Festival Mission & History


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.


For 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.

Past festival themes include: