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 culturally vibrant community of Ridgefield, Connecticut for an annual four-day festival that includes screenings, panel discussions, special events, and nightly parties.

We are an extremely filmmaker friendly festival (Don't believe us? Read our filmmaker reviews...) and do our very best to be welcoming and to market and promote your film. Our festival is also proud to be fully committed to 50/50 filmmaker gender parity.

Ridgefield is one of the most picturesque towns in Connecticut and is located only 60 miles from New York. Screening venues are all walking distance from one other and include the 500-seat Ridgefield Playhouse, the majestic Lounsbury House, the Ridgefield Theater Barn, Ridgefield Library, and historic Keeler Tavern Museum.

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, and highly produceable screenplays. Entries are judged on a point system for craft, originality, and storytelling.

RIFF offers over $10,000 in cash prizes and filmmaker support including the $1,000 Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award (open to all directors of debut feature films - narrative or documentary) and the $5,000 Romer Award for Excellence in Filmmaking open to all female directors of any age or at any stage in their career who have a film accepted to RIFF.

**NEW** RIFF is introducing 2 NEW Screenplay categories ... a FEATURE SCREENPLAY "SCENE IN CT" competition for scripts between 60 and 125 pages ... and a "SCRIPT-2-SCREEN" competition with a $25,000 Production Services Prize to help produce the film.

So what are you waiting for? #Come RIFFwithUs

Romer Award for Excellence in Filmmaking ($5,000)
Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award ($1000)
SCENE in CONNECTICUT Screenplay Competition ($500)
Script-to-Screen Competition (up to $25,000 production package)
RIFF Grand Jury Prize ($500)
RIFF Award for Best Environmental Film ($500)
Best Narrative Feature ($500)
Best Narrative Short ($250)
Best Documentary Feature ($500)
Best Documentary Short ($250)
Best Animated Feature ($500)
Best Animated Short ($250)
Best Sci Fi / Horror Feature ($500)
Best Sci Fi / Horror Short ($250)
Best Student Film ($250)

Plus all RIFF Festival winners also receive a limited edition giclée print of an original piece of art.

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
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • I had an excellent experience. Even though I could not attend, the communication about my film and the promotion of the film were excellent!

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    David, it was such a pleasure to include your short doc, QUAHOGGING ON NARRAGANSETT BAY in our lineup. I believe this is the third film we've featured of yours so clearly we're fans. You always have such strong visuals and are able to capture intriguing sub-cultures in an economical and impactful way. Hope to see something from you next year! Perhaps from your travels through India? Megan Smith-Harris, Festival Director

  • I attended RIFF 2019 with my film Child, Disrupted and I'm so grateful for the experience I had there! Megan did such an amazing job curating the program, creating fun experiences, and creating a real sense of community, it is hard to believe that the festival is still quite young. The awards were generous, and I am grateful that our film was nominated for Best Doc Short. The filmmakers who came to the festival were awesome and I felt like I was able to get to know so many of them. I hope that the festival can continue to grow and see more success in the coming years, and I'll definitely be submitting my next documentary when the time comes! Thank you Megan and Bill for a great weekend. Oh also, Ridgefield is an adorable New England town, and the residents were all so supportive and friendly. A great place to visit for a festival.

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Krista, you were a shining light whenever we saw you -- during a film screening, hanging out at the filmmaker lounge, or getting to know the visiting filmmakers. Your film CHILD DISRUPTED is one of those docs that will stay with me for a long, long time. I think every parent, every wannabe parent, every educator, and childcare giver should see this film. And tweens and teens should too! I learned so much and will never have such a laissez-faire attitude about technology again. Thank you! Megan Smith-Harris, Festival Director

  • Luci MacNair

    We loved being a part of this festival! Megan and Bill are so welcoming and program such interesting films. Honored to be a part of it and to be nominated for Best Narrative Short. Thanks for letting, Always Remember Me be a part of the fest!

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Dear Luci, as I told your wonderful producer, we absolutely loved your film, ALWAYS REMEMBER ME, and I expect great things of you in the future. Thank you for letting us showcase your work at RIFF and we hope to get the chance to do it again in the future! Megan Smith-Harris, Festival Director

  • Gabrielle Stone

    The Ridgefield community was so welcoming and lovely. What a beautiful, quaint town with stunning homes and delicious restaurants. Megan and Bill run a great festival that's only going to continue to get better! Thanks for having us! - Elizabeth

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Hopefully you will be back with more projects, Elizabeth! We loved having you here. The world needs more producers like you.

  • Seanie Sugrue

    In short, this is a fantastic festival that I recommend every low budget indie to apply to. For the long answer keep reading!

    Before getting to the festival I have to note that one of the highlights of 2019 was driving from Manhattan to Ridgefield in October and getting to admire the fall scenery with some of our cast and crew from Misty Button. This was an 80-minute drive that we all wished could have been longer.

    We screened to a packed house at the beautiful Ridgefield Barn before heading into town (5 minutes away) for a great networking event and awards ceremony. The locals were super friendly and the town itself is stunning.

    Megan ruins a tight ship and they have some great volunteers paving the way for an excellent experience. As they go into their fifth year I predict that this festival continues to grow bigger and bigger. Megan's husband Bill also did a fantastic job with the Q&A.

    Thanks for having us,
    Seanie

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Seanie, for your kind words about the festival. Nothing makes us happier than a satisfied filmmaker who has a great experience at our festival. People universally loved your film, MISTY BUTTON, and we can't wait to see what you make next. Please know that you will always have a screening home at RIFF! Best of luck with all your future projects. Megan Smith-Harris