The spectacle of the big screen, the joy of a story well told and heartstrings left barely intact: George Marshall loved all these things, and that was reflected throughout his life’s prominent work. Marshall was the founder and, for 40 years, the director of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. He taught film – be it to teens through KidsEye programs, or to college students at Roger Williams University and URI – for nearly as long.
Marshall passed away on November 1 at Rhode Island Hospital at the age of 68. He is survived by his husband, Larry Andrade, and by an extended family of filmmakers, students, viewers of his “Double Feature” podcast, and fans that reach around the globe.
RIIFF was truly an international event, and Marshall directly or indirectly introduced people from around the world to scrappy little Rhode Island. The festival is one of the few to nominate films for Oscar contention, a fact that routinely raises eyebrows unless you’ve been to the festival and seen the scale and intensity of the programming. It’s one of the events that lends credence to PVD’s mantle as the Creative Capital.
“RIIFF is George’s legacy,” said Shawn Quirk, long-time creative director at RIIFF. “We will honor him through it, and it will continue for many years to come.”
George left his mark on many aspiring filmmakers who went on to create cinematic greatness, hosting Oscar parties and creating interactive opportunities at festivals that spoke to smaller niches. He loved an opportunity to call attention to a less obvious or harder-to-find piece of art – to any great cinema that was at risk of being lost outside the limelight.
“George was a kind, gentle man who loved the arts, his family and friends. I consider him a brother,” said Steven Feinberg, executive director of the RI Film & Television Office. “We will miss him.”