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The Niagara Integrated Film Festival
The Summer Destination For
Aficionados Of Film & Wine Connoisseurs

Bill Marshall
The Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF), June 19-22, founded by Bill Marshall (Founder of TIFF), is a film festival that aims to shine a cinematic spotlight on the Niagara Region's extraordinary beauty as well as its unique microclimate which produces exquisite wines, while showcasing over 100 top shelf independent films from across the world.

"After much work behind the scenes, I'm pleased NIFF (Niagara Integrated Film Festival) is officially launching," said St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan. "A film festival in Niagara will bring action to the big screen and is a great way to further enhance the arts while promoting our local wine, culinary delights and warm hospitality."

"The prospect of having the Niagara Integrated Film Festival in the region is tremendously exciting. And this destination is proud to roll out the red (or purple or sparkling) carpet to welcome the thousands of visitors who will revel in the unique experience of a film festival in wine country. We know these will be memorable, award-winning film presentations, but the first award of the event must go to Bill Marshall and Sari Ruda for the creative and intelligent energy they have devoted to their love affair with films and integration with the wine and culinary highlights of this area. Their vision for the world's juiciest film festival will be proudly supported and brought to life here in Niagara." Janice Thomson Executive Director of Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The Festival will kick off with some incredible recently-uncovered featured programs. Among them: two short films from the '50s - a combination of sketch-comedy and sitcom - starring a pre-Pink Panther Peter Sellers and written by Canada's Mordecai Richler, Dearth Of A Salesman and one of the earliest silent films Insomnia Is Good For You with Mary Pickford, the Canadian-born Sweetheart of America.

In an expanded program of Pickford movies, Pickford's 1911 film Their First Misunderstanding highlights this first-ever film celebration in the Niagara region - along with a series of homegrown short films that have been featured at Cannes, and Gala Premieres.

Both of the unearthed features have "discovery" stories worthy of a movie themselves. The Pickford film, made with her then-husband Owen Moore, was discovered in a New Hampshire barn in 2006 and painstakingly restored. Christel Schmidt, considered the world's leading authority on Pickford, will present the program, along with Keene State film professor Larry Benaquist.

The Sellers/Richler collaboration - including negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and master print - sat on a shelf for years after the 1996 bankruptcy of London's Park Lane films before their recent rediscovery. Stephen Podgorney and Robert Farrow of Dimwittie Ltd., and Canadian filmmaking legend Ted Kotcheff will be on hand to present anecdotes and provide context for this collaboration.

Niagara Falls
NIFF Gala premieres include the world premiere of Restrung, Mike Enns' portrait of Randall Wyn Fullmer; the animated feature Ribbit (featuring the voices of Sean Astin and Russell Peters); Ira Sachs' gay-marriage drama Love Is Strange, with Marisa Tomei, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina; Emilio Aragon's A Night in Old Mexico starring Robert Duvall; the Belle and Sebastian female vocalist project God Help The Girl; More Than Honey; Jason Lupish (director) and Erica Sherwood's (actor) made-in-Niagara drama A Kind Of Wonderful Thing; Red Obsession, a wine doc featuring Russell Crowe about the struggle of the Bordeaux Chateaux to keep up with insatiable Chinese demand; and Earth To Echo, the epic sci-fi flick directed by Dave Green, which debuts at NIFF.

The Canadians-at-Cannes shorts, curated by Danny Lennon, include Kyle Thomas' The Post, Moira Sauer's The Provider, and The Sparkling River, will be the first post-Cannes screening for all these films.

The Film Fest program inaugurates Filmalicious, a dinner and movie program marrying gastronomy and cinema, with world-class regional chefs hosting a special dinner followed by a movie at a winery. The Film Feast program incorporates four wineries, each of which will also host a wine-and-food pairing tasting along with a selection of short films, with transportation to and from each winery.

The NIFF program also includes The World's Smallest Film Festival, with an inaugural theme of water, an integral aspect of the Niagara Region; it's a competition of films shot on smart-phones.

Both St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake are the locations - with the action taking place between the areas. The Landmark cinemas in St. Catharines will run the regular films, and the wineries along with the host hotel, White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake, will have special film nights, including an outdoor Drive-In.

Piers Handling, Director/CEO TIFF said: "We wish Bill nothing but the best of luck on his new endeavour. TIFF owes so much to his tenacity, drive, and singular ability to make things happen. I'm sure NIFF will be a smashing success and I look forward to seeing you all in Niagara.

About NIFF
The Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) is a film festival that aims to shine a cinematic spotlight on the Niagara Region's extraordinary beauty while showcasing over 100 top shelf independent films from across the world. NIFF is run by an expert team of film festival managers, led by Bill Marshall, Founder and Chair Emeritus of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the world's most successful public film festival. www.niagarafilmfest.com

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