It’s that wonderful time of year again; the Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) is back and bringing with it an incredible lineup of films from talent across the globe! If you follow us already, you’ve probably seen something about RIFF whether it’s about Burt Reynolds coming to town for the Smokey and the Bandit anniversary and his new movie, Dog Years (yes, it’s a big deal for us), or even some of the films made by local talent and workshops for aspiring filmmakers. Here, you’ll get THE low-down on all things RIFF coming up including from the jam-packed schedule to special things to be on the lookout for during the event. So get ready to choose your experience, as all series listed all have links for tickets. RIFF also honors our veterans both active and retired, so all veterans both active and retired get free admission to all screening except those featuring Burt Reynolds.
The festival kicks off on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. with a performance by Tommy Wildcat followed by a screening of Mankiller at the DeSoto Theatre. This film tells the story of Wilma Mankiller who, in 1985 became Cherokee Nation’s first woman Principal Chief. Her leadership enabled the Cherokee Nation to become one of the most economically and culturally successful tribes in America.
Friday marks a big day of RIFF, so prepare for a whole day in Rome’s splendid Downtown! Starting the day off at 10 a.m., RIFF begins a screening of TRUE STORIES at DeSoto Theatre, featuring several documentary shorts fromt the nostalgic to the inspiring. At 11 a.m., learn from the best, with a Master Class with Molly Coffee, who has made a name for herself working in the art department of hit series such as The Walking Dead, The Carbonaro Effect, Brockmire, and Atlanta.
At noon, you can choose two paths, one will open your eyes to the African influence on the aesthetic world with Bangaologia: The Science of Style, or take the other path and enjoy some of the domestic narrative with Human Behavior. For those trying to break into the industry, the Indie Film Distribution talk with Peter Spirer is a must; Peter will walk you through the ins and outs on getting your film in the right hands. At 2:30 p.m., one of the big screenings of RIFF, The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle, a story of a young woman who unexpectedly inherits her parents’ antique shop, she creates daring alternative lives—bold women with exciting adventures Sissy explores in secret journals.
At 2:45 p.m., you can catch some International Narrative shorts at Cultural Geography, followed by a screening of Imitation Girl, about a mysterious being that arrives on Earth in the shape of a woman who comes to understand her self and the world around her. At 5 p.m., you can catch another series of International/Domestic Shorts collectively called Box of Chocolates. After there are multiple screenings including, And Then I Go, Grand Unified Theory, a suspensul film called “3”, 6 Dynamic Laws for Success, and finally, some exciting horror shorts in the aptly named Fear Haus.
Saturday is the big day! Cough – Burt Reynolds -cough- is the biggest highlight of the day, showing up for the 40th Anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit, for a Q&A after the movie at the Rome City Auditorium. There will even be a complete replica of Bandit’s Trans-Am and a Coors truck parked outside the auditorium for a one-of-kind selfie spot! The night will end with a grand awards ceremony.
Kicking off Saturday morning with an Intro to the Film Business with David Smith, and there is another master class with Marcus Rosentrater; Floyd County Productions. If you’re in it for the shorts, then be sure to check out Family Film Fun, Foreign Affairs and Salt of the Earth, from domestic narratives to international and Georgia domestic themed shorts, you’re guaranteed to get your fix. As for the full feature screenings, you have quite the selection with: The Giant Killer, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, House of Norway, The Legend of 420, and locally filmed and produced Gangsters and Zombies 1 & 2.
Sunday is bittersweet with the conclusion of RIFF 2017. Starting at 12:45 p.m. with Down Home & Outer Space, a final collection of domestic narrative shorts. You can have another chance at meeting Burt Reynolds at the screening of his new film, Dog Years, in which he stars as himself and he’ll have another Q&A after the show. Then finally, as part of closing night, RIFF will screen Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story, folowed by the closing party for VIP guests.
And there you have it, a massively exciting lineup for this year’s Rome International Film Festival. We hope to see you there!