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Festival History

For over a decade the W&M Global Film Festival has brought the William & Mary and Williamsburg communities together for an annual celebration of film and live performances.

Mission Statement

We host the William & Mary Global Film Festival to celebrate and foster a better understanding of film’s place within the world.

The festival takes place annually at the Kimball Theatre and brings world cultures to Williamsburg through film. The GFF is a four-day event featuring screenings of international, student, and alumni-produced films, live performances, presentations, guest filmmakers, and receptions. All festival events are open to the public.

The Global Film Festival maintains these core goals:

Promote the appreciation and understanding of film as a powerful global medium of expression and communication.

Reach beyond the usual cinema multiplex offerings to support and generate exposure to global film alternatives.

Showcase foreign, student, alumni, and American-produced motion pictures and live performances that illustrate the dynamics of local, national, and global film.

Bring together international filmmakers, performers, artists, and scholars to present their work and participate in dialogues with community audiences.

Engage community audiences in shared experiences, bringing together students, faculty, and a diversity of residents of Williamsburg and the broader Tidewater region.

Offer a weekend-long gala event that promotes reflection, celebration, and greater understanding of film and the diversity of our local communities and the world.

Generate a uniquely dynamic component of W&M’s Film & Media Studies curriculum that combines exposure to global film and the international film distribution network of festivals, practical film and festival production experience, public scholarship, and community outreach and event planning.

Contribute to William and Mary’s priorities as a public liberal arts university and institution of higher education, in particular: internationalization, undergraduate experience-based learning, and community engagement.

The festival’s ultimate goal is to inspire discovery, learning, and conversation while supporting the cultural appreciation of a regional audience.

This Mission Statement was created by festival founder Tim Barnard and his students in the production of the 2007 Global Film Festival, as initially supported by the W&M Reves Center.

Student Programs

The W&M Global Film Festival also supports the production of two annual student filmmaking initiatives:

W&M Youth Filmmaking Institute

The W&M Youth Filmmaking Institute presents Williamsburg area middle and high school students an opportunity to learn about the filmmaking process and get hands-on experience. The WMYFI program includes presentations and workshops led by William & Mary staff and undergraduate students culminating in a free, public screening of all student group film projects. More information is available at the program website.


During the 24 Speed filmmaking competition, William & Mary students are given 24 hours to write, shoot, and edit a short film. Each team is assigned a required genre, prop, and line of dialogue that must be used in the film. The films that beat the clock and meet the deadline will premiere in a free screening during the festival weekend. Prizes will be awarded to the best films including the Audience Award and the Jury Award.

More information on 24 Speed is available here.