Festival Archive

Rolled up posters stacked on top of each other,

Gimli Film Festival:

The Gimli Film Festival began in 2001 as a series of film screenings attached to the local Icelandic Festival. Over the last 20 years, GFF has become Manitoba’s premier film festival and the only internationally-styled film festival. GFF is also the largest rural film festival in Canada. GFF’s primary mandate is to “enlighten, engage and inspire” by creating an accessible and inviting space for people from all walks-of-life to come and enjoy the best in contemporary, ground-breaking cinema each year.

GFF is a growing festival on the move! Since 2014, GFF’s attendance has grown by 60% and the Festival now includes over 100 annual community partners and sponsors. The 2019 Festival was the largest in-person festival to date with a total of over 13,000 filmgoers attending over 100 films in 5 days. It was a record-breaking year for GFF with a 10% increase in paid indoor attendance, and our overall attendance has increased by 28% since 2015. GFF brought in two international guests, five Canadian filmmakers and hosted 63 Manitoba filmmakers.

GFF hit new highs last year in 2020, with the first-ever GFF On Demand Virtual Festival experience. GFF streamed over 4 months, 1 day,  and 8 hours of total content, with an engagement of 8,000 viewers!  GFF Pass sales also reached a personal best and saw a 5% increase from 2019.

GFF believes in creating an ethical film festival model that is respectful of all artists and audiences, pays proper IMAA artist fees to filmmakers and presents diverse and inclusive programming. In 2020, half of the films screened were directed or written by women and 47% were directed by persons identifying as IBPOC. GFF’s goal is to present critical and cutting-edge work that will continue to press the boundary of traditional cinema. The Festival works to foster innovative ways of storytelling including performance-based expanded cinema, VR experiences and media arts installations, alongside our regular programming of narrative, documentary and experimental films from Manitoba, Canada and around-the-world.

GFF annually includes (2021 Changes made due to COVID-19):

  • Four indoor venues / One outdoor venue (changes made for 2021)
  • Over 40 feature films, with 110-150 total films per year.
  • Over $11,000 in prizes and over $25,000 in artist fees distributed annually.
  • Career development opportunities for filmmakers, including panels, workshops, Q&As and more.
  • A new Woman centered Mentorship Program that brings a charter bus of woman-identified filmmakers, writers, actors, producers, media artists, and film technicians to the Festival for a FREE day of women-driven programming.
  • A strong focus on providing screening opportunities to local and Canadian filmmakers.
  • Opportunities for emerging filmmakers (e.g. 48 Hour Filmmaking Challenge, $10,000 Pitch Competition).
  • Recognition for local and Canadian filmmakers (Awards: Best of Fest, Best MB Director, Best MB Short Film, etc).
  • Free nightly film screenings for the general public on a 35ft tall screen on Gimli Beach. (changes made for 2021)

GFF is one of Canada’s only summer-time film festivals, and it is set in a beautiful lakeside community perfectly suited for those with an earnest interest in seeing the best new cinema. GFF exists to provide a rare platform in Manitoba for local and Canadian filmmakers, with 51% of our films being Manitoba-made in 2020 and 67% being from Canada. The Festival is an indispensable platform for local and Canadian independent filmmakers to screen their work and develop their skills and careers.

In 2021, the Gimli Film Festival celebrates its 21st Festival from July 12 – 25.


Check out our programs from previous Festivals:

2020 Festival – July 22 – 26: GFF Program – 2020 

2019 Festival – July 24 – 28:  GFF Program – 2019

2018 Festival – July 25 – 29: GFF Program – 2018

2017 Festival – July 26 – 30: GFF Program – 2017

2016 FestivalJuly 20 – 24: GFF Program – 2016

2015 Festival – July 22 – 26: GFF Schedule – 2015

2014 Festival – July 23 – 27: GFF Program – 2014

2012 Festival – July 25 -29:  GFF Program – 2012