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About

The RiverRun International Film Festival 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.

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 mixture of panel discussions and parties.  In 2012, the Festival presented  more than 140 films from 25 countries, bringing close to 100 filmmakers and other industry professionals to Winston-Salem from around the world.

Comparable in size and scope to the well-regarded film festivals in Nashville, Atlanta and Boston, RiverRun is a general audience festival that draws attendees from throughout the South and offers an eclectic program from film studios, independent distributors and first-time filmmakers. As the Festival has obtained national and international recognition, RiverRun has attracted substantial press and increased levels of attendance. RiverRun issued more than 15,500 tickets in 2012.

One of RiverRun's greatest assets is the collection of industry guests we bring to Winston-Salem each year, to attend the Festival's events and share their passion with the filmgoers attending screenings. RiverRun has several awards that are given each year to honor filmmakers.  The 2010 Master of Cinema Award went to Peter Bogdanovich, who directed Paper Moon and The Last Picture Show, among many other films. The 2011 Emerging Master Award went to actor Michael Shannon, who has made his mark with standout performances in films such as Take Shelter, Revolutionary Road, and the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and the 2012 Emerging Master Award was presented to actor Paul Schneider, who has impressed in recent years with outstanding turns in Lars and the Real Girl, NBC's Parks and Recreation, and Jane Campion's Bright Star.  Other honorees and notable guests of the Festival include Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty, David Gordon Green, Andie MacDowell, Will Patton, Pam Grier, Ramin Bahrani, Ron Livingston, Jeff Nichols, Andrea Arnold and Cliff Robertson.

RiverRun also prides itself on bringing together a high-caliber pool of jurors to evaluate the films in competition. Their attendance and participation in the annual Festival has helped make it what it is today. In 2012 alone, for instance, RiverRun hosted more than 20 people on its juries, including Oscar-nominated cinematographer Michael Chapman, PBS Director of Program Development Kathryn Lo, actor Will Patton, documentarian Peter Gilbert, and Gregg Kilday, film editor at the Hollywood Reporter.  Many of these industry guests and filmmakers mingled with RiverRun attendees by way of Q+A sessions and/or RiverRun events and informal gatherings. 

In addition to our regular programming RiverRun presents free public screenings to students and participating schools 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 from Forsyth county understand the diversity of the human experience and become better global citizens.