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Welcome to GIFF


Welcome to the
23rd Annual
Gimli International
Film Festival

Welcome from the Chair of the Board

Gimli International Film Festival 2023 Board of Directors:
Janis Johnson – Chairperson/Founder
Devan Towers – Vice Chair
Michelle Aitkenhead – Treasurer 
Kendra Towers-Lussier –Secretary
Norma Bailey
Lynn Chalmers
Lila Goodspeed
Joy Loewen
Terry MacLeod
Linda McEwan
Syndi Prokopich

The Gimli International Film Festival is back, and we could not be happier to welcome you to our beloved community on the shores of Lake Winnipeg with 90+ films to view at theatres and on the beach under the stars.

The GIFF is a true cultural force. The largest film festival in Manitoba and rural Canada, it pushes the boundaries of creativity, discovery, innovation, and diversity. In our mission to engage as many film lovers as possible locally, nationally, and globally, we continue with a hybrid programme of innovative events.

We are all still grappling with the legacy of the pandemic. Global conflicts, high cost of living, inequality and climate change add to our uncertainties. Many of this year’s films address these concerns and interrogate the complex challenges we all face.

Indeed, it is a fitting moment to roll out the red carpet for documentaries with their unique power to engage us with real people, events, and consequences.  

In that spirit, the GIFF Festival welcomes Elizabeth Klinck, the internationally acclaimed “Icon of Canadian documentary cinema.” We are proud to honour her with the Alda award, acknowledging her vital role in raising the bar for documentary filmmaking research.

Elizabeth’s deep dives into seminal periods of history and her ability to bolster a dazzling array of films over many genres has earned the praise of directors worldwide. 
And of course, all documentaries, however fact-based, earn their power through story. Stories move us. They teach us. They engage our emotions and imagination, and in the process sharpen the faculties required to understand and mend our planet. 

There is no bigger believer in the power of story than Gimli’s own Guy Maddin. This celebrated filmmaker, an Alda award winner, has credited his love of a good story to his Icelandic mother. In his 30-plus year career, Guy has worked all over the world, collaborating with the likes of novelist Ishiguro and inspired by innovators like David Lynch and Atom Egoyen. Isabella Rossellini, Geraldine Chaplin, and Charlotte Rampling have appeared in his films. He has also walked, since childhood, the same beach you will sit on to watch the sunset screenings.

We are proud to have attracted such a wide range of experts and filmmakers to this fabulous festival. I want to thank our Executive Director, Alan Wong, and his exceptional team for their tireless efforts. I also extend the most profound gratitude to our film-loving Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers and sponsors: without them, we would not be able to offer you such a high volume of outstanding films and events. 

And finally, thank you to our audience for embracing the festival and continuing to make it inspiring and engaging. As we unite this week to watch, view, and exchange ideas, we all become part of the wonderful storytelling tradition passed down to us through generations. I wish you a wonderful week of great cinema viewing which I am sure will keep you yearning for more.

Janis G. Johnson Chair & Founder of the Gimli International Film Festival

Conservative Senator Janis Johnson on her last day in the Senate, Sept. 27, 2016. Sam Garcia photos

Welcome from our Dignitaries

A Message from the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

The scenic splendour of Manitoba’s Interlake region provides an unforgettable backdrop to the celebrated Gimli Film Festival, a world-class summer adventure in arts appreciation for movie lovers of all ages. 

For more than 20 years, this popular festival has invited residents and visitors to celebrate both the magic of cinema and the creative talents of those who turn ideas into stories that ultimately blossom on the screen. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy popular movies under the stars, while also discovering hidden gems, both with a unique power to entertain, educate and inspire.

Congratulations to the festival’s founders, board of directors, staff and volunteers whose hard work and shared vision bring this wonderful event to vibrant life every summer.  Regional charm and exceptional local hospitality only add to the festival-going experience that brings film fans back to the Interlake year after year.

As the King’s representative in Manitoba, I commend everyone associated with the extraordinary event for your shared vision and outstanding efforts in promoting film excellence and arts appreciation in our province.  I wish you a safe, memorable event and continued success.

The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

Showcasing and celebrating the works of Canadian creators is at the heart of what we do at Telefilm.
That is why we are proud to partner with the Gimli Film Festival, to further boost our support for
Canadian creatives at home and around the world.
In this ever-evolving cultural landscape, festivals continue to play an important role in the screen-based
industry, growing the talent pool, as well as allowing audiences to celebrate and connect with distinctive
Canadian films and the talent behind them.
We encourage you to keep supporting Canadian talent in theatres and on digital platforms!

Julie Roy
Executive Director and CEO, Telefilm Canada

A Message from James Bezan, MP

On behalf of the Parliament of Canada and the constituents of Selkirk – Interlake – Eastman, it is my honour to extend a warm welcome to the talented filmmakers, artists and all visitors.  

The Gimli International Film Festival is Manitoba’s largest rural film festival and a major Interlake attraction. The creative achievements from the film industry are being showcased in various venues around town, with great movies on the beautiful Gimli beach.  It is an opportunity to discover some of the greatest films produced in Manitoba and around the world. 

Thank you to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and film industry professionals for the making the Gimli International Film Festival a successful event every year. 

Please enjoy your time at the festival!

James Bezan, MP
Selkirk – Interlake – Eastman

A Message from the Premier and Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage 

Welcome to all those attending the 2023 Gimli International Film Festival. Whether you are from
Manitoba or from elsewhere, this celebration of the art of film also provides the opportunity
to visit one of our province’s wonderful Interlake communities.

A popular attraction on Manitoba’s impressive slate of summer festivals, this event offers
citizens of all ages a variety of activities where they can explore the magic of cinema,
while enjoying the outstanding community hospitality of Gimli, and the novelty of watching
a film on the beach.

The continuing success of this extraordinary film festival is possible due to the dedication
of the organization’s board of directors, its staff and its many volunteers. On behalf of all
of our colleagues in the Manitoba Legislature, we wish you all the best for this exciting
and entertaining event.

The Honourable Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba

Honourable Obby Khan, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage

Every year the Gimli International Film Festival brings together our entire community to celebrate all things creative in our industry. Manitoba Film & Music cherishes the longstanding relationship we have with one of our province’s most venerable film festivals and we look forward to supporting this important event as it continues to grow.
We would like to thank Executive Director, Alan Wong, and board chair, Janis Johnson, and the entire GIFF team for delivering another amazing festival experience for all of the guests arriving in Gimli this summer. Enjoy!

Rod Bruinooge, CEO and Film Commissioner, Manitoba Film & Music

A Message from the Mayor of Gimli

Dear Residents and Visitors of Gimli,

We welcome you to the 23rd annual Gimli International Film Festival!
The Gimli International Film Festival has become a staple annual event in our community, attracting film enthusiasts, industry professionals, and tourists alike.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and all those involved in making this festival a success. Your hard work and dedication have made Gimli a destination for film lovers and have put our community on the map as a hub for arts and culture. This is a unique chance to experience the magic of cinema right here in our own backyard.

To all the filmmakers, we commend you for your creativity and passion. Your films have the power to inspire, educate, and entertain audiences, and Gimli is honoured to have the opportunity to showcase your work.

To our visitors, we welcome you with open arms. Explore our beautiful town, immerse yourself in our rich history and vibrant culture, and enjoy the hospitality of our community.

We hope that your time in Gimli and at the film festival will be memorable and enjoyable. May this event continue to grow and thrive, bringing joy, inspiration, and economic prosperity to our town.

Kevin Chudd
Mayor of Gimli