2018-2019 FESTIVAL: April 23rd - 28th, 2019

The Richmond International Film Festival (RIFF) is a competitive festival that screens more than 120 international cutting edge films, making it one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest international competitive festivals. RIFF provides industry panels, Q&As, live musical performances, the creative FLOW conference, and entertainment mixers that bring the spirit of Hollywood to beautiful Richmond, Virginia at the Bowtie Criterion/Movieland and the historic Byrd Theatre. In 2011, USA Today called the 1,300-seat theatre, "One of the top 10 places to still see a movie in splendor in the United States."

Richmond is not just a thriving arts, food, and craft brewery hub in the US, it has been voted one of the best places for moviemakers to work and live in the country along with one of the top places for indie filmmakers to shoot their projects (Moviemaker Magazine). For more info on RVA: http://hipgreenscene.com/2015/06/richmond/

An inclusive and spirited festival designed to honor true film artists; RIFF welcomes produced films and screenplays of all genres and niches (features & shorts) as well as music videos, original teleplays, and web series. In 2017, RIFF also expanded to add a full scale music festival, which overlaps with the film portion and offers many opportunities for filmmakers and musicians to connect and forge new working relationships.

With the aim of promoting both established award winning filmmakers and discovering up-and-coming talent, the festival works to promote its participating filmmakers and writers through various media outlets and production partners.

Additionally, RIFF has an additional platform that highlights unique projects that focus on using film as a powerful art form for creating awareness and social change. The festival is also one of the few that offers annual production opportunities through their separate production award and parent production partner, The Moving Image Xchange LLC (The MIX).

RIFF is a collaborative platform for filmmakers, writers, and musicians that brings great talent together, and helps launch careers.

Over $20,000 awarded in cash and prizes, entry badges, plus industry exposure. Several awards are given in overall main categories for film, screenplays, and music as well as Outstanding Merit Awards, Best Actress/Best Actor, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Music/Score.

Grand Jury Winners (Film) - This is awarded to the overall best feature film and short film. The best feature film receives $750 cash and the best short film receives $500 cash. Plus, each will receive a Special Recognition Trophy.

Best of Festival Award for Best Narrative (Feature & Short), Best Animation (Short), Best Documentary (Feature & Short), Best Experimental (Short), Best Original Teleplay, Best Music Video and Best Web Series. Outside of industry promotion, these winners will receive a Special Recognition Trophy.

Grand Jury Winners (Screenplays) - This is awarded to the overall best feature screenplay and best short screenplay. The best feature script receives $750 cash and the best short script receives $500 cash. Plus, each will receive a Special Recognition Trophy.

Audience Choice Awards (Best Feature film and Short film) – These winners are voted upon by the festival audience. Each winner receives special recognition at the red carpet awards ceremony and an award certificate.

Additional Awards (Film) - The following will receive an award certificate for best in a feature or short film: Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Music/Score, Best Original Screenplay.

Additional Awards (Screenplays) - The following receives heavy industry promotion to A-list companies and various other agents and producers we work with, plus receive an award certificate, and free entry into all festival events: Top script in each of the main four genres (Horror/Thriller/Fantasy, Drama/Family, Comedy, Action/Adventure)

Official Selection and Top Screenplays - All Official Selection filmmakers and the top 8-12 scripts (feature & short) receive complimentary entry into all festival events, VIP mixers, and more.

Outstanding Merit Awards – Given out each year at the festival's discretion. These awards are given to a writer or filmmaker who best utilizes film as a medium to create awareness, social impact/change, or bring a unique perspective to any one topic. These winners will receive: a Special Recognition Trophy. The Social Impact/Global Xchange Award – Given to the produced short film or script that highlights the use of film to create a positive social impact in the community or alternatively, the use of film to promote entrepreneurship as a means to create, synergize or maximize social capital in the community. This award acknowledges the efforts of those who are leveraging film to solve real community issues. The Legacy Xchange Award -Given to an individual or the best produced film or script submitted by an entrant over the age of 65. If you would like to be considered for this award, you must send RIFF a copy of your age verification to info@richmondfilmfestival.com

If applicable, entrants may post on the Media Industry Xchange which includes a photo, bio/resume link, career highlights, and links to view samples of the writer or filmmaker’s work along with contact info, genre/niche preferences, recent awards, etc.

FESTIVAL EVENTS & ATTENDANCE Screening, networking, educational and industry events to take place at the historic Byrd Theatre, Bowtie Movieland and Criterion Cinemas and other venues in Richmond, Virginia April 23th - 28th, 2019. All entrants are highly encouraged to attend the festival. Official Selection films and Official Selection writers receive free admission to the festival, and are invited to participate in various events throughout the week, panel discussions, and Q&As. If not chosen as Official Selection, RIFF still offers discounted admission to the festival and FLOW creative conference for all entrants who submit to the festival.

RIFF accepts feature films and scripts (41 min/pages or more), short films and scripts (40 min/pages or less), original teleplays (75 min/pages or less), music videos, and web series. Please check appropriate length entry upon checkout.

All entrants must submit their entry form and payment online through FilmFreeway. You may then submit your script or film electronically through FilmFreeway or choose to mail it to our office. If mailing, you must include your FilmFreeway entry number, film title, and contact information. Address: Richmond International Film Festival, 3126 W. Cary Street, #605, Richmond, VA 23221. The competition is not responsible for submissions that are lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

All applicants (s) testify to be at least 18 years or older and warrant as the author of submitted material that they are the sole and exclusive owner(s) of all legal and equitable rights thereto with the full and exclusive rights to submit material to the competition.

We will accept collaborative work, however, each writer must fill out and sign the online entry application and release form. If selected as a winner, it is up to the winners to split the prize money equally between them.

DVD OR BLU-RAY SCREENERS. If mailing your preview material, we only accept films on DVD (NTSC) or BLU-RAYS. All other formats will be disqualified. All preview media must be labeled with your entry number, film title, running time, and personal contact information including email address. If selected as Official Selection, you will be notified as to what formats will be accepted for your respective venue.

Please label the outside of your package: FOR PREVIEW ONLY – NO COMMERCIAL VALUE. Your preview material will not be returned, so please do not send master copies. Do not send media kits or other marketing material unless your film has been chosen as Official Selection. Submissions may not be withdrawn once completed, and entry fees are non-refundable. The competition is not responsible for submitted materials that are lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

ONLINE SCREENER FORMAT. If submitting your film online, you must do so through FilmFreeway or a private secured screener. All other sites are ineligible. Submissions may not be withdrawn once completed, and entry fees are non-refundable.

Non-English language films must have English subtitles.

Scripts submitted online must be submitted in a PDF, Final Draft, or Microsoft Word file. If submitting by mail, it must be typed in English, and printed on single or double-sided paper; it must be 3-hole punched with pages numbered; be headed by the title page, which includes title of work and WGA registration number if applicable; font must be 12-point Courier, Courier New or Courier Final Draft (please no exceptions). The festival reserves the right to return the script if the above procedures are not followed. If the script is based on a true story, it should be noted on the title page.

Applicant understands that it is their sole responsibility to copyright and protect their own submitted material.

Submissions must be the original work of the applicant(s). We do not accept adaptations. Submissions may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or un-produced that is not already in public domain. If it is in public domain, it is eligible for the contest.

Multiple entries are permissible but each entry must be accompanied by a separate signed entry form and a separate entry fee.

Script entrants are free to enter their submitted material to other contests; however, screenwriters must not have already received a prize that includes a 'first look' clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer's submitted entry to the Richmond International Film Festival. If a screenplay becomes optioned or purchased between the time of submission and the end of the festival judging period, the applicant must notify us and that entry will no longer be eligible for an award.

All submission forms must be filled out through FilmFreeway. Submission materials must be received via postal mail or transmitted electronically via FilmFreeway on or before the Early, Regular, Late or Final entry deadline, and the entry fee paid in full through FilmFreeway in order to qualify for the respective submission rate. Online entries may be submitted up until midnight Eastern Time on the final or extended deadline date. Postal entries must be postmarked by the respective deadline. Any entries submitted or payments postmarked after the final or extended deadline will be disqualified.

RIFF reserves the right to extend the entry deadline.

All entrants understand and agree that there are a diverse amount of story contexts and ideas, and in no way is RIFF or The Moving Image Xchange LLC responsible not now or in the future of borrowing or stealing from an idea, copy written concept, or storyline from an entry.

Entry fees are payable by credit card or PayPal through FilmFreeway. Entry fees are nonrefundable.

Each applicant will receive an e-mail notifying them of the competition results. It is the writer/filmmaker’s responsibility to keep their personal contact information that is on file with us and FilmFreeway updated and current. RIFF has no responsibility for correspondence that is misdirected as a result of writer(s) failure to provide us with current contact information. We also encourage entrants to add RIFF to your email address list to ensure email correspondence is not sent to spam or bulk mail.

All winners are responsible for their own U.S. income tax withholding. RIFF and The Moving Image Xchange LLC is not responsible for withholding any taxes or payments to any government agency, at any level, be it state, local or federal.

Should an entrant win an award at RIFF, they will receive the award when present at the annual red carpet awards. If not present, it is up to the recipient to arrange their own shipping of the physical award via Fed Ex or another carrier.

Films should be completed after November 2017 in order to qualify for the 2019 festival. While RIFF does not have a strict completion date policy, films completed within 18 months of the current festival date are given priority.

Short and feature films must not be shown within 100 miles of Richmond, VA prior to its festival screening date.

Contest applicants must accept without reservation the decisions rendered by the jurors.

If selected as Official Selection or another award, you are responsible for your own personal travel and accommodation expenses if you would like to attend the festival or production, if applicable. Hotel discounts and VIP Access badges are provided to the Official Selection (up to 2 complimentary badges to features and 1 to shorts). All other key cast and crew are offered special discounts.

Please read and understand the above rules and associated licensing and release agreement. By submitting your entry, you expressly acknowledge and agree to be bound by these terms. Failure to adhere to the Richmond International Film Festival guidelines will result in disqualification and forfeiture of an entry fee and/or eligible prize.

RULES & LICENSING AGREEMENT Please read and understand the Festival Rules, Guidelines, & Licensing Agreement. By submitting your entry (film, script, and/or entry for the separate corporate contest submission) to the Richmond International Film Festival, you expressly acknowledge and agree to be bound by these terms. Failure to adhere to these guidelines or rules & licensing agreement will result in disqualification and forfeiture of an entry fee and/or eligible prize. PROMOTION, PUBLICITY, MARKETING. Entrants permit the Richmond International Film Festival to use their name and/or likeness, contact information provided by participant, title of the work submitted, its logline and their results during the 2018-2019 festival year for publicity and promotional purposes. THE MIX DIRECTORY. Entrants permit the festival and The Moving Image Xchange to list their name and/or likeness, contact information and any other professional relevant information in The MIX Directory. Entrants may choose to opt out of the directory listing any time by contacting RIFF at
info@richmondfilmfestival.com. There is no exchange, transfer of prize or refund due to opting out of the MIX Directory complimentary prize. Through various phases of the judging process, submitted material will be exposed to a network of influential third parties. All such third party participations are not guaranteed. The Richmond International Film Festival will provide, though not obligated, applicant’s contact information and submitted work to any interested parties, and turn all remaining correspondence over to you. RIFF does not attest to or guarantee the validity of any subsequent agreements between applicant (s) and said parties. THEATRICAL SCREENINGS. The Richmond International Film Festival reserves the non-exclusive right to screen and showcase all submitted films during the festival. All ticket sales and proceeds are property of the Richmond International Film Festival. INDEMNIFICATION. Applicant (s) indemnify and hold harmless The Richmond International Film Festival, its judges, The Moving Image Xchange (the MiX), affiliates, staff, sponsors and partners, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses (including legal fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, or third party claims based on stories or films submitted to the Richmond International Film Festival.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION; GOVERNING LAW; FORUM. Entrant expressly acknowledges and agrees that the Richmond International Film Festival shall be entitled to injunctive or other equitable relief (an "Injunction") to restrain, prevent or enjoin any breach by a contestant under this film contest, and the contestant hereby waives any right to notice of any action or proceeding for an Injunction and consents to and accepts entry of an Injunction in any court which may have jurisdiction in connection therewith. The prevailing party in any legal proceeding brought pursuant hereto shall be entitled to recover all of its attorneys' fees and all other costs related to such a legal proceeding. Unless otherwise stated herein, this Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia (without regard to the conflicts of law provisions thereof), and the contestant hereby submits to the jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in Richmond County, Virginia. By submitting my project to the Richmond International Film Festival, I acknowledge that I have read, understand and agree to, and will abide by all the terms and conditions of submission of materials to this festival competition, which are listed in this licensing and release form, and the rules, guidelines & content sections of the Richmond International Film Festival website.

Overall Rating
  • Candice Delevante

    Great festival, with hospitable, organized staff. I enjoyed the panels and screenings. Highly recommended if you're seeking to expand your network.

    June 2018
  • David Groom

    I left Richmond with mixed feelings after attending for the screening of our short film. The communications from the outset were great and the events that were put on were very pretty good, they were useful for networking. The city of Richmond is lovely, and The Byrd Theatre is stunning, you'll not find a grander venue. I couldn't help but feel that the festival is a bit too big for Richmond though, as all the screenings I went to were poorly attended and Q&As were really just facilitated by RIFF hosts (very MC-like - they were great mind you, better than dead silence!) The venues are all spread over a considerable distance, including the filmmakers lounge, so there's no consistent nucleus for socialising and networking becomes more haphazard. I also never met a single senior member of the festival team during my time there, so while all the staff were enthusiastic and friendly, none I met had heard of the film I was representing (this was a first for me). We were very honoured to be selected, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't help feeling relieved that I'd only travelled the distance from NYC rather than all the way from the UK to attend.

    May 2018
  • The Festival was a delight to attend. The staff was hospitable and friendly. There were many events to attend and our screening was at a gorgeous theatre. Would love to come back and attend! Highly recommended!

    May 2018
  • Lisa Eismen

    Amazing! RIFF treated me us well. A massive thank you to the team for making this event so much fun to be a part of.

    May 2018
  • Bradley Howard

    Great festival, had a ton of fun and saw some great films.

    May 2018