Best of 2015: GIFF’s 10 Favorite Films of the Year

2015 marks the Greenwich International Film Festival’s inaugural year. As it comes to a close, we reflect on some of the films that stood out.


This documentary shapes an intimate portrait of musician Amy Winehouse’s life, career, and ultimate downfall, through unseen archival footage, unheard tracks, and interviews. Highlighting the recording of her second and final album Back to Black, it takes us on a thrilling journey through its creation.


The Big Short
Based on the book by Michael Lewis, this film depicts the timeline of events that led to the financial crisis of 2008. With an all-star driven cast including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, THE BIG SHORT is already proving its worth and has been receiving many award-season nominations, including 4 Golden Globe and 2 SAG Award nominations. GIFF was honored to host a screening, featuring a Q&A with some of the people who inspired the film and book. Read more about our event here.


BROOKLYN has been captivating the hearts of audiences across the world, including our COO, Ginger Stickel and Director of Programming, Colleen DeVeer when they saw the film at the New York Film Festival this past September. We expect Saoirse Ronan to be a major contender in the Best Actress category, already having secured Golden Globe and SAG award nominations. The film follows a young 1950s Irish immigrant girl as she navigates her new life in Brooklyn, New York. A blossoming romance helps to ease her adjustment until temptation hits her during a homeland visit.


Carol copy
Cate Blanchett can do no wrong in Todd Haynes’ CAROL. Hollywood began to speculate that this year could be her year again for an Oscar®. Supported by the amazing Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler, the film tells a complicated love story between two women who form an immediate bond.


He Named Me Malala
Malala Yousafzai took the world by storm in 2012 after a failed assassination attempt by the Taliban. Everyone watched as her personal struggle turned into a worldwide crusade for female education. HE NAMED ME MALALA tracks the amazing life of this extraordinary girl— the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate. GIFF Co-founder, Wendy Reyes and COO, Ginger Stickel were privileged to meet her over the summer at a screening of the documentary. Read more about their amazing conversation here.


The Martian
Ridley Scott has turned another space odyssey into a must-see. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, THE MARTIAN is captivating and riveting as Scott invites you to observe Matt Damon’s one-man survival efforts on Mars. While the film is 75% Damon, the remaining 25% is stellar as well, complete with appearances from Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara and Chiwetel Ejiofor.


GIFF hosted an advance screening of SPOTLIGHT in October, and knew immediately this film was slated to be an awards contender. With an ensemble cast comprised of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci, this film packs a punch, showcasing a 2001 attempt by Boston Globe journalists to delve more deeply into allegations against a priest, John Geoghan, accused of child molestation. Read more about our screening of the film here.


The most highly anticipated film of the year did not disappoint for the millions and millions of fans who waited long hours in the pouring rain just to see the first screening. J.J. Abrams is at the helm of this latest installment to help usher in a new generation of stormtroopers and Jedis, something we will all be proud to show our kids and tell them that yes, the force does live on.


Steve Jobs
From Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, comes an amazing collaboration with star Michael Fassbender to bring us the story of one of the greatest minds of our generation. Broken down into three acts, this film tells the riveting story of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Also featuring: Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels.


Having been locked away from the outside world in a Lower East Side housing project in Manhattan, this documentary follows the six Angulo brothers, who obsessively reenact their favorite movies to quell their collective loneliness, and to satisfy their curiosity and imagination. Then, as adolescence looms, the outside world beckons, when one of the brothers attempts to escape.

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