RiverRun International Film Festival premiere last night

16/04/2010 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment


After 12 years, the RiverRun International Film Festival has some traditions, and at least two were rolled out at its premiere last night at the Stevens Center.

First, Peggy Joines, the chairwoman of the board of directors, offered her conversation starter for this year’s festival: If you could be dropped into the middle of a scene in a movie, what would it be?

Second, a musical trio -singer Mary Siebert, actor Carlos Nieto and guitarist Peter Wilbur– performed an original, tongue-in-cheek “Turn Off Your Cell Phones and Beepers” song.

Moviegoers laughed, switched off their phones, and settled back to watch the first film of this year’s festival, The Extra Man, starring Kevin Klein and John C. Reilly.

Andrew Rodgers, the festival director, said that about 400 tickets had been sold in advance for the opening-night film, The Extra Man. With last-minute walk-ups, he estimated that between 500 and 600 people attended the screening.

Dale Pollock, the former dean and currently a professor at the School of Filmmaking at the UNC School of the Arts, said he was impressed with the turnout.

“I’m really proud of what they’re doing,” said Pollock, who helped bring RiverRun to Winston-Salem back in 2003 but is no longer involved in running the festival. “To see that kind of crowd at the Stevens Center on a Thursday night … it’s very encouraging.”

By comparison, he said that when Films on Fourth, an independent film series that ended three years ago, was at the Stevens Center, the crowds on a Thursday night would sometimes be closer to 50.

“This is what we dreamed of,” Pollock said of the turnout.

Several movies playing in smaller theaters during the festival have already sold out, Rodgers said, including one of the screenings of the documentary Last Train Home and another screening of The Extra Man.

The weather was unseasonably warm and clear. “You want it to be nice, but not too nice,” Rodgers said with a laugh. “You want drizzle, maybe, but not a downpour.”

Several filmmakers were in attendance for opening night, including Rob Stefaniuk, whose rock ‘n’ roll vampire comedy Suck is part of the festival’s Late Night sidebar. This is the sixth film festival Stefaniuk has attended with his movie, which has taken him from Toronto to Taiwan so far.

“Audiences have been very receptive,” he said. He saw The Extra Man last night and said afterward, “I thought it was awesome.”

In addition to Peggy Joines, other notables spoke before the screening: Rodgers, Mayor Allen Joines and UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. Mexican Consul General Carlos Flores Vizcarra came from Raleigh to honor the festival’s six-film “Spotlight on Mexican Cinema.”

Genevieve Moore, the assistant manager of Aperture Cinema on Fourth Street, said she was looking forward to the new theater’s participation as a venue for RiverRun films. “All of our focus is on supporting the hopeful mobs,” she said. “We’re excited.”

Sourced from: journalnow.com

Entry filed under: DOCUMENTALS, EXHIBITIONS, FILM FESTIVALS, LATIN AMERICAN FILM, RIVER RUN FILM FEST, SHORTFILMS. Tags: , , , .

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