James & Krista Modern

Wednesday, July 24 | 3 PM, 6 PM, 8 PM

Please join us as we kick off GFF 2019 with three of our most exciting, innovative and impactful films. The Festival begins with the highly acclaimed FOR SAMA (3 PM Gimli Theatre), followed by WHEN THE STORM FADES (6 pm, Lady of the Lake Theatre). And don’t miss the Canadian premiere of the Sundance award-winning film JAWLINE, with director Liza Mandelup in attendance (8 pm, Lady of the Lake Theatre)! Opening night films sponsored generously by James & Krista Morden!

Reserve your tickets here!




dir. Waad Al-Kateab & Edward Watts (Syria / UK / USA)
Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Sundance 2019 | Winner, Special Jury Prize, Hot Docs 2019

3 PM | Wednesday, July 24 | Gimli Theatre

For Sama is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. *Content warning for graphic images*



dir. Sean Devlin (Canada / Philippines)
Winner, Best Emerging Canadian Director, Vancouver I.F.F. 2018

6 PM | Wednesday, July 24 | Lady of the Lake Theatre

Three years after Hurricane Yolanda, the Pablos have rebuilt their seaside home in Tacloban, one of the Philippines’ poorest neighbourhoods. Their slow recovery is shaken up by two awkward Canadian volunteers planting trees in the community, played by Canadian Comedy Award Winners Kayla Lorette and Aaron Read. This foreign couple is learning the difference between helping and actually being helpful. Part comedic fiction, part dramatic re-enactment – the result is a satirical examination of the white saviour complex and a quiet meditation on grief in the era of climate change.


Still image from JawlineJAWLINE

dir. Liza Mandelup (USA)
Canadian Premiere! | Winner, US Documentary Special Jury Prize, Sundance 2019

8 PM | Wednesday, July 24 | Lady of the Lake Theatre

In rural Tennessee, Austyn Tester, a 16-year-old newcomer to the live-broadcast ecosystem, attempts to ride a wave of social media optimism to become the world’s next big internet crush. Teen girls all over the world tune into online “boy broadcasts” like Tester’s, where your fave heartthrob might actually interact with you online for a minute or two—or more for the right price. Liza Mandelup’s feature debut JAWLINE tracks this modern-day teenage gold-rush economy, shaping a fascinating and surprisingly moving human portrait that questions what values we’ve passed onto our youths, and discovers a new and fleeting American dream.