Films with Class

In addition to our regular programming RiverRun presents free public screenings to students and participating schools throughout the year and during the run of the annual Festival. This Education Outreach initiative is part of our most active component of RiverRun’s year-round activities and is called “Films with Class.” Through these efforts, RiverRun helps thousands of students understand the diversity of the human experience and become better global citizens.

What is “Films With Class?”

Films With Class (FWC)  is RiverRun’s most active year round community outreach program.  The program presents to area students selected independent films, documentaries and narratives, as a vehicle through which to learn.  With RiverRun’s  strong and consistent reputation,  FWC has access to world-wide films and filmmakers and can offer unique slate of films and film related experiences. Moreover, as film is the medium through which 21st century students learn, these opportunities provide students extraordinary resources in a meaningful way.

How does the program operate?

FWC operates in two ways.  During the Festival, students are invited to attend as a festival audience and  experience complimentary private screenings, often with the filmmaker present.  Throughout the rest of the  school year, FWC brings films to area schools and works with instructors to offer classroom screenings.  All films selected for FWC are done so with an eye toward enriching and enhancing school curriculum.

What are more details about the classroom screenings?

For the films traveling to classrooms, an instructional guide (teacher generated) is created to accompany each film.  It includes a cinematic study of the film, strategies to explore the content lesson, artistic merits and possible educational applications of that film. The guide provides outside resources, alignment to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, and technical information about the film.

Teachers learn of this program through school system teaching workshops, school system resource advertising, area press and of course, word of mouth.   A typical FWC school screening event is a collaborative effort between the instructor and FWC administrator.  The teacher has prepared students for the screening and  the FWC administrator leads the discussion on  the  film's themes, message and style. . That film's filmmaker, local journalists, art and cinematic educators, and city officials have attended screenings when possible and relevant..  Unique for students is the encouraged ongoing film-related communication, without exception, with filmmakers.

With respect to film sources, the program is a win-win proposition.  In exchange for the a film free of charge, filmmakers or distributors receive  the prepared curriculum regarding that film,   all student/instructor feedback, and  any purchasing requests. 

What began as an experiment several years ago has become an established program which,   at this point, has reached out over 21,000 WSFCS students at 31 schools, screening over 26 films.   The flexibility of the model has attracted educational and other film related business interest as well as continuing to supplement a wide range of academic disciplines.

FWC has received funding from the NEA, Wells Fargo, Winston-Salem Arts Council and interested individuals.  As a result, all these numbers will increase affording significantly more students the opportunity to explore, in a unique interactive setting, the relationship between the art of film and information.  

If you would like to learn more about the program, please contact Jane McKim, RiverRun’s Community Director at (336) 724-1502 x107 or  If you would like to become a corporate sponsor of RiverRun’s Films with Class program, please email our Development Manager.

Samples of past films included in the Films With Class program:

Particle Fever


Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings



The Naked Brand



World Circus