Last updated: June 01. 2013 1:26PM - 389 Views
Anthony Gonzalez
Staff Writer

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The 15th annual RiverRun International Film Festival will be held from April 12-17 in Winston-Salem and promises to bring 66 feature-length films and 77 shorts from 35 countries.

“I’m going,” said Richard Barton of State Road. “I got the perfect date, too: my wife. Nothing like a 1 p.m. showing of a movie we’ve decided to see called ‘Susie’s Hope,’ since we’re pet lovers. You do know that they shot that film in Winston-Salem, right? When the movie is over we might catch another one or enjoy an early dinner.”

The anticipated week-long extravaganza will kick off with two opening-night films: Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves,” a retelling of the “Snow White” tale set in the world of Spanish bullfighters, and Tom Donahue’s “Casting By,” a documentary about Hollywood casting directors.

An opening night gala will be held this Friday at 9 p.m. at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, giving enthusiasts an opportunity to get up close with filmmakers in the industry. Tickets are only $10.

But those who have been to the festival before know that its not about film industry movers and shakers, but about scoring tickets early. Organizers say certain films sell out quickly, such as the opening night films, films with local connections, and films that feature notable celebrities.

According to the latest information from organizers, “At Any Price” on April 21, “It’s a Disaster” on April 13, “The Kings of Summer” on April 18, both showings of “Susie’s Hope” on April 13 and 16, and both showings of “Twenty Feet” from Stardom on April 13 and 18 are sold out. Guests may use the Wait List line at each theater to snatch up unclaimed tickets.

One local connection in this year’s festival will include “Smiling Through The Apocolypse; Esquire in the 60’s,” a film directed by Thomas Hayes who tells the story of how his father, Elkin born editor Harold T.P. Hayes, transformed Esquire Magazine into a stable of fearless, brash, and irreverent journalism in the turbulent 1960s. Harold Hayes father was Pastor James Madison Hayes of the First Baptist Church in Elkin in the 20’s, according to church officials.

Other notables are connected to Mount Airy; Dylan Gravley, assistant to the producers for “Susie’s Hope;” Summer Shelton, associate producer, post production supervisor for “At Any Price,” production manager for “The Discovers;” Trevor Metscher, 2nd assistant camera for “Susie’s Hope;” and Zach Seivers, post production sound mixer for “Susie’s Hope.”

“We’re trying our best to add another showing of ‘Susie’s Hope,’ understanding the local interest in it,” said Kristi Marion, publicist for RiverRun.

RiverRun will open by honoring “Mud” director Jeff Nichols with its Emerging Master Award following a screening of the film on opening night.

The festival’s closing-night film will be At Any Price, the father-son drama starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, directed by Winston-Salem native Ramin Bahrani.

“Since its inception, RiverRun has grown into a well-regarded regional film festival with a reputation for showcasing great films and providing amazing hospitality,” RiverRun executive director Andrew Rodgers said. “This year, we’ve once again curated a strong lineup of films from around the world representing the very best emerging talents and established veterans of the film-making community.”

The festival’s lineup also includes a spotlight on Ingmar Bergman, with a four-film retrospective of the Swedish director’s work; a new sidebar section called “From the Archives,” screening films by Alfred Hitchcock, Terry Zwigoff and Orson Welles; and “Altered States: New Directions in American Cinema.”

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.

According to it’s website, the annual spring event screens a wide variety of feature-length and short films from all genres, and also presents a broad range of special events, including high-profile regional premieres of significant films, celebrity tributes, family matinees and classic retrospectives as well as a mixture of panel discussions and parties.

In 2012, the Festival presented more than 140 films from 25 countries, bringing close to 100 filmmakers and other industry professionals to Winston-Salem from around the world.

RiverRun issued more than 15,500 tickets in 2012 and expects to exceed the amount in 2013. They’re pushing for well over 16,000.

RiverRun organizers say there are two different ways to buy tickets for RiverRun. The first is to buy individual tickets for each film or event. Tickets for most festival screenings are $10, while weekday matinees before 5 p.m. cost $5. Unless otherwise noted, all films and events are $10. Students who present a valid student ID and purchase tickets in person will receive a discount of $2 off all film tickets with the exception of matinees.

Attendees are strongly advised to purchase all tickets in advance.

A complete lineup and ticket information can be found at www.riverrunfilm.com.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or via email at agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

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