Rome hosts 15th International Film Festival

Alana George, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

this feels like a scene from a shakespeare play
Executive and creative director Seth Ingram (holding the microphone) addresses the crowd at a previous RIFF. Photos courtesy of Seth Ingram

The 15th annual Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) starts today, according to RIFF’s website.

The festival will run through Nov. 4. It will showcase a total of 92 features and short films at the historic DeSoto Theatre and the Rome City Auditorium.

According to the website, “RIFF welcomes films and filmmakers from around the globe to share the art of independent film with regional audiences, to entertain and enlighten festival attendees, to provide filmmakers the opportunity for professional networking and development, and to encourage cultural tourism and film industry development in Rome, Georgia and the surrounding area.”

Seth Ingram has been the executive and creative director of RIFF for the past four years. He is hopeful that this year’s festival will be better than ever.

“We really raised the profile, with the film industry in Georgia being what it is,” Ingram said.

As well as film showings, there will be many workshops offered for aspiring filmmakers, including voice acting and animal wrangling and training. A festival attendee can buy a day pass to get into all of the screenings and workshops on a particular day.

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RIFF attendees enjoy some beverages during the festivities. Visitors can pay for a day pass and get access to all of the screenings and workshops being offered on a particular day. RIFF also offers a student scholars program for students to attend all of the sessions for free.

“We have six really interesting workshops planned this year, and very prominent people in the industry teaching them,” Ingram said.

For students who do not want to spend up to $50 for a day pass, there is hope: the festival loves having students.

“We have a student scholars program that any student under 21 can apply for and get into everything for free, except for the parties,” Ingram said.

There is an application for the program on the festival’s website,

For aspiring filmmakers wanting to submit a film to the festival, Ingram offered some advice about the submission process.

“I would encourage the filmmakers to always include a cover letter when you submit to any film festival,” Ingram said. “No one wants a blind submission.”

Ingram compared the submission process to a job interview; if an applicant could reach out to the submission board beforehand and introduce themselves, they would greatly increase their chances of being entered into the festival.

“You want to represent yourself well,” Ingram said. “You don’t want to just throw your work out there.”

Ingram also encouraged filmmakers to keep films short, even though it may be hard to cut down work, especially if it is a “passion project” of sorts.

“The shorter your work is, the easier it is to fit into a schedule,” Ingram said.

Ingram wants Berry students to attend the festival, and even though the student scholar application is closed for this year, the day pass for Sunday is $25.

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