History

The RiverRun International Film Festival is one of the country's fastest-growing regional film festivals. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the festival annually presents a rich blend of new films by established and emerging filmmakers, showcasing a diverse collection of cinematic voices from around the world.

Held annually each spring, RiverRun screens a wide variety of feature-length and short films from all genres, and also presents a broad range of special events, including high-profile regional premieres of significant films, celebrity tributes, family matinees and classic retrospectives as well as a full mixture of panel discussions and parties.

Founded in 1998 by Vincent and Gennaro D'Onofrio, the festival got its name from the French Broad River near Brevard, NC, where the festival was originally held. In 2003, Dale Pollock, a former film producer and then-Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, moved RiverRun to Winston-Salem, where it resides today as an independent arts organization dedicated to showcasing the best new films from independent, international and student filmmakers.

Over the years, RiverRun has showcased a wide variety of films, ranging from gritty independents to Hollywood blockbusters. Some of the notable films from previous festivals includes: The Hunter, Wuthering Heights, The Eye of the Storm, Win Win, Meek's Cutoff, Mao’s Last Dancer, Dogtooth, Last Train Home, (500) Days of Summer, Food Inc., Three Monkeys, Phoebe in Wonderland, Son of Rambow, The Baker, Paris, je t'aime, 12:08 East of Bucharest, Fay Grim, Take the Lead, Crazy Love, Manufactured Landscapes, Sweet Land, Murderball, The Notebook, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days and A Mighty Wind.

At many of the Festival's screenings, audiences have the opportunity to interact with actors and filmmakers who introduce their films and answer questions after the screenings. Some of the many recent guests have included: Ron Livingston (Queens of Country), Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights), Will Patton (Meek's Cutoff), Marc Webb (Director: 500 Days of Summer), Ramin Bahrani (Director: Goodbye Solo), Guillermo Arriaga (Director: The Burning Plain), Luis Mandoki (Director: Innocent Voices), and Josh Aronson (Director: Bullrider).

Additionally, the festival also presents an in-person Master of Cinema tribute to honor the lifetime accomplishments of an actor or filmmaker, as well as an Emerging Master’s Award for celebrated actors or filmmakers on the rise. Previous Master of Cinema honorees and special guests have included: Paul Schneider (2012), Michael Shannon (2011), David Gordon Green (2010), Andie MacDowell (2010), Peter Bogdanovich (2010), Pam Grier (2008), Bill Pullman (2008), Ned Beatty (2006) and Cliff Robertson (2005).