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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 festival 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 the College of 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 at the Kimball Theatre on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 8:00 PM. Prizes will be awarded to the best films including the Audience Award and the Jury Award.

More information on 24 Speed is available here.