The fourth annual Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) made a tremendous impact on the community and beyond, with an audience of 8,500 people attending 70+ events. GIFF is a non-profit organization that bridges the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy with a world-class film festival in Greenwich, CT, and supporting programs throughout the year. GIFF has a social impact focus, harnessing the power of film to serve the greater good. Festival proceeds supported charity partners such as UNFPA, Americares, Waterside School and Ms. Lauryn Hill Charity Fund.  The Festival gave female artists a big voice: 50% of films had a female director or writer.  Films & Q&A discussions brought light to important issues like modern slavery, education, mental health, the environment, online bullying and much more.

Serendipity sponsored two events at the festival including “A Spotlight On Tony Goldwyn” in association with the charity partner Americares. The actor and humanitarian Tony Goldwyn talked about what it was like growing up in a Hollywood dynasty, career highlights such as his breakthrough role in Ghost, directing his first feature film, A Walk on the Moon, and his role as President on Scandal. Perhaps most importantly, Tony discussed his involvement and inspirational experiences with Americares. Americares saves lives and improves health for people affected by poverty or disaster so they can reach their full potential. “Tony is an individual who implicitly understands his ability to bring attention to causes that help the neediest among us. In doing so, he has shown that he is a man of great dignity and compassion and we were thrilled to be able to put a spotlight on him and his work with Americares this year at GIFF,” said Wendy Stapleton, GIFF Chairman of the Board, Co-Founder.

Another event sponsored by Serendipity was “A Conversation with Female Directors.” This panel event included Christine Woodhouse (Director, One Vote), Bernadett Tuza-Ritter (Director, A Woman Captured) Maria Giese, (Co-Founder Women’s Media Summit), Hannah Storm (Director, Rowdy), Annie Howell (Co-Director, Claire In Motion) with moderator Briana Rodriguez (Backstage). This panel examined why there are so few female film directors working, what stands in their way and what forces conspire to keep them from telling their stories.  A group of talented female directors who’ve shown films at GIFF shared the challenges and obstacles they have faced while trying to make a film in a male dominated entertainment industry. “Greenwich International Film Festival made a commitment this year to offer a balanced program, with 50% of the films featuring a female director or writer, which is a first for film festivals.  We were proud to showcase the work of these talented directors,” said Ginger Stickel, Executive Director, GIFF.

Photographs by Emily Masino