2019 GIFF Panels

The Greenwich International Film Festival was thrilled to provide educational, thought-provoking, and compelling panels in our 2019 lineup. JP Morgan sponsored Storytelling to Inspire Change, which featured female trailblazers who spoke about about lessons learned and best practices for using film to inspire change. Hospital for Special Surgery sponsored The Price Of Gold. This panel brought together award-winning athletes who shared their journey to the gold. The Ability in Disability, generously underwritten by The Stapleton Family Foundation and Bank of America in honor of former President George H. W. Bush, brought together actors and key figures who spoke about disability inclusion in entertainment and what we need to do about it. Lastly, our neighbors at Blue Sky Studios gave us a behind the scenes look at the process that went into making some of our favorite animated feature films including Ice Age and Rio!


Storytelling to Inspire Change

Sponsored by JP Morgan

Filmmakers have the power to enact positive social change on a national and global level, enabling conversation, audience engagement, and empathy through storytelling. We sat down with female trailblazers who spoke about the lessons they learned and best practices to follow for using film to inspire change.

Featuring Melinda Arons, SVP of Social Impact at Participant Media, Abigail Disney, Founder, Partner & Producer at Level Forward, and Laura Lewis, Founder, and CEO of Rebelle Media.

The Price of Gold

Presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and in partnership with ESPN.

This panel featured award-winning athletes who shared their journey to the gold, including the highs and lows, wins and losses, and countless hours of training. Each athlete spoke about how they got into sports, their dedication, and how they discovered their passion at a young age.

The panel featured Dr. Sam Taylor, Physician HSS, Mark Teixeira, former Yankee player, Becky Lynch, WWE Superstar, Jon Hock of ESPN’s 30 for 30, and Sue Merz Olympic Ice Hockey athlete.


The Ability in Disability

Generously underwritten by The Stapleton Family Foundation and Bank of America in honor of former President George H. W. Bush and the critical legislation he passed to create a more equitable world for the disabled.

This panel explored the lack of representation of people with disabilities. We spoke to actors and key figures who have been working to shine a light on disability inclusion in entertainment and what we can do about it. The panel started with a the short film, A Different Script, which follows Chris Lopes, an aspiring actor with down syndrome. Millicent Simmonds mentioned how, “the future us changing for all of us and we are part of that change.” John Hager touched upon how we need to break the stigma against disabilities and “we have to focus on being differently-abled, not disabled.”

During the panel we presented Millicent Simmonds with the #MakeAnImpact award.

The panel featured Millicent Simmonds (Deaf Actress – A Quiet Place, Wonderstruck), Carol Glazer from The National Organization on Disabilities, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security and Board Chairman of the National Organization on Disability, Tom Ridge, Chris Lopes and Kathy Lopes, and Mr. John H. Hager, the former Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from August 2007-May 2008.

Behind the Scenes with Blue Sky Studios

Ever wonder about the process that goes into making an animated feature film? This panel gave us a look from start to finish how Blue Sky Studios makes a movie. From coming up with the concept, to the designing of characters and locations, to recording the voices, and most importantly the animation process.

Blue Sky Studios are the ones who brought you beloved animated feature films including the “Ice Age” movies, the “Rio” movies, and last year’s Academy Award®-nominated feature film “Ferdinand.” We also got a sneak peek of their newest film “Spies in Disguise,” coming out this December.

The panel featured Chris Wedge, Co-Founder and Director (“Ice Age,” “Robots,” “Epic”), Steve Martino, Director (“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “The Peanuts Movie”), Lisa Fragner, VP of Development, Sabine Heller, Head of­ Characters, and Tom Cardone, Production Designer.

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