2018 GIFF Panels


We were so excited to welcome Tony Goldwyn to Greenwich, CT to talk about his career and his involvement with Americares. Guests listened carefully as Tony spoke about the importance of giving back to the community. Tony stated, “If I can focus what I do, then I can have an impact” He went in depth about his involvement with Americares and how he got started with the organization. He later went on to talk about his acting career, the ending of Scandal, and how he stays grounded. (He said his wife Jane was to thank for that, how sweet!) The crowd left feeling inspired to #MakeAnImpact in their communities. Thank you to the Connecticut Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media for sponsoring this event and to Serendipity Magazine, our media partner for the event.

The panel was moderated by Bruce Fretts, a freelance writer for the New York Times.



How many people can say at 90 that they are still working? James Ivory can! Not only is he working, he is working on award-winning projects. At 89, James Ivory became the oldest Oscar winner in history, winning an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name. During his talk, James spoke about the formation of Merchant Ivory, his production company, and how he casts his films. James has discovered and worked with many A-list actors and when asked about this all James had to say was, “I pick whomever works the best for the part.” After talking about his past work, James gave us some hints about new projects he has coming up. The audience listened eagerly to every detail, and we will definitely be counting down the days along with them. A huge thank you to Douglas Elliman for sponsoring this event.

The panel was moderated by Kent Turner, writer for Film Forward.


With half of our film lineup either directed or written by a woman, we thought it would be important to have a conversation about female directors in the film industry. We sat down with Bernadett Tuza-Ritter who directed A Woman Captured, Maria Giese who co-founded the Women’s Media Summit, Hannah Storm who directed Rowdy, and Annie Howell who co-directed Claire in Motion. We picked their brains about working in a male-dominated industry and how things are changing today. Maria Giese stated how, “Men direct 99% of influential commercials… Women are cut out of our own messaging.” But the women on this panel, and others, are ready to change that. As Hannah Storm stated, “It’s been hard, but it’s definitely been worth it. There’s nothing more satisfying.”After the panel, guests made their way to Tesla for a special reception. Even though the panel had wrapped, the room was still buzzing with people talking about what they learned, and what they plan on doing to help share the stories of women all over the world. Thank you to Serendipity, our media partner, for sponsoring this panel discussion. Thanks, too, to Tesla for hosting the reception in their amazing space on Greenwich Avenue, and to Manny’s Ultimate Bloody Mary and Volage for providing refreshments.

This panel was moderated by Briana Rodriguez, Managing Editor at Backstage.


With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, this panel discussed the changes in the film industry and what it means for filmmakers and producers today. The panel was composed of Rob Burnett who is a writer and director, Andrew Karpen who is the CEO of Bleecker Street and Pam Koffler who is the co-President of Killer Films. The panel started by discussing how methods of film distribution have changed tremendously over the past few years. We talked about how filmmakers have so many more avenues to get their projects in front of an audience. Andrew Karpen mentioned how, “Knowing your target consumer is very important in film distribution because how people want to go and see a film has changed dramatically.” Thank you to J.P. Morgan for sponsoring this event, as well as to Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse for hosting the panel discussion and luncheon.

This panel was moderated by Alison Davis from J.P. Morgan.


This panel event focused on the Global Citizens Initiative Social Impact Video Competition Awards and featured keynote speaker, Bethany Mota, a YouTube sensation, entrepreneur, anti-bullying activist, and philanthropist who is receiving the first ever #MakeAnImpact Award. The awards ceremony highlighted the achievements of Daniella Tocco from Convent of the Sacred Heart Greenwich who won a $4,000 grant for her short film, A Sense of Self Defense, the funds for which will be used toward aiding the launch of the project solution. Runners up Rose Luczaj, Anna Pacilio and Colleen Cooke from Fairfield Ludlowe High School also won a $1,000 grant for their film Giant Steps. Competition finalists Patrick Lespinasse, Hilary Flores, Iyana Ellis and Julia Perloe from J.M. Write Technical High School (Prismatic), Naomi Pedersen from Greenwich Academy (City Harvest), and Stephanie Wistreich, Callie Morgan, Francesca DeVita, Kirwan Carey, Jesse Boolbol and Charlie Benson from Green Farms Academy (Why Are You Stressed) rounded out the list of changemakers who were celebrated for using the power of film to positively impact our local community. We hope their civic and social engagement inspires even more youth to get involved!  Thank you to Global Citizens Initiative for sponsoring this important event.


This panel, which was co-presented by the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, focused on the career and life of Briggs Cunningham, who died in 2003 at the age of 96, and was best known as an America’s Cup skipper, race-car builder, driver and team owner. The event featured a special presentation of One Car by “Barn Find Hunter” Tom Cotter and included a lively discussion between Cotter and several other panelists, including Cunningham collector and historian Chuck Schoendorf, one of America’s premier car collectors and founder of The Revs Institute Miles Collier, Dr. Fred Simeone of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, and Rich Taylor who is the former managing editor of Car and Driver and author of the book “The American Sports Racer – From Kurtis to Cobra.”

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