WINSTON-SALEM — Celebrating its 21st season, the RiverRun International Film Festival will take place April 4 to 14, bringing about 160 screenings to Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
Based in Winston-Salem, RiverRun is an Academy Award-qualifying festival in two categories: Documentary Short and Animated Short.
In April 2018, RiverRun was named by Moviemaker magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worldwide Worth the Entry Fee.” More recently, in January, USA Today named RiverRun one of the “10 amazing film festivals worth traveling for.”
“RiverRun has evolved into one of the region’s premier film festivals since our inception a little more than two decades ago,” RiverRun Executive Director Rob Davis said in a news release. “We have another great lineup of films under consideration for this year’s festival, which will include films that will appeal to a broad range of people and will reflect the artistry of many rising filmmakers.”
Each year, RiverRun includes its “Spotlight: Perspectives Through Retrospectives,” which features films curated around a central theme, whether a particular person, country, company or genre. The 2019 Spotlight will focus on the centennial of United Artists, a company founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith as a means of maintaining more artistic control over their productions. United Artists is widely viewed as a predecessor to today’s independent films movement.
During the last century, United Artists has maintained a position of producing and distributing prestigious and commercially successful films, including the hugely popular James Bond franchise. As part of the 2019 Spotlight, RiverRun will screen a restored version of “Dr. No,” the first James Bond film, which set the standard for the franchise.
In addition, the 2019 RiverRun Festival will feature a Family Day on April 13. Family Day is a free event that will take place at downtown Winston-Salem’s Bailey Park. Early in the schedule of activities that day will be an interactive maker activity led by members of Peppercorn Theatre at Kaleideum, a professional theatre for young audiences, and a screening of a classic Charlie Chaplin short film. The feature film of the day will be a screening of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” a family musical starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes. The film is a United Artists release and also is part of RiverRun’s Spotlight.
Last year’s Family Day drew more than 500 people and a wide variety of canines to Bailey Park. RiverRun also will offer free Saturday Morning Cartoons on both Saturdays: April 6 and 13.
One of the most popular parties in town is the RiverRun Gala. This year’s Gala will take place at Winston-Salem’s historic Millennium Center on April 5 and will feature music, food and drink for local fans and visiting filmmakers.
By Dawn Kane for News & Record