The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF) celebrates independent films from around the world that enlighten, entertain, and inspire moviegoers through compelling visual storytelling. RIFF brings innovative films and filmmakers to the  artistically vibrant community of Ridgefield, Connecticut for an annual four-day festival that includes screenings, panel discussions, and nightly parties. Venues are all walking distance from one other and include the Ridgefield Playhouse, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield Library, Keeler Tavern Museum, the Prospector Theater, and the new ACT Theatre.

All films are screened and selected by a team of committed filmmakers and experienced viewers with an eye to discovering extraordinary narrative, documentary, and animated films. Entries are judged on a point system for craft, originality, and storytelling with winners of jury awards receiving festival gifts and cash prizes for their work.

RIFF was founded in 2016 by Ridgefield playwright and theatre director, Joanne Hudson. For 2018, RIFF is being reimagined by a new creative team with decades of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries. TownVibe Media President Geoffrey Morris serves as RIFF Executive Director, filmmaker and writer Megan Smith-Harris is Festival Director, with film and television veteran Bill Harris as General Manager.

RIFF Grand Jury Prize ($500)
Best Narrative Feature ($500)
Best Narrative Short ($200)
Best Documentary Feature ($500)
Best Documentary Short ($200)
Best Animated Feature ($500)
Best Animated Short ($200)
Best Sci Fi / Horror Feature ($500)
Best Sci Fi / Horror Short ($200)
Joe Consentino Best Emerging Filmmaker Award ($1000)
Best Student Film ($100)

We accept films in the above stated categories in any genre. We do not have a premiere restriction, but do let us know if this is a national, regional, or international premiere. All films must be in English or subtitled in English. All films must be original work and clear of hindrances that would interfere with showing at our festival. We welcome foreign films of any genre.

We reserve the right to adjust or amend award categories dependent upon submissions. Other cash or in-kind awards may be added closer to the festival. Except where specifically offered, travel, lodging and expenses will be incurred by the filmmaker. We do not pay screening fees to the filmmakers who participate in the festival. If your film is accepted, you grant RIFF permission to use the film for marketing purposes.

Overall Rating
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  • The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival is a real gem of high quality, thoughtful programming, that actually fulfills the promise to "enlighten, entertain and inspire" and I would add: engages and moves audiences. The films are presented in great venues in a vibrant, beautiful and supportive community. Many THANKS to directors Megan, Bill, Geoffrey and team for a wonderful festival experience, for the inclusion of my doc FROM SEED TO SEED, and for the unexpected, but much appreciated, Best Environmental Film Award. Special THANKS to my generous and gracious billet-hosts, Jackie & Tom Beck, who went out of their way to make me feel welcome and at home and added so much to an already exceptional festival experience. With much appreciation and gratitude to all involved, Katharina

    November 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Katharina,
    Both you and your film were an absolute delight. It comes as no surprise that "From Seed To Seed" is in high demand at film festivals. We look forward to having you back with or without a film!
    Warm regards,
    Megan Smith-Harris

  • Johnny Boston

    We are so grateful to have screened our film, 2030, at the amazing Ridgefield Independent Film Festival this past year. The festival had beautiful venues, fun events, and was, overall, very organized and welcoming. Whether or not we have a film in the festival, we will be back in the future. Thank you RIFF.

    November 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Johnny,
    We loved having you, your team, and your film 2030 at RIFF. Thank you for the kind words about the festival and we look forward to welcoming you back in the future as both a filmmaker and a film lover.
    Megan Smith-Harris

  • Noor Gharzeddine

    I screened my debut feature here and had an awesome experience. Everyone was so nice and communicative and Ridgefield was a lovely place to spend a long weekend. We screened in a beautiful venue and everything looked and sounded great.

    October 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Noor,
    Thank you for your kind words. It's no secret that we are all fans of you and your wonderful film, ARE YOU GLAD I'M HERE and we very much look forward to supporting your burgeoning career as a filmmaker in the future. Please submit again! And know that all submission fees are waived for RIFF alumnae.
    Warm regards,
    Megan Smith-Harris, RIFF Festival Director

  • Affolter Entertainment

    A great festival run by great people. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend in person, but they were incredibly communicative throughout the whole process. They let us know right away when we had won an award at the festival, and were quick to mail the award winnings (cash prize and local artist print), whereas some festivals take forever to follow through on these things. Will definitely submit again in the future.

    October 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Affolter Brothers,
    Thank you! We loved showcasing your short animated film, SOGGY FLAKES and obviously audiences loved screening your mini masterpiece. Our goal is to be a filmmaker friendly festival and provide fantastic programming for our audiences. Thank you for being a part of RIFF and we look forward to seeing whatever the Affolter brothers want to throw our way.
    Warm regards,
    Megan Smith-Harris, RIFF Festival Director

  • Joanne Hudson

    Attending RIFF this year as a filmmaker was a terrific honor. The quality of films was outstanding and the Q&As with filmmakers and actors were insightful and fun. Megan, Bill and Geoffrey have done a terrific job carrying on the mission of RIFF and taking it further making RIFF a 50/50 gender parity festival. This festival really cares about filmmakers and the craft of storytelling through cinema.

    October 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words and positive ratings. We were very fortunate to inherit a great festival that already had heart, soul, and purpose. Building on that foundation and elevating RIFF to the next level is a privilege. Thank you for all your hard work, creative input, and filmmaker participation! Warmly,
    Megan Smith-Harris, RIFF Festival Director