Ready, set, RiverRun!
To misquote the immortal Bard: “Once more unto the festival, dear friends.”
Last week, dozens braved the sort of cold, rainy weather that seems to have dominated 2018 thus far to gather at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem to kick off the RiverRun International Film Festival at its official preview party.
This marks the festival’s 20th anniversary and the 15th since it made the eastward expansion from Brevard to Winston-Salem, where it has “grown and prospered,” said Allen Joines, who has been the mayor of Winston-Salem longer than the festival has called the city home. “It adds cultural fabric to the city and is such an important event in the calendar of Winston-Salem.”
The festival, which runs April 19-29, received more than 2,000 submissions the year – setting a new record – from which were selected 165 films (features and shorts), representing 40 countries. Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning and thrice Oscar-nominated actress Piper Laurie (The Hustler, Carrie, Children of a Lesser God) and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Chuck Workman (Precious Images) will be receiving Master of Cinema awards.
Despite a bandaged left hand, the unfortunate result of what he quips was “a collision with the sidewalk,” executive director Rob Davis was in high spirits for the party, opening his remarks with the statement that “this is a landmark anniversary,” and both he and Joines lauded former UNCSA School of Filmmaking Dean and current faculty member Dale Pollock as the “visionary” who laid the foundation by which RiverRun came to Winston-Salem.
As he was teaching that night, Pollock was unable to attend the preview party, but his wife Susie was on hand, as were Jim Sparrow, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and Don Martin, vice-president of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. This is the first year the festival is receiving support from Forsyth County, which “was actually a pretty easy decision,” he said. “This is the greatest film festival in the Southeast. The films offer something for everyone.” He also took a moment to praise the festival’s ongoing “Films With Class” series, which has brought cinematic entertainment and education to 250,000 students thus far.
The 20th annual RiverRun International Film Festival runs April 19-29. For advance tickets or more information, call (336) 724-1502 or visit the official RiverRun website: http://riverrunfilm.com/.