WIFF moving to permanent home in Capitol Theatre

WIFF will move into the ground floor space at the corner of University Avenue and Pelissier Street in time for this year’s festival, which runs Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.

WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie addresses the audience on opening night at the Capitol Theatre, Nov. 3, 2015.
WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie addresses the audience on opening night at the Capitol Theatre, Nov. 3, 2015. TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / WINDSOR STAR

The Windsor International Film Festival has taken another step toward creating a downtown cultural hub by taking up permanent residence in the historic Capitol Theatre.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra, which runs the city-owned building, have announced that WIFF will be moving into storefront space in the theatre that Bike Windsor-Essex was recently evicted from.

“It’s a game-changer for the community for us to be developing a cultural hub downtown, an entertainment hub,” said WIFF executive director and chief programmer Vincent Georgie.

“Building that critical mass for downtown arts and culture, that’s the thing we’re most excited about it. We’re pumped. I can’t put it any other way. We’re pumped. We’re very, very proud to do it. It’s one of those things that just made a lot of sense.”

We’ve been looking for space downtown over the past several months

WIFF will move into the ground floor space at the corner of University Avenue and Pelissier Street in time for this year’s festival, which runs Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.

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It will be the festival’s first permanent space in its 14-year history. WIFF has been using the space on a temporary basis during the annual weeklong festival for 10 years.

Taking a bow. Staff and volunteers of the latest edition of the Windsor International Film Festival join executive director Vincent Georgie on stage at the Chrysler Theatre before the closing night screening, Nov. 5, 2017. City council agreed to a major new investment in WIFF. DALSON CHEN / WINDSOR STAR

Georgie said having a permanent space will allow for more programming beyond the annual festival, or monthly screenings that WIFF started early this year.

“We’ve got more projects on the go,” he said. “Then there are more and more projects we’re going to be doing in collaboration with the symphony. It’s fantastic. It will actually give us a permanent home. Having us in the building with the Capitol, with the symphony, there’s so much we can do together. We can share some of the equipment, share some of the resources that we all have.”

Georgie said the deal to take over the space has been in the works for months. There is no official contract yet, but the two sides are close enough that they felt an announcement was in order.

WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie at the Chrysler Theatre on Nov. 6, 2016.
WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie at the Chrysler Theatre on Nov. 6, 2016. DALSON CHEN / WINDSOR STAR

Since they don’t have a final contract, Georgie said he couldn’t give details of the agreement.

“We’ve been looking for space downtown over the past several months,” said Georgie. “But when it became available in July, we gave it some more serious thought and expressed interest in it.”

Bike Windsor Essex was evicted from the same space in August.

Bike Windsor Essex was informed in June, two years into a three-year lease, that it had to leave the theatre. The Windsor Symphony Orchestra told the group it was being evicted because another tenant was moving in.

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