2018 FESTIVAL: April 23rd - 29th
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 and web series. In 2016-17, 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 network.
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 an exciting collaborative platform for writers and filmmakers as it brings great talent together and helps launch careers.
Awards & Prizes
Over $20,000 awarded in cash and prizes, plus industry exposure. Several awards are given in overall main categories for film and screenplays 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, and 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange
Best of Festival Award for Best Narrative (Feature & Short) Best Animation (Short) Best Documentary (Feature & Short) Best Experimental (Short), and overall Best Music Video and Web Series. Outside of industry promotion, these winners will receive: a Special Recognition Trophy and 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange
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: Final Draft software, a Special Recognition Trophy, and a 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange
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, a Preferred Media Industry Xchange membership, 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 5 scripts (feature & short) receive a Preferred Media Industry Xchange membership for a period of one year
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, and a 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange. 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 the best produced short 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Short Film Production Award (One Writer & One Director) – 2017-2018 TBD. This is a separate category that entrants can enter with no entry fee as long as they’ve entered a project in at least one other main category. Anyone who worked on the original project is eligible as long as they have been credited in some way on the film or screenplay. Here’s how it works: Phase One/Writers: RIFF's corporate or individual sponsor will give a call to action for a specific short film project. Based on what the partner is looking for, writers will then have two weeks to submit their short script to RIFF/The MIX. After RIFF and the partner review all submitted scripts, a winner will be selected. Phase Two/Filmmakers: The winning script is then submitted to all entrants who would like to compete for crafting the short script’s direction. The directors have two weeks to complete their vision & storyboard for the script. RIFF and the individual or corporate sponsor will then select the director with the winning concept. The two winners will be awarded $250 cash prize each, receive credit for their work, and a 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange. At the discretion of the partner and RIFF, the project will then be produced in the winter. If produced, the film gets an automatic premiere at the Byrd Theatre during festival week. See the rules & guidelines page for full details.
General Promotion for All Entrants – All entrants that do no make it as official selection or top script finalist will receive promotion through the MIX Directory as a Preferred Listing member for six months.
The Media Industry Xchange Preferred Membership 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 24th - 29th, 2018. 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 where applicable. If not chosen as Official Selection, RIFF still offers discounted admission to the festival and FLOW creative conference for all entrants.
Rules & Terms
We accept short films and scripts (40 min/pages or less) and feature films and scripts (41 min/pages or more). Please check appropriate length entry upon checkout. RIFF also now accepts music videos and web series.
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. 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.
Films should be completed after November 2016 in order to qualify for the 2018 festival. While RIFF does not have a strict completion date policy, films completed within 18 months of the current festival date are given priority.
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.
CORPORATE PRODUCTION AWARD WINNERS (One Writer; One Filmmaker) - This award is a separate category and does NOT affect entries into any of the festival's main categories. It is at the discretion of the festival each year, pending the annual corporate partner or individual. It is a free category that entrants are eligible to enter voluntarily if they've entered a project in at least one other main category. The winning writer and director of the Corporate Award category understand and agree that if they choose to compete for the in-house production, it is voluntary. The two winners of this production understand and agree that by accepting the prize money and awards for the direction and writing on the in-house short production that this is payment in full, and no other compensation will be made. RIFF, the Corporation, and The Moving Image Xchange LLC maintain full ownership as producers of the in-house production. In addition to the cash prize/payment the winning writer and director receive, they will also get a writing or directing credit in the final Corporate Award in-house production, and a prize package. This in-house production is at the sole discretion of RIFF each year.
Please read and understand the above rules and associated licensing and release agreement found below. 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 2016-2017 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
email@example.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.