on Friday night, June 19th with a sumptuous dinner at Peller Estates, which boasts an outstanding dining space and great wines. Its the perfect place to see a film about a meticulous and passionate restaurant owner.

4. The Timekeeper – playing as a part of the Canada’s Not Short on Talent program which played at Cannes, The Timekeeper by Scott Weber is an absolute gem of a film, and proof that Canadians really do bring a certain sensibility to our films. There is a few twists in The Timekeeper which would be a shame to reveal, but let’s just say that you should make time for an absolute gem of a short. Meaningful without being schmaltzy, The Timekeeper is playing 3 p.m. June 20th at Landmark.

3. Viaje – This film, whose title roughly translates to Journey is not for everybody, (it’s moody, in Spanish and in black and white), but Paz Fábrega’s film reveals a real wealth of surprises in a take on a story of a couple meeting cute, (at a party) and then trying to spend as much time together as possible bfore one has to disappear. Viaje was a standout at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and the sort of film that demands regonition, so that more gems like it can be crafted. June 20th 6 p.m. at Landmark

2. The Diary of a Teenage Girl – What is a film festival without a little bit of well-earned controversy? This Sundance stunner was all set to play at a winery, before the winery heard about the content of the film, and pulled out. Luckily, the film was moved to Landmark Cinemas on both June 20th at night and June 21st during the day, and best of all, star Bel Powley will be attending the festival. These screenings are sure to make for interesting Q&A’s, so definitely read into this Diary.

1. The Overnight – Part of the excitement of the festival is going to Niagara and staying overnight, so what better film to see on an overnight trip than Patrick Brice’s The Overnight? The best part of the film is that it seems to be heading one way, and then takes a dramatic left turn in an unexpected direction. The comic performances from its leads are hilarious, but Adam Scott and Jason Schwartzman have one scene in particular that stands out. Part of a Filmalicious dinner at Henry of Pelham on Friday night.

Please see https://niagarafilmfest.com/ for further details.