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. Founded in 1998, RiverRun was inspired by the French Broad River near Brevard, North Carolina, where the festival was originally held. The 23rd annual RiverRun was held May 6 – 16, 2021 virtually and at 6 outdoor venues throughout Winston-Salem and 1 outdoor venue in Greensboro – presenting 132 films from 24 countries. Our 11-day Festival programming included family-friendly, independent, and international films attracting diverse audiences from across North Carolina, the U.S. and world.
Due to our excellence in programming, we are recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences as an Academy Award qualifying festival in 2 film categories – animated shorts and documentary shorts. In addition, RiverRun regularly presents filmmakers or performers with special awards for overall artistic achievement. 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). Recipients of RiverRun’s Emerging Master Award, recognizing exciting and visionary new talents in cinema, include Krisha Fairchild (2020), 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 a robust year-round screening program which includes the free ITVS Indie Lens Pop-Up Series in partnership with PBS North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina; RiverRun Retro, RiverRun Arts and, our education initiative – Films With Class.