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 Festival’s landmark films from the past few years include: Mud, Win Win, Meek’s Cutoff, Wuthering Heights, Mao’s Last Dancer, 500 Days of Summer, Paris, je T’aime and The Notebook. The Festival has also showcased an eclectic mix of substantial Documentary Features over the years, including Chasing Ice, Twenty Feet From Stardom, Food, Inc., Chimpanzee, Up the Yangtze, Manufactured Landscapes and Last Train Home.
In addition, the Festival regularly presents filmmakers or performers with special awards for overall artistic achievement. Recent recipients of RiverRun’s Master of Cinema Award, a career award recognizing an outstanding body of work, include Stanley Nelson (2015), Kartemquin Films (2014), Peter Bogdanovich (2010), Bill Pullman (2008), Pam Grier (2008), Ned Beatty (2006) and Cliff Robertson (2005). Recent recipients of RiverRun’s Emerging Master Award, recognizing exciting and visionary new talents in cinema, include Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady of Loki Films (2015), Melanie Lynskey (2014), Debra Granik (2014), Jeff Nichols (2013), Paul Schneider (2012), Michael Shannon (2011), David Gordon Green (2010), and Ramin Bahrani (2009). Other notable special guests have also included Andie MacDowell, Sissy Spacek, Will Patton, Colin Hanks and Rosemary Harris.