Film on female tech leaders to inspire women 'to take risks,' says director

The Grand River Film Festival celebrates its 11th year by taking on a new focus: the tech industry. The festival opens Wednesday night with a screening of the documentary She Started It.
The film She Started It follows female tech entreprenuers, including Brienne Ghafourifar who co-founded the digital interaction solutions company Entefy. (She Started It/YouTube)

For its eleventh season, the Grand River Film Festival is shifting its focus to the tech industry.

With the new tagline, "Where Tech Meets Indie", the four-day festival will have screenings at tech hubs like Shopify and Communitech.

Tamara Louks, executive director of the film festival, said technology has changed how film is made, distributed and promoted. Given Waterloo region is also known for its tech industry, it seemed like a natural fit.

"As the film industry changes and films are so much more easily available on your phones or at home or whatever, we need to change with the times and obviously the whole tech focus in our region is huge and so why wouldn't we embrace that," she said.

"We actually pared down the festival a little bit in terms of screenings to make sure that we were aligning well with that new mission."

'Grit persistence and resilience'

The film festival kicks off Wednesday night with a screening of She Started It, a documentary that follows female entrepreneurs who found tech companies.

Director and producer Nora Poggi told CBC K-W's The Morning Edition host Craig Norris that though she and her team started working on the film in 2013, four years later, not much has changed when it comes to women heading tech companies.

The film follows women with "incredible stories" and Poggi said she hopes it inspires more women to go after their dreams.

"What was interesting is, all the women we've interviewed from all kinds of backgrounds all had in common that grit persistence and resilience," Poggi said.

"The goal of this film is really to inspire young women out there to take risks, to not be afraid of failure because we don't teach our girls, really, to embrace that."

Listen to the whole interview with Nora Poggi here:

The Grand River Film Festival will screen Re-engineering Sam on Friday night at Communitech.

"It is an incredible film. It is my favourite film and it is all about readapting technology for people with mobility issues," Louks said.

The film festival wraps up on Saturday. More details about the film festival can be found on its website.


  • An earlier version of this story stated Re-engineering Sam was screening on Saturday. It in face screening on Friday.
    Oct 26, 2017 8:29 AM ET


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