By Jenna Croyle
Marking its 21 chapter, the Great Lakes International Film Festival Opens tonight with 63 of the best, most avant-garde and captivating independent films from around the world that are slated to be presented over the course of the next two weeks. The GLIFF announced earlier this month that this season it had received nearly 500 submissions from 40 countries including China, Norway, Brazil, Sweden, Bulgaria, Russia, Japan, Israel, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, Hungary, Egypt, Croatia, Romania, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Bangladesh and of course the United States.
The first film festival was founded in Venice in 1932. It remained the sole festival until the festival at Cannes, France, was founded in 1939. At this point film festivals began to assume economic significance as struggling nations, rebuilding their shattered film industries after World War II, saw in festivals a chance for world recognition. With growing interest and popularity, festivals began to pop up all over the world, Berlin, Moscow, London, Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Karlovy Vary, now known as Czechoslovakia. While sometimes using the film as a prop to emphasize the social dimension and culture, film festivals have always fostered the appreciation of the art of film.
Today, film festivals are instrumental in promoting independent cinema by providing budding filmmakers with a stage to showcase their work, creating exposure and recognition through reviews and awards, engaging audiences in exceptional cinematic experiences, and nurturing diversity and creativity within the industry while spawning tomorrow’s stars today.
For the past 20 years, Erie is no different and has served as the home of the Great Lakes International Film Festival, North East Pennsylvania’s first film festival to be established in our region. Over the years GLIFF has played host to well over 1,000 independently produced films of all genres, numerous celebrities like music superstar Dizzy Reed of the legendary Gun N’ Roses, along with Dirk Benedict, and cult icons such as Lloyd Kaufman, Gunner Hansen, and Mark Borchardt to name only a few.
As in past years, this year’s event will feature a “best of the fest” night that will showcase more than 20 selections of the most creative and entrancing award-nominated films from around the globe. The event will take place this Saturday evening in the historic Renaissance Center on State Street, with doors opening at 7PM.
“While many details are still a bit up in the air, screening schedules that include our virtual presentations will be published on our website as soon as they are finalized”, a festival representative commented.
Please visit www.greatlakesfilmfest.com for more information on film selections, film presentations, schedules, and other particulars.