The RiverRun International Film Festival is a regional event based in Winston-Salem, NC and is one of the premier film festivals in the southeastern United States. The 23rd annual RiverRun will be held May 6 – 16, 2021.
Founded in 1998, RiverRun was inspired by the French Broad River near Brevard, North Carolina, where the festival was originally held. The 21st RiverRun International Film Festival was held April 4-14, 2019, in 5 venues throughout Winston-Salem and 1 in Greensboro. RiverRun screened 175 films from 47 countries with 18,354 attendees from across the Triad, North Carolina and United States. RiverRun’s 11-day Festival programming regularly includes a selection of family-friendly, independent, international and celebrity driven films, attracting diverse audiences – which include local film aficionados, young families, niche audiences and cultural tourists.
In 2014 the Festival was added by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Oscar® qualifying Festival for the Best Documentary Short category, and similarly in 2015 RiverRun was added as an Oscar® qualifying Festival in the Best Animated Short cateogry. The short film that is awarded the top jury prize in each of those categories at RiverRun is eligible to submit their film to the Academy for Oscar® consideration. 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 Paula Prentiss (2019), Richard Benjamin (2019), Mike Medavoy (2019), Piper Laurie (2018), Chuck Workman (2018), Jane Alexander (2017), Celia Weston (2017), 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 Jay Cocks, Karen Allen, Blanche Baker, Andie MacDowell, Sissy Spacek, Will Patton, Colin Hanks and Rosemary Harris.
RiverRun is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Our mission is to foster a greater appreciation of cinema and a deeper understanding of the many people, cultures and perspectives of our world through regular interaction with great films and filmmakers. While our 11-day Festival is our largest and most visible platform to reach audiences, RiverRun also presents an established education outreach program, Films With Class, and several highly regarded year-round screening initiatives, including the ITVS Indie Lens Pop-Up Series, RiverRun Arts and RiverRun Retro.