12 Things You Should Know about RiverRun International Film Festival


    Right here, right now. Winston-Salem, it’s going down in our backyard, now – April 17th

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  3. THE FESTIVAL GOT ITS NAME FROM THE FRENCH BROAD RIVER near Brevard, NC, where the festival was originally held. The festival was later moved to Winston-Salem to reach a wider audience and has grown significantly ever since.

  4. RIVERRUN GREW FROM A 4-DAY REGIONAL FESTIVAL TO AN 11-DAY INTERNATIONAL EVENT over the past decade and now attracts films, filmmakers, and audiences around the world. This growth has been attributed to former Executive Director, Andrew Rodgers’ leadership and his hardworking  staff. Rodgers first joined the festival as a consultant from Sundance Film Festival; he recently was tapped to lead the Denver Film Society.

  5. MARY DOSSINGER, program manager, MICKEY FLYNN, operations manager, and CHRIS HOLMES, program coordinator took over the helm after Andrew’s departure. They kept the well-oiled machine running, continued the momentum, and have delivered one of the best festival lineups to date.


  6. OVER 1,500 FILMS WERE SUBMITTED for this year’s festival from all over the worldEach film is carefully reviewed by a small screening committee, Mary, Chris, and Assistant Programmers, Caroline Cuny and David Chisholm in four short months. Ultimately Mary and Chris and make the final decisions. Because of the tight turnaround this sometimes requires binge watching ten films back to back in a single day.

  7. 166 FILMS MADE THE CUT. Lucky us, we get to see the best of the best.

  8. NEARLY 300 DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS MAKE IT HAPPEN. And they do so eagerly and happily. Their southern hospitality has become legendary and has played a big role in helping set RiverRun apart internationally.

  9. THERE ARE 10 PRIMARY CATEGORIES OF FILMS.Here’s the rundown so you’re in the know:

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  • Special Presentations (14 films)
    Big names. Big talents. Big films. This is your chance to catch an early glimpse of films destined for the multiplex.

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  • Documentary Features (8 films)
    Compelling stories told with innovative style.
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  • Narrative Features (8 films)
    Emerging talents mixed with established masters. Representing some of the very best films of the year from around the world.

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  • Altered States: New Directions in American Cinema (6 films)
    Emerging independent filmmakers charting previously unexplored geography within the medium.

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  • Focus (17 films)
    An eclectic mix of Festival favorites dubbed “too good to miss”. Filmmakers include emerging talents, RiverRun alums and veteran filmmakers.
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  • NC Features (4 films)
    Homegrown stories that feature stories told around our state and/or by North Carolina filmmakers.


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  • Films with Class (3 films)
    The purpose is to teach through film. Films are part of a year-round community outreach program which presents compelling topics to area students using film as a vehicle which to learn and start a dialogue.

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  • Spotlight: Fashion and Film (6 films)
    Perspectives through retrospectives. A rare opportunity to experience classic cinema around a central theme. This year’s focus on Fashion and Film proves that costumes and fashion in film can have a lasting cultural legacy.

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  • From the Archives (4 films)
    Preserving cinematic history. Shining a light on the importance of screening film on 35mm and 70mm film. This year’s Archives films cover two decades (‘68-’84) of the best musical acts on film.

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  • Heedless Women: Female South American Filmmakers of the Present (4 films)
    Fearless female voices. This year’s spotlight takes a deeper look at some of the most novel modern female auteurs from a continent brimming over with brilliance.

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  • Shorts Programs (10 collections)
    Small films with big ambitions. Many of the world’s best filmmakers started their careers making short films. See them here first and expect concise editing and great storytelling condensed into a few minutes.


  1. RIVERRUN IS AN ACADEMY AWARD-QUALIFYING FILM FESTIVAL for animated and documentary short films – one of the industry’s highest distinctions. In fact recent films, like Bear Story and 20 Feet from Stardom, have gone on to win Academy Awards.



  1. FESTIVALS LIKE RIVERRUN PLAY AN INSTRUMENTAL ROLE IN BUILDING FILMMAKER RESUMES, offering competitive award opportunities, and ultimately helping them gain credibility to raise the necessary funds to produce more creative work.


  1. ULTIMATELY THIS FESTIVAL IS ABOUT MORE THAN WATCHING FILMS, IT’S ABOUT CONNECTING. With the filmmakers, the actors, the producers, other film geeks and novices. This festival includes a lot of cinematic heart and soul and is your chance to meet the makers and emerging talent before they go on to do more great things.  Right here in Winston-Salem – our city of arts and innovation.


For films, screening times, ticket info, and all sorts of important details, visit RiverRunFestival.com


Want more insider scoop?

Visit Camel City Dispatch for the latest updates
including this great Q&A where local writer Caresse Hightower says:  
…RiverRun ushers in spring with a red carpet….Winston comes out of winter hibernation and hits the ground running with this kind of indescribable feeling.  I’ve never been proud of my city.  I’m not ashamed either…I just live here.  But the festival makes me think about Winston-Salem in a different way.  We’ve come a long way, baby, and I’m rooting for my home to keep up the good work… It’s a great recipe for a group who is yearning for visual art, to learn something.  Age and race don’t really matter because the biggest thing we have in common for that week is that we’re all RiverRunning together.  They bring us the films, but we make the festival.  It’s not really a festival if the movie is playing to an empty theater.”


Visit Triad City Beat for their Best of RiverRun rundown
Visit Winston-Salem Journal to read how a RiverRun film with local ties is raising awareness of mental health within the justice system.

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