Welcome to the second annual River Town Film Festival, where we explore community through independent films. The films we accept often have an abstract association to community yet harness the potential to deepen awareness and insight by inviting dialogue and relationship. This means we aren’t talking about The Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver. Last year we featured community found in films about human trafficking, the foster system, a rural community in NM where the only thing to do is eat pie, and even about the elves at the North Pole.

The River Town Film Festival will span three days; opening Friday, September 7 with screenings of short and feature-length films (narrative and documentary) continuing throughout Sunday, September 9. The Closing Ceremony will be capped off by a rock and roll performance by THE ORCHESTRA Starring ELO Former Members.

Our judges read like a who's who of Hollywood: Ernest Thompson (Oscar-winning screenwriter of ON GOLDEN POND); Executive Producer Marc Rosen (SENSE8); Marc Reid (CFO of Lakeshore Entertainment); Lynne Litt (TV writer of LOST, LAW & ORDER, NCIS New Orleans, THE PRACTICE and many more); Virginia Longmuir (EVP of RatPac Entertainment) and Producer, Director, Actor and Composer Allan Nichols (DEAD MAN WALKING, THE PLAYER, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE).

This past year we saw Academy-Award winner Ernest Thompson’s community-made film HEAVENLY ANGLE followed by a Q&A by Mr. Thompson, as well as the Oscar-nominated documentary A TIME FOR BURNING, with a Q&A with the director, Bill Jersey, about how 50 years after the release of this movie we are still having the same conversation about race relations today. We also hosted the world premiere of NO REWIND, a performance documentary starring the iconic classic rock band THE ORCHESTRA, comprised of former members of ELO and ELO PART II, with the band participating in a Q&A afterwards.

The festival will take place at the Red Mill, a historical landmark that dates back to 1810 and is now home to a museum village. An antique iron bridge, built in 1870 with a gorgeous view of a 200-foot wide waterfall, connects the Red Mill with downtown. 

Filmmakers who are accepted into the festival will receive two VIP passes, which include entry to all parties and to the closing ceremony and rock concert.

Clinton is a small town that embraces a strong community spirit, and is a meeting point between cosmopolitan East Coast culture, artists, multi-generational farms and salt of the earth people. Only one hour from New York City and located on the south branch of the Raritan River, the town features a historic and quintessential downtown with locally owned restaurants and boutiques, and a contemporary art museum. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful countryside, Clinton draws visitors from all over the country.

Our entry fees are low in order to give all filmmakers the opportunity to submit.

Custom crystal trophies and other valuable prizes (to be announced) will be awarded at a closing ceremony (followed by a rock concert) for the following categories:

1. Best in Show: $1,000 cash prize and a Full Sail University student filmmaker scholarship named after the Best in Show winner.

2. Audience Choice

3. Best Feature Length Film (Narrative or Documentary)

4. Best Short (Narrative or Documentary)

To be considered, films must fall under the broad theme of Community. This might be a theme within the film itself, or it could even be that your film was made by a certain community of people. No porn content.

Feature films must have a running time of 50 – 120 minutes. Shorts must have a running time 30 minutes or less.

Film submissions in a foreign language must have English subtitles.

Entry into River Town Film Festival constitutes permission and license to exhibit the film at the festival, regardless of acceptance into any other festival. By entering your film, you hereby grant River Town Film Festival the right to use the film submitted in promotion and marketing of the festival. You hereby warrant that you are authorized to enter the film for screening to the public, and you hereby grant River Town Film Festival the right to exhibit the film (and any related name, trademark, service mark, trade name, logo, copyrighted material, art and third party rights) and will indemnify and hold harmless River Town Film Festival, its officers, staff, volunteers and Board of Directors from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, attorney fees, damages and expenses which may be incurred as a result of including your film in the festival.

You are responsible for securing festival clearance rights for music, stock footage or any other material in your film, and must clear all copyrighted material in your film prior to public screening.

No Refunds.

River Town Film Festival reserves the right to change our programming and event party without notice.

Overall Rating
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    William Spear

    The River Town Film Festival exceeded expectations. From the professional staff of volunteers to the executives running the festival to films showcased, RTFF delivered. I am already in pre-production on my 2018 entry.

    November 2017
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    John Burr

    This was one of the best and most unique film festival experiences of my life. An incredibly supportive team of programmers and volunteers in a truly beautiful town created the perfect backdrop for this union of film, art and music. Submit your film, buy your tickets, and get yourself to Clinton for a truly enjoyable and inspiring weekend.

    November 2017
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    Katrina Medoff

    I was unfortunately unable to attend the River Town Film Festival due to a filming conflict, but I found the festival to be very communicative and responsive to emails and any questions I had. I'm impressed that this was River Town's first year, because they seemed to have everything organized with ease! Thank you to Kee Kee, the co-founder and program director, for this great experience!

    November 2017
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    Edina Kishonthy

    The River Town Film Festival is a world-class event! Although I wasn't able to fly to NJ to attend, I could tell through their social media presence that this festival will be a major,impactful player on the circuit. Oscar winning judges; world-known musicians; amazing art; well-targeted PR and outreach to local audiences make this a desirable festival for film makers. The communication was excellent, all my emails were promptly answered.

    November 2017
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    Sydney Lloyd Smith

    What an amazing film festival the River Town Film Festival is! Cudos to KeeKee Buckley for the excellent organization, gracious hospitality, and wonderful networking opportunities. Clinton is a charming town!

    November 2017