RiverRun annouces dates for next festival and new board members

by Mark Burger

Movie mavens can start marking their calendars, as RiverRun has announced its dates in 2014 for the next event.

The 16 th annual RiverRun festival will be held April 4-13 at various venues throughout downtown Winston-Salem. Festival Executive Director Andrew Rodgers was long a proponent of the two-weekend scenario for RiverRun, and obviously it has proven successful.

As always, there will be parties, seminars, special events including screenings of films from the UNCSA School of Filmmaking’s extensive and expansive Moving Image Archives and, of course, movies, movies, movies — a great many of which would not otherwise enjoy theatrical exposure in the region.

The 2013 festival featured almost 150 films from 35 different countries, once again upholding the “international” aspect that the festival is named (and noted) for. Aficionados can expect the requisite selection of state premieres, Southeastern premieres, North American premieres and, perhaps, a world premiere or two.

It’s still too early, of course, to determine what, if any, films have been selected and who, if anyone, will receive either the Master of Cinema or Emerging Master awards.

Last year, the latter award was bestowed upon UNCSA School of Filmmaking graduate Jeff Nichols, whose latest feature Mud screened at the festival and has since become his most acclaimed and financially successful film to date.

Unfortunately, Nichols had to cancel his appearance at the last minute due to a family situation — although it didn’t seem to hurt the film’s or the festival’s attendance. Once again, attendance for the 2013 festival surpassed the year before, as it did the year before that.

Even with more than six months to go, these are busy days at RiverRun, as the festival has also announced its newest members of the 2013-’14 Board of Directors.

• Robert Clark, the president and owner of Leesona Industries, he has also served as a member of the city council for Winston-Salem’s West Ward since 2001.

• Tonya Deem, named by Business Magazine in 2009 as “Woman Extraordinaire,” she was also named one of the Triad Business Journal’s “40 Leaders Under 40” in 2012 and one of its “Women in Business” in 2012, as well as serving on several boards in the community, including the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, and BookMarks.

• Rogan Kersch, the Wake Forest University provost is both a graduate and a current professor, as well as a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, a Luce Scholar, a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow and an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

• Mark Land Sr. is the managing director (east region) of Foundation Source and a managing director of the Wells Fargo Center for Planned Giving, and currently serves on the board of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, Samaritan Ministries, and the Winston-Salem and North Carolina chapter of the Partnership in Philanthropic Planning. He also studied at UNCSA and was a member of the North Carolina Dance Theatre.

• Kevin Oliver, the former chief human resources officer of Hanesbrands and founder of Harmony Ridge Farms, a for-profit enterprise specializing in naturally grown fruits and vegetables. He also currently serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Forsyth County and board of visitors of Ronald McDonald House.

• Ralph Womble, the retired CEO of the Hanes Companies (a division of Leggett & Platt) in Winston-Salem has served on many boards over the years, including the UNCSA board of trustees and executive committee, the Winston-Salem Alliance, and the Winston-Salem Foundation board of directors.

“It is always exciting to welcome new members, who bring a fresh perspective and a different personal approach,” said Board Chair Cheryl Lindsay in an official statement. “Their service will provide tremendous benefits to the board and organization as a whole.

“Serving on the board of a thriving non-profit like RiverRun requires dedication, time, and a commitment to improving our festival and our community,” she added. “We are grateful for the dedication of our outgoing members who provided their time and talents to strengthen our organization.”

For more information about the RiverRun International Film Festival, including regular updates, check out the official website:,