The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) kicks off its 13th annual event August 4–9th. This year 235 feature length, documentary and short films will be screened over a six-day period in locations throughout the state. RIIFF is one of 63 Academy Award qualifying Festivals worldwide.
This year's films were selected from a pool of over 3,000 submissions and include films from 57 countries. Among the feature films are: "Another Harvest Moon" (USA) directed by Greg Swartz and starring Ernest Borgnine; "Bitter/Sweet" (Thailand) directed by Jeff Hare starring James Brolin; "Fifty Dead Men Walking," directed by Kari Skogland with Sir Ben Kingley and Jim Sturgess; "Fruit Fly" (USA) directed by H.P. Mendoza; "La Masseria Dellee Allodole" ("The Lark Farm") (Italy), directed by Paolo Taviani; "Prince of Broadway" (USA), directed by Sean Baker; "The Satyr of Springbok Heights" (South Africa) directed by Robert Silke; and "The Vicious Kind" (USA) Directed by Lee Krieger and starring Adam Scott, Alex Frost, Brittany Snow and J.K. Simmons.
Documentaries include "Art & Copy" (USA), directed by Doug Pray; "Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics On Trial" (USA), directed by Jonathan Joiner and Robert Martin; "My Son the Pornographer" (Canada/Czech Republic) directed by Peter Campbell; and "Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story" (USA), directed by Lee Storey.
"It has been a pretty sensational year for us," said RIIFF Executive Director George T. Marshall in a statement. "Entries have been up 22% over last year and have been entered from all over the world. The films submitted this year have run the gamut in themes, styles and filmmaking techniques. If there is anything that stands out it’s both the growing number of entries in the Sci-Fi and Horror genres and the over all quality now that the HD revolution has taken hold."
In addition, the Festival will be presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to actor Ernest Borgnine while William Shatner will receive The Nathanael Greene Humanitarian Award. The festival will salute composer Klaus Badelt (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) with the presentation of the Crystal Image Award at the Opening Night Festivities on August 4th.
For 2009 RIIFF is also introducing a new partner program which links specific film screenings and non-profit organizations. “We have spent months working to create events that will benefit several Rhode Island non-profits that incorporate a film screening, a pre or post party and media exposure," said Adam Short, RIIFF Producing Director. "All of these events will split-the-gate with the non-profit. Our goal is to create a model for non-profit arts and social service groups to work together in a cohesive fashion in which everyone benefits.”
Participants in what RIIFF is calling a “pilot program” are the International Institute of Rhode Island with a screening of “Home Across Lands” directed by John Lavall; the Rhode Island Commission for the Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island College with a screening of “On the Lake: Life and Love in a Distant Place,” directed by David Bettencourt; the Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island, screening “The Lark Farm” (La masseria delle allodole) directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani; and the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation with a special Closing Night program called “Hip Hot and Short."
Finally, the festival will host a series of special programs including two programs featuring the work of local, independent filmmaker Jake Mahaffy, the Rhode Island Film Forum on August 7, and SCRIPTBIZ (August 3), a symposium addressing the ins and outs of screenwriting.
For a complete schedule of events and screenings visit the RIIFF's official website.