RiverRun announces 2021 film lineup

Published 3:53 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

‘Dream Horse’ to Open and ‘The Dry’ to Close, Alan Cumming, Lee Grant and Finnerty Steeves to be Honored

WINSTON-SALEM — The 2021 RiverRun International Film Festival will take place May 6-16 and will be a hybrid festival of virtual screenings and safe, outdoor and drive-in screenings. The festival features 134 films representing 24 countries culled from a pool of over 1,500 films. Venues will include Marketplace Drive-In, SECCA, the Kilpatrick Townsend campus on Fourth Street, The Winston Cup Museum, The Ramkat, and Bailey Park in Winston-Salem, with one outdoor screening at RED Cinemas in Greensboro.

Tickets are on sale to members April 8-11 and to the general public on April 12. The complete schedule and all ticketing is available online at riverrunfilm.com.

Honorees this year will include Master of Cinema recipients Alan Cumming and Lee Grant along with Emerging Master recipient Finnerty Steeves. Virtual interviews are being conducted with the award winners for inclusion with their films, and Finnerty Steeves will be present for a screening of her film outdoors at RED Cinemas in Greensboro.

The opening night film is DREAM HORSE starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis. This inspiring story was originally planned for closing night of the 2020 RiverRun International Film Festival so in the course of a year, it has moved from closing night to opening night. Our 2021 closing night film is THE DRY, an Australian thriller starring Eric Bana and based on the global bestseller. In between are a variety of narrative, documentary, and animated films from North Carolina and across the globe.

“If there is one thing we have all learned to do over the last year, it is adapt,” said RiverRun’s Executive Director Rob Davis.  “Even though the festival will look a bit different this year, we could not be more excited to be able to offer this incredible slate of films to our supporters and all lovers of film.  There is truly something for everyone, and we are so grateful for the support that we continue to receive from everyone connected to RiverRun.  We are looking forward to a wonderful festival!”

The festival will also feature a number of free offerings this year, including capacity-controlled Family Night screenings at Bailey Park, Saturday Morning Cartoons available via RiverRun’s Virtual Theater, as well as a virtual version of our annual Pitch Fest competition, which will also be up in the Virtual Theater.  Information about these and all other events available at riverrunfilm.com.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Big names. Big talents. Big films.  RiverRun’s Special Screenings offer audiences a chance to catch an early glimpse of films destined for the multiplex.

OPENING NIGHT

Presented by PNC

DREAM HORSE

Director: Euros Lyn

UK / 2020 / 113 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, this Sundance standout tells the story of a Welsh cleaner and barmaid who decides to breed a racehorse in her small village. As the horse rises through the ranks, Jan (Collette) and the townspeople are pitted against the racing elite in a race for the national championship.

In-Person Screening: MAY 6 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

CLOSING NIGHT

Presented by Kilpatrick Townsend

THE DRY

Director: Robert Connolly

AUSTRALIA/USA / 2020 / 118 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Marketing Partner: Bookmarks

Eric Bana stars in this potboiler, Australian thriller about a police detective who returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound—the unsolved death of a teenage girl. Based on the global bestseller, this film was a huge hit when it was recently released in Australia.

In-Person Screening: MAY 16 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

ANY DAY NOW

Director: Travis Fine

USA / 2012 / 98 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Sponsored by Out At The Movies 

Starring our 2021 Master of Cinema honoree Alan Cumming, Any Day Now is a powerful tale of love, acceptance, and family. When a teenager with Down syndrome is abandoned by his mother, a gay couple (Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt) takes him in and becomes the loving family he’s never had. But when their unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men are forced to fight a biased legal system to save the life of the child they have come to love as their own. Inspired by a true story from the late 1970s, Any Day Now touches on legal and social issues that are as relevant today as they were decades ago.

In-Person Screening: MAY 7 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

BEFORE/DURING/AFTER

Directors: Stephen Kunken & Jack Lewars

USA / 2020 / 83 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Sponsored by Restoration MedSpa

Written by and starring RiverRun’s 2021 Emerging Master honoree Finnerty Steeves (Orange Is the New Black), this sharp-witted dramedy, from our 2020 Festival, studies a middle-aged NYC theatre actress suddenly forced to figure out the kind of person she wants to portray in real life when her seemingly perfect marriage comes to an end after she catches her husband cheating.

In-Person Screening: MAY 14 / 8:30PM / RED CINEMAS GREENSBORO

THE CAPOTE TAPES

Director: Ebs Burnough

USA/UK / 2019 / 98 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Marketing Partner: Bookmarks

Answered Prayers was meant to be Truman Capote’s greatest masterpiece, an epic portrait of New York’s glittering jet-set society. Instead, it sparked his downfall. Through never-before-heard audio archives and interviews conducted by George Plimpton with Capote’s friends and enemies, The Capote Tapes reveals the rise and fall of America’s most iconic gay writer.

In-Person Screening: MAY 15 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17

DOWN AND OUT IN AMERICA

Director: Lee Grant

USA / 1986 / 57 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Marketing Partner: Bookmarks

Directed by 2021 Master of Cinema honoree Lee Grant, Down and Out in America won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 1987. This exploration of homelessness, foreclosures, and food insecurity during the Reagan era recession–from the heartland, where farms in Minnesota are being dismembered by local banks, through to the tent-communities of Los Angeles and welfare hotels of New York–is more pertinent today than ever. Produced by HBO, the film broke ground by being the first cable program to win an Academy Award.

In-Person Screening: MAY 15 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

FINAL SET

Director: Quentin Reynaud

FRANCE / 2020 / 105 MIN. / FRENCH / NARRATIVE

Once described as a young professional tennis prodigy, Thomas never had the career in the game he had hoped for. At 37, he decides to return to the French Open at Roland-Garros, in spite of his declining physical fitness and shattered knee. Although his wife, Eve, and mother, Judith (Kristin Scott Thomas), advise him to give up on his unlikely ambition, Thomas obsessively perseveres. He will have to face his own demons as well as the intense competitive qualifying rounds to reach the tournament and eventually face a young tennis genius who disturbingly reminds him of his younger self.

In-Person Screening: MAY 9 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 10 – MAY 12

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

FOR MADMEN ONLY: THE STORIES OF DEL CLOSE

Director: Heather Ross

USA / 2020 / 87 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

In this hilarious and poignant look at the life of improv impresario Del Close, we follow the comedy trailblazer from his early sideshow act to his influential and contentious rise at The Second City, mentoring such comedy legends as Bill Murray, John Candy, and Tina Fey. The film renders a lively, multi-layered picture of a man and his mission, riding on the edges of genius, despair, creativity, and insanity.

In-Person Screening: MAY 7 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 8 – MAY 10

GOLDENEYE

Director: Martin Campbell

UK/USA / 1995 / 130 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan, AKA Agent 006 (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy, only James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) can save the world from an awesome space weapon that–in one short pulse–could destroy the earth! As Bond squares off against his former compatriot, he also battles Trevelyan’s stunning ally, Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), an assassin who uses pleasure as her ultimate weapon. The film also features this year’s Master of Cinema honoree Alan Cumming in a supporting role!

In-Person Screening: MAY 8 / 8:30PM / THE WINSTON CUP MUSEUM

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE

Director: Martin Provost

FRANCE/BELGIUM / 2020 / 109 MIN. / FRENCH / NARRATIVE

Paulette (Juliette Binoche) and her husband run a prim and proper housekeeping school, training teenage girls to become the perfect housewives. After the sudden death of her husband, Paulette learns that they are on the brink of bankruptcy and must figure out how to save the school while society and household roles transform around them in late 1960s France. How To Be A Good Wife is a humorous and satirical take on a universal story about solidarity and gender equality.

In-Person Screening: MAY 11 / 8:30PM / KILPATRICK, TOWNSEND & STOCKTON

THE LOVE BUG

Director: Robert Stevenson

USA / 1968 / 108 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Race car driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) and his philosophical mechanic, Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), find themselves in possession of a white Volkswagen Beetle that seems to have a mind and spirit of its own. Calling the car Herbie, Jim and Tennessee become the talk of the California racing circuit—much to the displeasure of a sports-car dealer who tries to use his assistant to come between the friends and their car.

In-Person Screening: MAY 7 / 8:30PM / BAILEY PARK – FREE

Family Nights Sponsored by Mast General

Film Sponsored by Salem Smiles & Flow Automotive

MISHA AND THE WOLVES

Director: Sam Hobkinson

BELGIUM/UK / 2021 / 89 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

A young, orphaned girl survives the Holocaust by fleeing her home in search of her parents, escaping Nazis by sticking to the woods and living with wolves. Author Misha Defonseca’s story is an incredible one, and not just because of the wolves. Her memoir took the world by storm, but fallout with her publisher-turned-detective exposes the shocking truth beneath Misha’s deception. A real-life mystery unfolds, with a slate of characters individually revealing pieces of the puzzle in this stranger-than-fiction revelation.

In-Person Screening: MAY 12 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 13 – MAY 15

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

SUMMERTIME

Director: Carlos López Estrada

USA / 2020 / 95 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 25 young Angelenos intersect in this Sundance standout from exciting young filmmaker Carlos López Estrada, director of Blindspotting and this year’s animated Disney smash Raya and the Last Dragon. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.

In-Person Screening: MAY 13 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 14 – MAY 16

RE: VISION INDEPENDENT COMPETITION

Emerging talents mixed with established masters. Representing some of the very best independent films of the year, the six films in this section are eligible for jury prizes and the Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP Audience Award.

A BEAUTIFUL CURSE

Director: Martin Garde Abildgaard

DENMARK / 2021 / 92 MIN. / ENGLISH

In this inventive modern fairy tale, a whole island affected by an unexplainable sleep phenomenon is closed off from the mainland. Photographer Samuel heads there undetected to document the events, whereupon he finds Stella deep in slumber, and his attraction grows. He soon discovers the sleep affliction is more dangerous and personal than expected.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 7 – MAY 9

EVENTS TRANSPIRING BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER A HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME

Director: Ted Stenson

CANADA / 2020 / 75 MIN. / ENGLISH

It’s 1999 and the Middleview Ducks high school basketball team are about to play the most low-stakes game of their lives. As the team prepares for another certain loss, the dramas around the game become more of a focus than the score. Pot smoking, existentialism, radical theatre kid protests, and a dog on the loose all unfold before, during, and after the high school basketball game.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 8 – MAY 10

FIRES IN THE DARK

Director: Dominique Lienhard

FRANCE / 2020 / 94 MIN. / FRENCH

In a small 17th-century village nestled between the sea and the mountains, 15-year-old Alan is suddenly forced to begin supporting his mother and siblings after his father sells himself for two years of indentured servitude in an attempt to keep the family from starving. While stoking the village’s all-important fire during the night, he will learn what it takes to survive and discover the true purpose of the bonfire’s ritualistic guardianship.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 9 – MAY 11

LUDI

Director: Edson Jean

USA / 2021 / 81 MIN. / ENGLISH/SPANISH/HAITIAN

After a half-truth lands her under immense financial pressure, Ludi Alcidor embarks on a frantic scour through Miami’s private caretaking world in an increasingly desperate—and extemporized—attempt to send money to her family in Haiti. The film, an official selection of the SXSW Film Festival, was inspired by the experiences of director Edson Jean’s mother during her first years as an immigrant in Miami.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 10 – MAY 12

MAKE-BELIEVERS

Director: Kenjo McCurtain

JAPAN / 2021 / 100 MIN. / JAPANESE

Masa hires rental actress and aspiring dancer, Kanako, to pose as his fiancée to impress his estranged, terminally ill father. But as his father’s death delays, Masa is forced to confront the spiraling web of lies and to learn to follow his heart.

World Premiere

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 11 – MAY 13

THE RESTORATION

Director: Alonso Llosa

PERU / 2020 / 94 MIN. / SPANISH

The real estate “boom” is making a lot of people rich. But Tato, a 50-year-old, reckless man-child, has lost everything. He moves back in with his eccentric, bedridden mother Rosa, who puts him down every time she gets a chance with the hopes of keeping him inside their decrepit family mansion. Desperate for financial independence, Tato decides to sell the house without his mother’s consent. To make Rosa think she is still living in her old bedroom, Tato places her in a remote, crudely similar space covered in plastic to create the illusion that the house is being restored for its historic value. For how long, and at what cost, will Tato be able to sustain this impossible farce?

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 13 – MAY 15

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Compelling stories told with innovative style. RiverRun helps audiences see the world through the eyes of others by showcasing some of the year’s best real-life stories.  The six films in the Documentary Competition are eligible for jury prizes and the RiverRun Audience Award.

LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD

Director: Jeremy Workman

USA / 2021 / 90 MIN. / ENGLISH

Sponsored by Carolina Classic Fair

In-Person Screening: MAY 14 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17

Lily Topples the World follows 20-year-old sensation Lily Hevesh, the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and the only girl in her field, as she rises as an artist, role model, and young woman. Filmed for over three years across countless cities, the film is a lovely coming-of-age story cloaked within a unique portrait of an artist, a story of how passion and artistry can make dreams come true, and an unlikely American tale of a quiet adopted Asian girl who transforms into a global artistic force with over a billion YouTube views. From RiverRun alum, director Jeremy Workman (The World Before Your Feet – RR ‘18) and from executive producer Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), in her first film in a producing role.

MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY

Director: Paul Michael Angell

UK/USA / 2020 / 96 MIN. / ENGLISH

This timeless documentary adventure recounts the incredible life story of British-born Amazonian cowboy turned U.S. TV star, Stan Brock, who sacrificed everything to bring free healthcare to people in need. At once a heart-warming tribute to the unifying power of volunteerism and an exploration of a perennial outsider’s search for meaning through giving of himself.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 7 – MAY 9

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY

Directors: Lisa Molomot & Jeff Bemiss

USA / 2020 / 80 MIN. / SPANISH & ENGLISH

Two families search for their loved ones who went missing in the vast ranch lands of Brooks County, Texas, the site of more migrant deaths than anywhere else in the country. On their journey, they meet vigilante ranchers, humanitarian activists, Border Patrol search and rescue teams, and others locked in a proxy version of the national immigration debate.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 10 – MAY 12

SAPELO

Director: Nick Brandestini

USA/SWITZERLAND / 2020 / 91 MIN. / ENGLISH

On the Georgia barrier island of Sapelo, two brothers, JerMarkest and Johnathan, are growing up in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people. Their greatest joy is exploring the island like their adoptive mother, Cornelia Walker Bailey, did as a child. As Sapelo’s storyteller and elder matriarch, she works to preserve what remains of this unique community established by her ancestors. Reflecting on the complicated splendor of her youth, Cornelia strives to shepherd her young sons through theirs. At the dawn of adolescence, the brothers inherit her hope, but begin to clash with each other and the wider world.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 11 – MAY 13

TELEVISION EVENT

Director: Jeff Daniels

USA / 2020 / 91 MIN. / ENGLISH

The Kid Stays in the Picture meets The Atomic Cafe in this archive-based documentary that views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it narrowly succeeds in producing America’s most watched, most controversial made-for-TV-movie, The Day After (1983).

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 13 – MAY 15

YOUTH V. GOV

Director: Christi Cooper

USA / 2020 / 107 MIN. / ENGLISH

Youth v. Gov is the story of America’s youngest citizens taking on the world’s most powerful government. Twenty-one courageous youth lead a groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create our climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. If these young people are successful, they’ll not only make history, they’ll change the future.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 14 – MAY 16

FOCUS

Festival favorites too good to miss. RiverRun’s Focus sidebar offers an eclectic mix of films from emerging talents, RiverRun alums, and veteran filmmakers alike.  The films in this section are all eligible for the RiverRun Audience Award.

BLACK CONFLUX

Director: Nicole Dorsey

CANADA / 2020 / 100 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Set in Newfoundland in 1987, Black Conflux is a dreamy account of two young lives on a fateful collision course. Fifteen-year-old Jackie is navigating from vulnerable adolescence to impending adulthood, leading her toward Dennis, a loner kept company by delusional fantasies of adoring women at his beck and call. The film is a narrative expansion of Nicole Dorsey’s short film Dennis, which played RiverRun in 2015.  Nicole will also be involved with RiverRun this year as a member of the Narrative Shorts jury, a category in which her film Ivadelle was awarded Best Narrative Short during our 2010 Festival.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17

LANDLOCKED

Director: Timothy Hall

USA / 2021 / 82 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

After his mother’s death, a man is reunited with his estranged, transgender father as they journey to scatter her ashes off the Georgia coast. Landlocked marks the feature film debut of transgender activist Delia Kropp in the lead role of Briana, and features talented UNCSA alums in several key filmmaking roles, including screenwriter Jonathan Foster, cinematographer Alexander Sablow, and director Timothy Hall.

In-Person Screening: MAY 15 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 16 – MAY 18

THE MACHINERY OF DREAMS

Director: Eric Hurt

USA / 2021 / 94 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Sponsored by Salem Smiles Orthodontics

After her mother is hospitalized due to a car crash, Lily, a girl of eight, goes into a fairy tale told to her by her grandmother in search of a talisman to save her mom.

World Premiere

In-Person Screening: MAY 15 / 8:30PM / BAILEY PARK – FREE

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17 – FREE

THE NEW CORPORATION: THE UNFORTUNATELY NECESSARY SEQUEL

Directors: Jennifer Abbott & Joel Bakan

CANADA / 2020 / 105 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Described by Forbes magazine as the “must-see documentary of the year,” this follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2003 film, The Corporation, reveals how the corporate takeover of society is being justified by the sly rebranding of corporations as socially conscious entities. From gatherings of corporate elites in Davos to climate change and spiraling inequality, the rise of ultra-right leaders, COVID-19, and racial injustice, the film looks at corporations’ devastating power. Countering this is a groundswell of resistance worldwide as people take to the streets in pursuit of justice and the planet’s future.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 11 – MAY 13

ONE MOMENT

Director: Deirdre O’Connor

USA / 2021 / 115 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

Sponsored by Trellis Supportive Care

Featuring the unforgettable Danny Aiello in his final screen performance, One Moment is a humorous, heartwarming story of middle-aged siblings struggling to manage their own lives while also caring for their recently widowed aging father. Welcome to the “Sandwich Generation.”

In-Person Screening: MAY 11 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 12 – MAY 14

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

SKY BLOSSOM: DIARIES OF THE NEXT GREATEST GENERATION

Director: Richard Lui

USA / 2020 / 88 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Sponsored by John C. Larson

Marketing Partner: Bookmarks

Sky Blossom is an Academy Award qualifying film salute to 2020. Filmed over three years, it is a raw, uplifting window into 24.5 million children and millennials stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family members with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college–but also live double lives–quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 12 – MAY 14

THORP

Director: Dennis Donovan

USA / 2021 / 97 MIN. / ENGLISH / NARRATIVE

After fleeing Earth in the 1980s, an eccentric alien returns to his quaint childhood home to look for his best friend Sam. While Thorp may be not of this world, the film considers what it means to be human today with campy humor and a generous helping of retro style. The film hits close to home in many ways, including being able to boast Liz Printz and Andrew Terlizzi, two UNCSA alums, as producers.

In-Person Screening: MAY 10 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 16 – MAY 18

A TINY RIPPLE OF HOPE

Director: Jason Polevoi

USA / 2021 / 96 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Jahmal Cole is the confident and charismatic leader of My Block, My Hood, My City, an organization that brings hope and opportunity to teenagers across Chicago’s segregated South and West Sides. Away from the spotlight of his important work though, Jahmal is in the fight of his life as he battles to keep his home out of foreclosure, his marriage alive, and himself out of harm’s way.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 7 – MAY 9

RIVERRUN ARTS

Art on Film.  Part of our year-round curatorial programming, the RiverRun Arts banner encompasses any film that highlights the importance of art in our world. From the written word to huge exhibitions and events, art plays a vital role in our daily lives, and we want to highlight these incredible artists in the Festival and all year long. This year we are highlighting films that all center on the power of music from classical to jazz to country and the importance it plays in these individual’s lives!

Sponsored by Truist

LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS

Directors: Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider

USA/CUBA / 2020 / 80 MIN. / ENGLISH & SPANISH

Sponsored by Que Pasa

Marketing Partner: Winston-Salem Symphony

Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo—live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together, The Brothers offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.

In-Person Screening: MAY 12 / 8:30PM / THE RAMKAT

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 13 – MAY 15

Ramkat Screening Venue is sponsored by Winston Factory Lofts

CAN YOU HEAR MY VOICE?

Director: Bill Brummel

UK/USA / 2020 / 87 MIN. / ENGLISH

Can You Hear My Voice? chronicles the one-of-a-kind Shout at Cancer UK choir, whose members have all had their voice boxes removed, as they prepare for their most ambitious concert—a sold-out performance at London’s historic Tabernacle theater. The film includes songs popularized by Nina Simone, Tears for Fears, and Louis Armstrong. Along the way, choir members’ cancer stories unfold, revealing their struggles with self-identity, self-doubt, and loss.

In-Person Screening: MAY 14 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 14 – MAY 16

RONNIE’S

Director: Oliver Murray

UK / 2020 / 104 MIN. / ENGLISH

A chronicle of the life of saxophonist Ronnie Scott, from poor, Jewish kid growing up in 1940s East End, London, to the owner of the legendary night club, Ronnie’s, one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world. Glorious clips from performances by jazz greats spanning decades — Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins and many more jazz icons — bring to life this story of a charming, incredibly talented man who secretly wrestled with his own inner demons. Ronnie’s is a joyous, visually stunning film that seeps through your pores, melts into your bloodstream, and will propel you back to a bygone era that is nothing short of an exhilarating and nostalgic ride.

In-Person Screening: MAY 15 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 15 – MAY 17

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

NC STORIES

Home grown stories.  This section features films that focus on the filmmakers and stories in our great state and highlight the tremendous talent in North Carolina.

BETHESDA – A SHELTER’S STORY

Director: Thomas Southerland

USA / 2021 / 69 MIN. / ENGLISH

This immersive documentary by RiverRun alum and Wake Forest University Professor Thom Southerland lovingly profiles The Bethesda Center for the Homeless, which operates a day shelter and emergency night shelter for homeless men and women in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

World Premiere

In-Person Screening: MAY 14 / 8:30PM / BAILEY PARK – FREE

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 16 – MAY 18

Screening sponsored by The Bethesda Center

THE DESIRING

Director: Byron Lemarque

USA / 2020 / 82 MIN. / ENGLISH

Shot in Winston-Salem, this film follows Richard, a typical Southern American who works hard and loves his wife, Claire. However, when he discovers her with another man, instead of feeling betrayed, Richard finds himself increasingly intrigued by the affair. His curiosity triggers conflicting emotions, uprooting his assumptions from the past. As he falls deeper into despair, he wrestles with the resentment he harbors toward his father and begins to yearn for the love he desires.

World Premiere

In-Person Screening: MAY 11 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 12 – MAY 14

LIFE IN THE SACRIFICE ZONE

Director: Chad Nance

USA / 2021 / 88 MIN. / ENGLISH

In his first feature film, Winston-Salem filmmaker Chad Nance highlights an African American community in rural North Carolina that battled systematic racism and one of the world’s largest energy companies. A series of environmental disasters, racist actions by local officials, and mysterious medical issues spurred the community into action. Tired of sacrificing their land and lives to the pollution created by the largest coal-fired electric plant in North Carolina, they join their efforts and voices to force the biggest coal ash cleanup in the history of the U.S.

 

World Premiere

In-Person Screening: MAY 13 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 14 – MAY 16

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

PROPER PRONOUNS

Director: Megan Daniels

USA / 2020 / 65 MIN. / ENGLISH

Sponsored by Brad Moss & Rex Welton in honor of Meg Daniels and OUT at the Movies

Proper Pronouns tells the story of Dawn as she seeks validation in the pulpit and reconciliation in her marriage, problems she did not face when she was Duane. The film chronicles the emotional journey that four transgender ministers and their spouses are taking as they try to redefine their identities and prove to the Southern community that they belong in the pulpit.

In-Person Screening: MAY 8 / 8:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 9 – MAY 11

Screenings at Marketplace Drive-In are sponsored by Parkway Lincoln

THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM

Director: Christopher Zaluski

USA / 2021 / 60 MIN. / ENGLISH

Theirs is the Kingdom follows the rare creation of a contemporary fresco mural inside the sanctuary of a small church in Asheville, NC, examining the intersection of poverty and portraiture. This is a painting not of the rich and powerful, but of people battling homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. From first sketch to final unveiling, the viewer witnesses the difficulties of this ancient artistic technique while also meeting an ensemble cast of rich, complex characters.

World Premiere

In-Person Screening: MAY 9 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 10 – MAY 12

FILMS WITH CLASS

Teaching through film. Films With Class is RiverRun’s most active year-round community outreach program. Its mission is to present films to area students as a vehicle through which to learn. With RiverRun’s strong and consistent reputation, Films With Class has access to a great variety of films and filmmakers and can offer exceptional film-related experiences. Moreover, as film is an important medium through which 21st-century students learn, these opportunities provide students with extraordinary resources in a meaningful and interesting way. Even during the last year dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, RiverRun was able to present films virtually to over 1,300 individuals.

Sponsored by Fader RE

KISS THE GROUND

Directors: Josh & Rebecca Tickell

USA / 2020 / 47 MIN. + 13 MIN. (60. MIN TOTAL) / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY

Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle.

This film is preceded by . . .

DEAR FUTURE ME

Directors: Sarah Klein & Tom Mason

USA / 2020 / 13 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Dear Future Me features both sixth graders writing letters to their future selves and high school seniors opening the letters they wrote six years earlier. The results are surprising, emotional, and heartwarming. Since none of these students have been in school since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students have a unique perspective this year and the letters take on even greater meaning. But even more than reminiscing about their middle school selves, the letters prompt reflections of identity, race, sexuality, and just how much can change in six short years.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 16 – MAY 18

SAVING THE DINOSAUR FISH

Director: Peter Crystal

UK/AZERBAIJAN/USA / 2019 / 53 MIN. + 8 MIN. (61. MIN TOTAL) / ENGLISH/RUSSIAN/AZERBAIJANI / DOCUMENTARY

Rory Moore, a marine biologist and wildlife photographer, is on a mission to save the sturgeon, a prehistoric fish and one of the most critically endangered species on earth, from extinction.

This film is preceded by . . .

KAPAEMAHU

Directors: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, & Joe Wilson

USA / 2020 / 8 MIN. / NIIHAU HAWAIIAN / ANIMATED SHORT

Long ago, four extraordinary individuals brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and imbued four giant boulders with their powers. The stones still stand on what is now Waikiki Beach, but the true story behind them has been hidden—until now. Narrated in an ancient Hawaiian dialect, Kapaemahu brings this powerful legend back to life in vivid animation, seen through the eyes of a curious child.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 11 – MAY 13

SHORTS PROGRAM

This collection of varied short films shows how many great films we get each year for young audiences.  Made up of four short films, this program was curated for elementary-aged students for the RiverRun Films With Class section.

Runtime: 53 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 12 – MAY 14

EDDY’S WORLD

Director: Lyn Goldfarb

USA / 2020 / 19 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Eddy’s World is an intimate portrait and extraordinary story of a 98-year-old working toy inventor whose creativity and curiosity keep him young and healthy. Eddy will fascinate and inspire audiences through this documentary short that brings together his stories of toys and stories of his life in one engaging personal journey.

HOME OF MY MEMORIES

Director: Javier Méndez Lafón

MEXICO/USA / 2020 / 6 MIN. / NO DIALOGUE / ANIMATED SHORT

Using no dialogue, this beautiful, animated short illustrates how generations can connect and live on through shared experiences and memories. In this intimate animation, we witness a woodworking artist grandfather spending precious time with his grandson teaching his skills and imparting his love of the creative process.  All of those teachings come alive in a truly wonderful, magical way.

NAPO

Director: Gustavo Ribeiro

BRAZIL / 2020 / 16 MIN. / NO DIALOGUE / ANIMATED SHORT

In Napo, a stunning animated short without dialogue, we see how art bridges the divide between John’s memory-impaired grandfather and himself. At a loss as to how to reach into the mind of his grandfather, John stumbles into an old album full of photographs and lets the images spark his imagination, and the subsequent drawings he creates in turn reawaken his grandfather’s recollections.

RETURNING HOME

Director: Bhushan Thakkar

USA / 2020 / 12 MIN. / ENGLISH / DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Richie Schley has built a career using the nature that the earth provides us. In Returning Home, observing COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders, Richie takes time to reflect on his experiences in nature while connecting to a deeper understanding of the planet we call home. In his experiences, we can smell the fresh air and feel the thrill as he takes us through stunning landscapes on the back of his bike, often at top speed!

SHORTS BLOCKS

NARRATIVE SHORTS PROGRAM ONE

90 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 7 – MAY 9

BIRDIE

Director: Alexandre Lefebvre

CANADA / 11 MIN.

During his golf game, Marcel finally gathers the courage to invite Joanne, the ninth hole canteen chef, on a date, never imagining his action would create this kind of shockwave. 18 holes. 431 miles. 2 golf bags. 1 reunited love.

BROKEN BIRD

Director: Rachel Harrison Gordon

USA / 10 MIN.

Birdie, a biracial girl raised by her Jewish mom, spends a rare day with her father while preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. She overcomes her doubts, and decides to risk inviting him back into her life. Birdie confronts what independence means as she steps into adulthood on her own terms. Student – NYU Tisch School of the Arts

INHERITANCE

Director: Annalise Lockhart

USA / 13 MIN.

A Black family in rural Vermont attempts to live a life of solitude and cope with the ghosts living on their property.

MADELINE THE CHILD EXORCIST

Director: Kamila Daurenova

USA / 14 MIN.

It is career day at Lakeside Elementary School, and among vets, firefighters, and dancers one child sticks out— Madeline the Exorcist. When a class photo reveals that Toby the guinea pig has red eyes, Madeline must convince the other kids to join her in curing his demonic possession. Student – NYU Tisch School of Arts

THE OTHER MORGAN

Director: Alison Rich

USA / 14 MIN.

When a happy, young exterminator discovers there’s a better version of her out in the world, she begins to question the life she chose for herself.

PAWSEA (OR: THE MELANCHOLY RUMINATIONS OF A SOLITARY FRENCH BULLDOG)

Directors: Tom Gentle & Rupert Clague

UK / 4 MIN.

Rocky certainly has a lot on his mind, questioning his purpose and attempting to fortify himself against existential angst as he searches for meaning. It’s quite a lot for a French Bulldog to master.

THE WASHING MACHINE

Director: Dominik Hartl

AUSTRIA / 24 MIN.

A young couple needs to get rid of their broken washing machine. When they decide to sell it online instead of taking to the dump, an entertaining observational study about prejudice, false pride, and guilty conscience is set in motion. Student – Filmacademy Vienna

NARRATIVE SHORTS PROGRAM TWO

101 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 10 – MAY 12

BIG TOUCH

Director: Christopher Tenzis

USA / 3 MIN.

Big Touch is an Afro-Surrealist story about a giant woman and a tiny man who through the power of touch experience an unexpected transformation. Student – American Film Institute Conservatory

CONEY ISLAND, AUGUST

Director: Thea Brooks

USA / 7 MIN.

A young couple goes on a date to Coney Island. Something is clearly off between them. Student – Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College

DON’T GO TELLIN’ YOUR MOMMA

Directors: Topaz Jones & rubberband.

USA / 34 MIN.

In 1970, a group of Black educators in Chicago developed a flashcard set of the alphabet in order to provide Black-centered teaching materials to a vastly White landscape of textbooks and learning materials. The Black ABCs were born. Now, 50 years later, as artist Topaz Jones debuts his second album, Don’t Go Telling Your Momma is a view into his and America’s Black Identity through 26 individual scenes, each representing a letter and Topaz’s corresponding update to their meanings.

FISH LIKE US

Director: Raphaela Schmid

AUSTRIA / 17 MIN.

As part of an unusual farewell ritual, two siblings end up at a Chinese restaurant. Though the tables are close together, the siblings hardly notice the little dramas taking place all around them. Student – Filmacademy Vienna

HOME MOVIE

Director: Zeke Farrow

USA / 7 MIN.

Quarantine places hapless Zeke in the middle of his aging, eccentric parents’ sudden desire to divorce in the middle of a pandemic. Will filming it all help bring them to their senses?

MUST LOVE PIE

Director: Patrick Clement

USA / 13 MIN.

A lonely man finds a love connection. Student – Columbia University

WHITE EYE

Director: Tomer Shushan

ISRAEL / 20 MIN.

A man finds his stolen bicycle and it now belongs to a stranger. In his attempts to retrieve it, he struggles to remain human.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS PROGRAM ONE

103 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 8 – MAY 10

A BROKEN HOUSE

Director: Jimmy Goldblum

USA/LEBANON / 21 MIN.

When Mohamad Hafez received a single-entry visa to study architecture in the U.S., he realized if he couldn’t return home to Syria, he could make his home here. A skilled architectural model-maker, he spent his years in exile sculpting life-like renditions of his Damascus neighborhood. When the civil war broke out and his parents fled to the U.S. as refugees, Mohamad’s bottled-up frustration erupts on his models.

THE FIELD TRIP

Directors: Mike Attie, Meghan O’Hara & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

USA / 12 MIN.

A group of fifth graders learn what it takes to get ahead in the modern American workplace through a fascinating camp where they learn all it takes to run a city.

LAST MEAL

Directors: Marcus McKenzie & Daniel Principe

AUSTRALIA / 18 MIN.

Capital punishment simmers in a boiling pot of controversy. Amidst the political and religious debate surrounding the issue one thing sets tongues wagging more than the others— what do the condemned eat before their execution?

PANT HOOT

Director: Richard Reens

USA/CANADA/SOUTH AFRICA / 21 MIN.

As the world’s chimpanzee population dwindles in the wild, one man risks everything to care for a group of mistreated animals rescued by Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden Sanctuary in South Africa. Stany Nyandwi, a survivor of the Burundi genocide, overcomes insurmountable odds to become one of the only humans to master the complicated “pant hoot” chimp language.

SOPHIE AND THE BARON

Director: Alexandria Jackson

USA / 31 MIN.

This charming story of an unlikely friendship between iconic photographer Baron Wolman at the end of his prolific career and up-and-coming artist Sophie Kipner at the beginning of hers, takes us on an uplifting journey into an artistic collaboration that transcends eras and mediums. Quirky, fun, and full of life, Sophie and The Baron is a whimsical look at the magic of just saying yes.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS PROGRAM TWO

94 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 11 – MAY 13

ATOMIC CAFE: THE NOISIEST CORNER IN J-TOWN

Directors: Akira Boch & Tadashi Nakamura

USA / 10 MIN.

In the late 1970s, when L.A.’s punk rock scene was exploding, an unlikely family-owned restaurant in Little Tokyo started by Japanese Americans returning from America’s WWII concentration camps became one of its most popular hangouts. That’s when Sansei “Atomic Nancy,” with her take-no-prisoners punk aesthetic, took the café over from her parents and cranked up the jukebox. Infamous for its eclectic clientele—from Japanese American locals to the biggest rock stars of the day— the Atomic Café became an important part of L.A.’s punk rock history.

BUG FARM

Director: Lydia Cornett

USA / 14 MIN.

Four distinct women in Central Florida bond over working with crickets, superworms, and roaches on an insect farm in the small town of LaBelle.

FINDING TYLER

Directors: Chris Brannan & Diana Reichenbach

USA/FRANCE / 20 MIN.

In August of 2003, Tyler Johnson was a prized scholar in theoretical physics. Months later, he was homeless on the island of Corsica, a fugitive wanted by the FBI. For six years, Tyler sent letters to his family, each containing cryptic clues about his condition. Then the letters stopped arriving. Using Tyler’s own words from his journal and interviews with those who knew him best, Finding Tyler explores the core struggle of life as a fugitive.

HAYAT

Director: Rendah Haj

AUSTRALIA / 14 MIN.

Rahma, a single mother of four, encourages her children to maintain a strong sense of family, faith, and cultural identity as she navigates personal difficulties and disconnections.

SNOWY

Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje & Alexander Lewis

USA/UK / 12 MIN.

Snowy, a four-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy, and what would it take?

STRAWBERRY FOREVER

Directors: Jacob Koestler & Michael McDermit

USA / 24 MIN.

Fifty years ago, Tim McDermit fell 40 feet from his college dorm roof. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder that left him unable to speak. Over the past five decades, Tim has struggled with relearning how to communicate all over again, navigating the social stigmas that come with broken speech, and finally letting go of the life that was snatched away from him.

ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM ONE

74 MIN.

Sponsored by Zaloo’s Canoes

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 9 – MAY 11

IZZY’S DEMONS

Director: Greg Garay

USA / 7 MIN.

Izzy is a person who struggles with the decision to reconnect with an old friend. As she gives into her jealousy for her friend’s success, she makes a decision that her subconscious does not let her get away with so easily. Only when she confronts her anxieties can she be released from her subconscious.

MADEMOISELLE PIGEON

Director: Alexandra Myotte

CANADA / 14 MIN.

  1. Private Pepin vowed to write the beautiful Mademoiselle Pigeon a letter daily. He will soon have to use his imagination to keep his promise.Mademoiselle Pigeonis a tragicomic, animated short film reminding us that what the heart wants is not always what it needs.

OUR BED IS GREEN

Director: Maggie Brennan

USA / 7 MIN.

Realm, a virtual reality facility, is quite transparent about the erotic potential of its services. Wall to wall, Realm is lined with tempting previews from its menu of stock experiences. But it also offers something more: with the help of powerful data-mining technology, customers can create virtual facsimiles of real-life places and people. Student – Pratt Institute

SAD BEAUTY

Director: Arjan Brentjes

NETHERLANDS / 10 MIN.

In a heavily polluted world, a young woman mourns the disappearance of animal species. When she falls ill due to a bacterial infection, nature appears to send her a message in her hallucinations.

SOUVENIR

Directors: Cristina Vilches Estella & Paloma Canonica

SPAIN / 14 MIN.

Souvenir is the story of a father and daughter and the extraordinary journey through their memories.

THROUGH THE CYMBALS I WILL WATCH

Directors: Karlo Corona & Lorène Yavo

USA / 7 MIN.

On a barren shore, an individual awakens and begins an arduous journey toward an illusory fate. In dream states, one’s journey has many beginnings and endings. Sometimes though, our journey shows more than just beginnings and endings.

WINDUP

Director: Yibing Jiang

USA / 10 MIN.

A father tries to stay connected with his unconscious daughter through music. He plays a windup music box and hopes she can hear it while fighting with his own emotions to stay strong. Meanwhile, his daughter follows the melody in her dreams and looks for a way back.

THE WINTER

Director: Xin Li

AUSTRALIA/CHINA / 5 MIN.

Walking in a snowy forest, a peasant sees an unusual deer and goes to follow it. The peasant is enamored of the deer and wants even more to catch it. Student – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM TWO

73 MIN.

Sponsored by Zaloo’s Canoes

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 12 – MAY 14

CRUSOE

Director: Shane Acker

USA / 7 MIN.

This sci-fi action comedy follows the adventures of an astronaut who has been stranded on an alien planet.

A FAMILY THAT STEALS DOGS

Director: John C. Kelley

USA / 7 MIN.

Strange experiences and realizations lead a grieving artist to reconsider his identity and beliefs in this meditation on grief, family, and mental illness.

LINES OF EXILE

Director: Eric Patrick

USA / 7 MIN.

Hamid Naficy’s 50 years of drawings of prominent scholars, philosophers, and theorists form a unique index of the evolution of cultural theory over the last decades. In this portrait, Naficy intimately recounts this evolution through his drawings.

MACHI

Director: Prashanti Aswani

UK / 3 MIN.

Growing up with her four siblings in Indonesia back in the 70s, my mother tells me of the years she spent being cared for by Machi, her caretaker at the time. Student – Royal College of Art

THE MECHANICAL DANCER

Director: Jenna Jaillet

USA / 13 MIN.

In a run-down part of town there stands a small theater, owned by an eccentric old man. His spectacle “The Mechanical Dancer” is a sight to behold, although perhaps it has seen better days. We follow him and the strange cast of characters he encounters in the running of his show, and as a series of crimes unravel over three acts, we see how each character’s fate will change after one perilous night.

MIGRANTS

Directors: Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, Lucas Lermytte, & Zoé Devise

FRANCE / 8 MIN.

Two polar bears are driven into exile due to global warming. They will encounter brown bears along their journey, with whom they will try to cohabitate. Student – Pôle 3D Digital & Creative School

NAMOO

Director: Erick Oh

USA / 12 MIN.

Namoo, Korean for “tree,” is a lyrical poem come to life. Inspired by the loss of his grandfather, Oh paints a searing narrative of the life of an artist from beginning to end, full of self-defining moments both great and small, and leading to the man’s surprising conclusion when he comes face to face with his own Tree of Life.

THE QUARANTINE MUSE

Director: Sally Lomidze

USA / 3 MIN.

In this stop-motion animation, a furry stuck-at-home New Yorker makes a bold socially distanced gesture for a front-line nurse next door.

SUMMER YEARS

Director: Camilla Chasin

UK / 4 MIN.

Summer Years follows a teenage girl, Ellie, who is spending a summer day with her friends. However, these are just memories, and Ellie must confront the fear and pain she has from the loss of that time. Student – Arts University of Bournemouth

SUPER GENERIC

Director: Di Lu

USA / 2 MIN.

A character model sheet tries to change himself after being critiqued by an instructor saying that he was “super generic.” Student – Ringling College of Art and Design

A TINY TALE

Directors: Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Maŷlis Mosny, and Zijing Ye

FRANCE / 7 MIN.

A dog gets abandoned on the side of the road. Attached to a streetlight, he stays alone until the day he meets a young astronaut wannabe and a professional cyclist who keeps on trying to beat her highest score. Student – RUBIKA

SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS

Sponsored by Salem Smiles & ABC45

48 MIN.

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 8 – MAY 16 – FREE

BETWEEN THE SHADOWS

Director: Chun Chun Chang

USA / 3 MIN.

A woman is enchanted by a moonbeam and chases it up to the sky.

BEYOND THE LINE

Director: Jinuk Choi

USA/REPUBLIC OF KOREA / 3 MIN.

A wheelchair dreams of one day being fast like a racing car. One night, the wheelchair decides to do its own race in the hospital hallway. Will the wheelchair be able to fulfill his dream tonight? Student – School of Visual Arts

CATGOT

Director: Ho Tsz Wing

HONG KONG / 3 MIN.

This kaleidoscopic abstract film highlights the beauty of the colors, composition, and transformations of the objects in the scene. Student – School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

GOALIE

Director: Maarten Lemmens

USA / 2 MIN.

A foosball table goalkeeper sees all the action happen on the other side of the field. In frustration, he breaks away and tries to show his team and the other team that he is meant for more than just a goalkeeper. But he quickly realizes his position is an extremely vital part of the team. Student – Ringling College of Art and Design

GO FETCH

Director: David Coole

USA / 2 MIN.

A worse-for-wear old tennis ball tries to escape his life as a dog’s chew toy to try something new. Student – Ringling College of Art and Design

HOP ALONG HANG ON

Director: Cobra Collins

CANADA / 4 MIN.

How do you take back a story you didn’t know was yours? How do you move forward while embracing and understanding your past? Follow Rose the rabbit on a journey as she seeks her way back home. A poetic story of reclamation, recovery and reconciliation by Métis spoken word artist Cobra Collins.

THE HOT AIR BALLOON

Director: Justin Meckes

USA / 4 MIN.

Enjoy a hot air balloon ride and discover what it’s like to see the Earth from above.

THE PEAK

Director: Satoshi Takahashi

JAPAN / 5 MIN.

In the middle of the night, Sarah wakes up to go to the bathroom. As she leaves her room, she finds herself alone in the dark hallway and things look very different than they do during the day. This is an adventure story familiar to all of us, to overcome your fear of the dark when nature calls!

THE SOURCE OF THE MOUNTAINS

Directors: Adrien Communier, Camille Di Dio, Benjamin Francois, Pierre Gorichon, Briag Mallat, & Marianne Moisy

FRANCE / 7 MIN.

The Achard-Picchus are festive little creatures. They live a carefree daily life in sync with the mountains. When the mountains come, their oasis rises and they are lifted up into a winter climate. But one day, the mountains stop coming, and the restless Kinko decides to go looking for them. Student – Ecole Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques

SPELLBOUND

Director: Amelia Parker

UK / 3 MIN.

It’s Halloween night, and 13-year-old Blair has just moved into a new neighborhood. She carves a pumpkin that magically comes to life! They go out on a fun adventure filled with tricks and treats. However, her anxiety gets the better of her when it comes to making new friends. Student – Arts University of Bournemouth

THE TEAHOUSE DRAMA

Director: Xiaoying Li

USA/CHINA / 3 MIN.

While seeing an interesting puppetry show in a Chinese tea house, a little boy falls in love with the puppets and wants to play with them himself. Student – Savannah College of Art and Design

TOBI AND THE TURBOBUS

Directors: Verena Fels & Marc Angele

GERMANY / 7 MIN.

You fly with no seat! That’s the rule in the Turbobus. To find a place to sit on the bus is no easy task for a young wolf on his turbo-journey to find real friendship.

THE TRAIN TO QINLING

Director: Shir Baron

USA / 2 MIN.

A traveler gets lost on a train in China with no one else but a panda. She must learn to communicate with him in order to find the adventure she was looking for. Student – Ringling College of Art and Design

LATE NIGHT SHORTS

86 MIN.

In-Person Screening: MAY 8 / 10:30PM / MARKETPLACE DRIVE-IN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 14 – MAY 16

ABBYGAIL WAS HERE

Director: Keaton Smith

USA / 11 MIN.

A young woman is left stranded at an abandoned house in apocalyptic rural America. Isolated for the first time in her life, she searches for a mysterious and valuable object. Or is it a cruel trick?

ALL OF YOU

Director: Shahrzad Davani

USA / 14 MIN.

Frankie, inundated by the notion that she’s somehow incomplete without a romantic partner, follows her friend to a weekend retreat led by a popular Shaman. Her desperation to find “the one” prompts Frankie to realize that the only way to get out of this nightmare is to fight through it on her own.

IDENTITY

Director: Kevin Byrnes

USA / 2 MIN.

The bald guy wanted to steal something from Nigel, and he needed me. He had to know everything about Nigel. He needed to get inside Nigel’s head.

KNOCK

Director: Ricardo J. Varona

USA / 9 MIN.

Late at night, Kim hears a sound in her apartment. She asks her partner to investigate.

LUV U CUZ

Director: Eric Pumphrey

USA / 15 MIN.

Set in a not-too-distant future, two cousins bond over the course of a night on the town, until their relationship is tested in more ways than one.

THE MOTHER

Director: Hope Olaidé Wilson

USA / 8 MIN.

A young woman visits a farmer’s market and finds a lot more than she bargained for in a chance encounter with a local kombucha brewer. Student – City University of New York

SLEEP TIGHT

Director: Lewis Taylor

UK / 8 MIN.

When a wheelchair-bound teen is put to bed by his overly attached father, he complains about personal space. However, when the lights go out, he’ll soon discover that it’s not the bed bugs that bite!

SPACE VAMPS

Director: Cooper Troxell

USA / 6 MIN.

When the Space Vamps discover a sun that allows them to walk in daylight, they rejoice. But like the myth of Icarus, they fly too close to the sun. Student – Columbia University

STAINS

Director: Roger Villarroya

SPAIN / 5 MIN.

A man washes his hands.

SURVIVERS

Director: Carlos Gómez-Trigo

SPAIN / 6 MIN.

Natural selection says that only those who adapt will survive. What if humans have become stupid?

WEREWOLF IN A GUCCI SWEATER

Director: Bradley Wilkinson

USA / 2 MIN.

Meet a werewolf in a Gucci sweater, our new friend in the city! He and his wife are super into dance parties and making friendly dope conversation. Come grab a wine glass of orange juice and let’s sit back and relax.

NORTH CAROLINA SHORTS PROGRAM ONE

Sponsored by Nelson Mullins

105 MIN.

In-Person Screening: MAY 8 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 9 – MAY 11

BECOMING

Director: Alex Morelli

USA / 11 MIN.

As the U.S. ramps up border enforcement during summer 2019, a formerly undocumented activist prepares for her naturalization test with her filmmaker-partner. In impressionistic scenes that span North Carolina and the Arizona borderlands, jingoistic displays of patriotism, and creative acts of revolt, the film playfully interrogates the paradoxes of citizenship. Student – Duke University

FOG LIKELY FARM: AN APPALACHIAN STORY

Directors: Anne Ward & Chip Williams

USA / 28 MIN.

After a difficult divorce, Susie Winters, a young mother with two small daughters, moves from the Piedmont of North Carolina to a run-down, Civil War-era farmhouse in the Appalachian Mountains. This is an Appalachian story of heartache, pain, resilience, grit, beauty, and love.

JUST OVER THE LINE

Director: Adams J. Wood

USA / 11 MIN.

This film tells the story of Daniel Noell, who was arrested for drug trafficking in two adjacent North Carolina jurisdictions. Through interviews with Noell, his public defender, and prosecutors involved in the case, Just Over the Line examines the impact of North Carolina drug laws and the power of elected district attorneys in deciding the fate of individuals and communities.

PINK, WHITE, & BLUE

Director: Ash Malone

USA / 18 MIN.

After years of transitioning in front of a camera, Aydian Dowling discusses how allowing his transition to be visible via YouTube has helped the trans community as a whole grow in pride and allyship. Student – University of North Carolina School of the Arts

SEEDING THE SEA

Directors: Sarah Redmond & Caroline Almy

USA / 4 MIN.

Where fishermen were once able to catch over 100 pounds of fish in one day off the coast of Belize, now they can barely catch a fraction of that. Lowell Godfrey has grown up in Placencia, and now has his own seaweed farm that he hopes will show other fishermen that they can make their livelihood in a sustainable way. Student – Student – University of North Carolina

SHE CARRIES ON

Directors: Issac Fowler & Tim Morris

USA / 17 MIN.

Among the Cherokee people in North Carolina, the cultural tradition of stickball exemplifies “more than a game.” Cherokee women played the game at the turn of the 21st century for several years and reflect on their time playing and what the game means to the past, present, and future of Cherokee people.

TWO WAYS TO THE LEAGUE

Director: Taylor Sharp

USA / 16 MIN.

Two young basketball prospects from North Carolina, Josh Hall and Ty-Shon Alexander, walk different paths, but their ultimate goal is the same: make it to the NBA. This vérité documentary offers an intimate look at the six weeks leading up to the draft, when the fate of their life’s work culminates in a single night.

NORTH CAROLINA SHORTS PROGRAM TWO

Sponsored by Nelson Mullins

78 MIN.

In-Person Screening: MAY 12 / 8:30PM / SECCA LAWN

Virtual Screening Window: MAY 13 – MAY 15

THE BLACK BAPTISM

Director: Stephanie Diane Ford

USA / 20 MIN.

The Black Baptism is a short film about a young woman who awakens imprisoned by a mysterious group. This afro-futurist, psychological thriller explores themes around redemption, finding the courage to face fear, and connecting to the God within using mythological concepts to visualize the Prisoner’s evolution through a fantasy lens.

DEATH. EVERYTHING. NOTHING.

Director: LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant

USA / 6 MIN.

Separated by distance, time, and a pandemic, a daughter wrestles with her mother’s impending death.

FISHERMEN

Director: Daniel Leon

USA / 1 MIN.

Fishermen is an animated, sci-fi, comedic micro short that answers an age-old question: are aliens among us?

IN OUR NATURE

Director: Echo Wilson

USA / 5 MIN.

This animated documentary explores humanity’s relationship with nature through a world of interviewed “animals.” Student – University of North Carolina School of the Arts

INSPACE

Director: Kemari Bryant

USA / 5 MIN.

Inspace is an exploration of Black bodies in white space through the mediums of dance and film. The unconventional film includes performances from four dancers and attempts to portray the filmmaker’s experience growing up in a predominantly white school—and how that experience has shaped who he is today. Student – University of North Carolina School at Greensboro

KINDRED KINGS

Director: Trey Gray

USA / 6 MIN.

Kindred Kings is a poetic visual piece that reminds us that Black men are Kings, and they will be the ones to decide the new narrative for the Black man. Student – University of North Carolina School of the Arts

REGULARS

Director: Emma Kopkowski

USA / 13 MIN.

Jake’s Diner is a 24-hour diner in Greensboro, North Carolina. Over the course of all 24 hours, Regulars gets to know the people that make Jake’s what it is. From regular customers to truck drivers passing through, this documentary shows off the community of the diner. Student – Elon University

SIDEWAYS

Director: Daniel Robert Smith

USA / 12 MIN.

Best friends Kurt and Carter find out that living together may not be as easy as they thought when their competing lifestyles begin to clash. After a huge argument, Carter wakes up to find his gravity has shifted to the wall. He has gone sideways. Student – University of North Carolina School of the Arts

STUFFED

Director: Fer McFarlane

USA / 10 MIN.

Silas comes to terms with his estranged father’s death by finishing his father’s final taxidermy job. Student – University of North Carolina School of the Arts

TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE

Director: Alyce Vest

USA / 6 MIN.

A little girl is excited to discover more about her adoption story. Student – Savannah College of Art and Design

RIVERRUN TICKETS & INFO: For the first time ever, all RiverRun ticketing and virtual film screening will be done online through Elevent. Therefore, ticketing is quite different than in past festival years.

The box office for all pre-festival sales will be through the riverrunfilm.com website’s film schedule or on individual film pages. During the festival, tickets can be purchased through the riverrunfilm.com website as well as at the screening venue beginning one hour before a particular film’s showtime.

This year’s festival will be a hybrid of outdoor, drive-in and virtual screenings and panels. It is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance as many screenings will sell out.  However, day-of tickets may be purchased, if there are any available.

SPONSORS

The sponsors of the 2021 RiverRun International Film Festival help sustain the organization’s mission to foster a greater appreciation of cinema and a deeper understanding of the many people, cultures, and perspectives of our world through regular interaction with great films and filmmakers. Festival sponsors include:

Title Sponsors – National Endowment for the Arts, UNCSA

Presenting Sponsors – Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, City of Winston-Salem, Millennium Fund, MullenLowe Mediahub, Parkway Lincoln, Wake Forest University

Marquee Sponsors – Forsyth County, Kilpatrick Townsend Attorneys at Law, Nelson Mullins, North Carolina Arts Council. PNC, Reynolds America, Inc., Salem Smiles Orthodontics, Visit Winston-Salem

ABOUT RIVERRUN

The RiverRun International Film Festival is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Founded in 1998, RiverRun is a competitive event that annually showcases new films from both established and emerging filmmakers around the world. Each spring, RiverRun screens new narrative, documentary, short, student and animated films, offering both audience and jury prizes in competition categories.