KCFF was launched in 2001 by Alex Jansen, then a film student at Queen’s University.
It began as a three-day event at the Screening Room Movie Theatre, a two screen repertory cinema which Jansen was managing at the time. Fifteen of the twenty original screenings sold out.
In 2002, the festival added a second venue, increased the number of screenings substantially and added a fourth day to the event, becoming the largest showcase of feature films from across Canada.
- launching the Local Filmmaking Initiative to provide educational and networking opportunities for local filmmakers,
- presenting a high school outreach program,
- guaranteeing the inclusion of French language films at each festival,
- and adding retrospective screenings and a Master class.