The RiverRun International Film Festival is a regional festival based in Winston-Salem, NC and is principally known as a filmmaker-friendly event dedicated to showcasing the year's best new international cinema. Each spring, RiverRun screens new narrative, documentary, student and animated films of all lengths from established and emerging filmmakers around the world. In addition to the Festival's annual short and feature-length juried competitions, RiverRun also presents a broad range of special events, regional premieres of significant films, celebrity tributes, family programs, retrospectives, panel discussions and parties. RiverRun is also an Academy qualifying festival for Documentary and Animated Shorts!

RiverRun has five different juries that evaluate the competition films and award various prizes. The juries are Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts and Animated Shorts. Each of the juries meet at the end of the Festival to award prizes.

There are also audience awards which are awarded to the Best of Fest, Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and our Altered States films (new American independent films). The films are voted on by members of our audience at each individual screening.

Criteria for Submission:

• All entries must be sent or postmarked no later than December 1, 2017.
• All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2016.
• All films must be in English or have English subtitles. Non-subtitled or dubbed foreign language films will not be considered.
• All clearances must be obtained for exhibition.
• In lieu of an online screener, entries may also be submitted on DVD (preferably NTSC format) with a label indicating the title and running time.
• Only the Producer, Director, Screenwriter or someone closely connected to the film may complete the application. Schools may submit films on behalf of student filmmakers in the Student Category.
• Only complete entries will be accepted. This includes the non-refundable entry fee paid to the order of RRIFF, a signed and completed entry form and a DVD or online screener. Filmmakers may apply electronically via FilmFreeway or they may download an official application from the RiverRun website. This application must be signed and must accompany the screener and application fee.
• Films submitted in previous years will not be accepted for submission.
• The programmers at RiverRun actively pursue the best in American independent and world cinema for the annual Festival. Films that have been released on video or DVD, have been widely screened on television or cable, or have been released theatrically preclude the Festival from accepting those films for competition. Exceptions are sometimes made for such films to be programmed at the Festival in non-competitive sections but are determined on a case by case basis.
• Films previously screened publicly in North Carolina will not be eligible for competition, but could be included in special non-competitive sections.

Film Categories for Competition:

• Feature-length films (narrative or documentary) must be 40 minutes or longer.
• Film Shorts (narrative, documentary, experimental, animated) must be 40 minutes or less.
• Student films must have been completed after January 1, 2016 and proof of enrollment is required. Student films may not exceed 30 minutes.

Although RRIFF is a competitive festival, some films may be included in the program in a non-competition section.
Unfortunately, RRIFF is unable to provide comments about specific films due to time and resource constraints. No DVD screeners will be returned.

Selected filmmakers may expect the following:

• Filmmakers whose films are accepted for competition will be notified by email by approximately March 15, 2018. All the privileges due filmmakers will be specified in this correspondence.
• All filmmakers with a film in the Festival will receive a VIP pass, giving free access to all events and screenings (subject to availability) at the Festival. These passes are non-transferable and must be worn at all times in clear view. Passes are not sent by mail, but must be picked up in person at the designated Festival site.
• RRIFF promotes the schedule of screenings via media including newspapers, emails, television and radio. RRIFF encourages filmmakers to help promote their films by promoting their screening(s) to industry professionals, distributors, the press and the general public.
• For entries selected to the 2018 Festival, an exhibition print or video of the film in proper format (DCP, Bluray or File (MP4 or MOV (H.264)) must be received by RRIFF no later than April 1, 2018. Failure to comply with technical specifications may result in the removal of the film from Festival competition.
• Filmmakers may not install banners or posters at the theaters without the official authorization of RRIFF.
• The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The individual or corporation submitting this film additionally grants the RiverRun International Film Festival the right to one or more public screenings of the entry during the dates of April 19 - April 29, 2018. Entries that are not completed or available for screening must pull their entry prior to March 1, 2018 or the film will be screened as entered.

The management of the RiverRun International Film Festival reserves the right to decide all questions regarding rules and regulations. Submission of a film constitutes that the filmmaker accepts the rules and regulations set forth herein.

Questions: Please call 336-724-1502 or visit the website at or email:

Overall Rating
  • false
    Gerret Warner

    I can't imagine how you could run a better film festival. Really. Communications, hosting, thoughtful curating of films and eager filmgoers made our RiverRun experience memorable. Many thanks to all who took such care in making it work.

    September 2017
  • false
    Nicole Triche

    Loved the folks at RiverRun. They really treat filmmakers well!

    May 2017
  • false
    Thomas Southerland

    A fantastic festival. From the volunteers to the programmers, filmmakers are treated well by the entire organization. The screenings are well attended by an enthusiastic audience. RiverRun is easily one of the best regional festivals in the U.S.

    April 2017
  • false
    James Mirabello

    RiverRun was a terrific festival. The staff was professional and friendly, and everything was run so well. They really work hard to help the filmmakers. We look forward to submitting again in the future!!!

    April 2017
  • false
    Robin Miller Ungar

    This is an amazing festival. Salem Winston is beautiful and the people are supportive enthusiastic film lovers! Screenings are often SOLD OUT! So you can rest assured that your film WILL be seen at this festival! The staff are fabulous and so well organized with everything from getting filmmakers to venues, to parties, to events, to the airport! You will likely meet people that will become life long friends at this one! It was an honor for Soy Cubana to be part of River Run! I hope to return soon!

    April 2017