Founded by Bill Marshall, the man behind the Toronto Film Festival, the Niagara Integrated Film Festival is a celebration of wine, food, and film that will take place for the second time June 18 to 21 throughout the Niagara region. Last year’s inaugural event included over 60 hand-selected films from Canada and around the world, over 8,000 people, and over 100 volunteers, who banded together to ensure the festival came off without a hitch. And this year promises to be even grander. Here are just some of the highlights of what you have to look forward to if you visit Niagara Falls for the NIFF.
The NIFF kicks off on Thursday, June 18, at Peller Estates Winery, a world-renowned Niagara-on-the-Lake winery that also happened to be the area’s 2014 Winery of the Year. Starting at 7 p.m., Opening Night attendees will sit down to a locally sourced, seated dinner paired with Peller Estates wines. Following dinner, wine service will continue through a feature film presentation.
A riff on the classic dinner-and-a-movie, Filmalicious takes place at four different wineries: Redstone Winery, Henry of Pelham Family Estates, Southbrook Vineyards, and Peller Estates Winery. Four different films are screened on Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, at each winery at 7 p.m. outside amidst the beauty of the vineyards and the Niagara landscape.
The evening kicks off with an excellent dinner paired with specially selected and award-winning wines from each winery. Seating for the film follows at 8:45 p.m. Some of these dinner-and-a-movie events also include a celebrity guest speaker. It’s a dining and film experience you can only get in Niagara during the Niagara Integrated Film Festival.
Join a midday guided bus tour to three of Niagara’s finest wineries, where you’ll sample wine flights and dine on appetizers before settling in to watch a selection of short films from among the Canadian shorts presented at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Film Feast begins with registration at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21, and each day features a tour of either three Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries, including PondView Estate Winery, Konzelmann Estate Winery, and Pillitteri Estates Winery, or three 20 Valley wineries, including Angels Gate Winery, Tawse Winery, and Calamus Estate Winery.
The Spotlight Series screens films from two different programming angles: Niagara Rises and Mondo Wacko, and each one features some of the finest films from the Canadian and international film scenes. With Niagara Rises, you’ll find local filmmakers’ work on display throughout the weekend, while the Mondo Wacko films include the unexpected from all-over, whether comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, thrillers, or the truly uncategorizable. The Spotlight Series can be experienced at Landmark Cinemas in St. Catharines and at Seneca Queen Theatre in Niagara Falls. As a bonus, both theaters serve traditional cinema food and drink, while the Seneca Queen also offers wine and beer.
There’s much more film, fun, wine, and food to be had at the NIFF, so bring your love of the cinema and your love of wine and food to Niagara the weekend of June 18 to 21, 2015, for a film experience unlike any other.