Cowboy doc "Bullrider" will open the 2006 RiverRun International Film Festival March 16th in Winston-Salem, NC, featuring a line up of 25 feature films and 44 shorts from 22 countries. The feature, directed by Josh Aronson ("Sound and Fury") follows the story of men who ride the professional bull riders circuit. The film is described in a festival release as an "action-packed, nail-biting documentary that takes audiences into the world of 'extreme' cowboys who live life on the edge."
The festival's centerpiece premiere is director Liz Friedlander's "Take the Lead," starring Antonio Banderas as a New York dance instructor who volunteers his time to teach dance classes for a group of inner city high school children. The centerpiece event, taking place March 17th, will continue following the screening with a Latin music dance party called "Salsa Roja Picosa." Along with the centerpiece, the festival will screen ten narrative as well as ten docs in its competition categories as well as other special screenings and a slate of films in its "Docs on the Side" section, screening out of competition.
Oscar-nominated actor Ned Beatty will be honored this year at RiverRun with the event's "Master of Cinema Award," including a tribute on March 18th, with an onstage discussion with Beatty and highlights from his forty-year career.
Closing the festival March 19th is a screening of the classic 1926 silent film "The Black Pirate," starring Douglas Fairbanks. The event will include a live accompaniment from the renowned Alloy Orchestra, a three-man ensemble that performs a live score to silent films.
"In a very short time, filmmakers have come to trust RiverRun as a place where they can find thoughtful and appreciative audiences," said festival director Andrew Rodgers in a statement. "This year that growing reputation as a filmmaker-friendly festival led to more film submissions than ever before, enabling us to program a tremendous lineup of films from around the world."
[For more information and a full line up, visit the festival's website.]