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!

Awards & Prizes

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.

Rules & Terms

Criteria for Submission:

• All entries must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2016 for submission.
• All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2015.
• 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.
• Entries may be submitted on DVD (preferably NTSC format) with a label indicating the title and running time. They may also be submitted online, either via the online submission platform you have chosen or e-mailed to
• In an effort to become a greener Festival, RRIFF asks that all filmmakers limit the materials used to send in films and submit their films in small, eco-friendly packaging. Films should be submitted to us on a single DVD, and we would prefer that they be sent in a simple paper CD/DVD sleeve in order to cut down on waste. Once we receive your DVD, the case or sleeve will be recycled, so it doesn’t matter what type of packaging you use to submit your disc. Or, preferably, just send all materials online.
• 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 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 out of competition but are determined on a case by case basis.
• Films previously screened publicly in North Carolina will not be eligible for competition, but may be included in special non-competitive screening categories.

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, 2015 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 1, 2017. All the privileges due filmmakers will be specified in this correspondence.
• All filmmakers with a film in competition 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 2017 Festival, an exhibition print or video of the film in proper format (35mm, BetaSP, DigiBeta, DVCam, Mini DV, HDCam, DCP or File (MP4 or MOV (H.264)) must be received by RRIFF no later than March 15, 2017. 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 March 30-April 9, 2017. Entries that are not completed or available for screening must pull their entry prior to March 1, 2017 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, fax 336-724-1112, visit the website at or email:

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Jonathan Napolitano

    Such a supportive team behind this amazing festival. Looking forward to keep sharing new films of mine with this well established film festival!

    April 2017
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    Anna Jones

    RiverRun is top notch! Organized and very professionally run in every way. I thought their Communication with filmmakers was outstanding. They responded to every inquiry within hours not days! Superb hospitality, excellent screening venues, engaging films, and special accommodations for filmmakers. I could not have asked for a better experience. This was my first time to RiverRun but it will certainly not be my last.

    April 2017