I recently sat down with two friends and ASHA girls, Wendy Reyes & Colleen Deveer the founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival, which will celebrate its third year this coming June. These two inspiring women launched Greenwich’s very own film festival two years ago and shared some history and personal favorites in a Q&A. Enjoy! xx Ashley
Ashley: What are the origins of GIFF - how did you start?
Wendy & Colleen with Freida Pinto at last year’s GIFF.
Wendy: The film festival was founded over 4 years ago when a group of us were out at dinner at a friends house. It struck us that Greenwich was the ideal place for a film festival because the community is packed with art lovers and philanthropists. Shortly thereafter we came up with the three pillars of GIFF which are Film Finance and Philanthropy. These have guided us in almost every decision we have made during the building process.
Ashley: What is your favorite classic movie? Favorite movie of 2016?
Colleen: My favorite classic film is The Graduate. My favorite film of 2016 was either Lion or Moonlight.
Wendy: My all-time favorite film is The Royal Tennenbaums. (Spotlight on Wes Anderson for GIFF 2018….we’ll get started on that!) My 2016 pick is Manchester by the Sea. I got my masters in writing at USC. I love a film that is driven by a powerful human story and I thought Manchester was a masterpiece.
Ashley: Who are you most excited to have at GIFF this year?
Colleen: Flo Rida Concert is going to be pretty awesome! Mark your calendar for the Opening Party on June 2nd and buy tickets here.
Ashley: Favorite destination?
Wendy: Snowmass, Colorado. I love the mountains and the beautiful sunsets. There is something about being there that makes me feel more connected to the earth and grounded spiritually. I have gone every year since I was born. There is an incredible art and music scene and many of our friends live there year round. It is magical! As for my favorite festival, I love going to Sundance with the team each year, but I have to say that my favorite festival (besides ours of course!) is Venice. It is everything you dream it would be and more!
Colleen & Wendy at the Sundance Film Festival.
Colleen: Martha’s Vineyard. It is so beautiful, peaceful and has so many fun arts events from jazz concerts at Featherstone- Music at The Tabernacle- to amazing plays at The Vineyard Playhouse and Dance at the Yard. They also have two great film organizations out there. There is always something to do with your kids. As far as Festivals go, I love going to Sundance each year. Our team has a great time reconnecting with old friends and seeing amazing films. It is a great bonding trip and we also happen to get a lot of work done there.
Ashley: Favorite ASHA piece?
Wendy: I love my bullet ring and the cuffs! They go with everything and add just the right amount of edge!
Colleen: I was immediately drawn to one of the beautiful ASHA rings. When Ashley explained that the design inspiration was a cigar band, it was no wonder that I had gravitated toward it. My dad use to take the ring off of his cigar when I was a little girl and he would look me in the eyes and say “With this ring, I thee wed”. It is my sweetest memory of him and always put a smile on my face.