Ridgway Independent Film Festival This Weekend | Culture & Leisure


The Ridgway Creative District and Ridgway Chautauqua Society

will host the seventh annual Ridgway Independent Film Festival (RIFF) this weekend. The Friday and Saturday schedule includes 27 short films that will be screened at the historic Sherbino Theater from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. each evening and a $ 10 donation is encouraged for entry.

Ridgway residents Diedra Silbert and John Clark helped launch the festival in 2014. Silbert is the Town of Ridgway’s initiatives facilitator, while Clark is the town’s mayor.

“We were looking for different types of creative events that could stimulate the creativity of our own community, as well as bring creativity from elsewhere, and many of us loved cinema. We thought we could do it with a small group in a small town and make it grow over time, which it does, ”said Silbert.

The Film Festival is part of the Ridgway Creative District, a state-designated Creative District since 2013. Clark, who has lived in Ridgway for over 40 years, is incredibly proud of the neighborhood and his accomplishments with events like the movie.

“The Creative District has really given Ridgway a whole new identity that it never had before. It’s always been a kind of sleepy little ranch community. To get the designation and realize how many of our residents are involved in a sort of creative effort or another was really rewarding. The film festival was something else that we thought fit the whole idea of ​​being an artistic community, and it just blossomed, ” Clark said.

RIFF is a short film festival, and all entries must be less than 20 minutes, he explained. Films are submitted via the Film Freeway online platform. The platform allows filmmakers around the world to submit their work and connect with festivals. Other notable festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, and Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, use Film Freeway to receive submissions.

Since the organizers of RIFF discovered Film Freeway after the festival’s first year, the festival has received applications from all over the world.

“This film festival has showcased an incredible variety of short films that we probably wouldn’t see here. It encourages emerging filmmakers to share their work here and connects us to places and people around the world,” said Silbert .

In addition to this international resource, the festival always makes sure to showcase local talents. Two of the filmmakers accepted at the festival are locals. The last movie to air on Saturday night is “Postman Jim”, about Jim Looney, Telluride’s beloved postman.

The 2021 jury reflects the notion of keeping a local touch during the festival. Four of the five selected judges live near Norwood or Ridgway.

“This year and last we’ve involved filmmakers as jurors, connecting some of the local and regional talent that we have here to our creative district and the festival,” explained Silbert.

The panel features an impressive resume and includes film producer Michael Stipe, who has worked on the popular films “Being John Malkovich”, “In El Septimo Dia” and “Velvet Goldmine”. Taylor Rees, who lives near Ridgway, will also be on the panel. Rees is a photojournalist, environmentalist, producer, filmmaker and featured speaker for TEDx.

Each evening, the festival will have a filmmaker in person for a question-and-answer session following their respective screening, Clark said. In the past, the festival has hosted video-conferencing Q&A with filmmakers who were unable to attend the event.

“We spoke with filmmakers from all over the world, from Iran to South Africa,” Clark added.

This year, there won’t be any video calls with international filmmakers, but instead Clark has asked six creators to send in a backing piece with their film. The pieces last two to three minutes and allow the filmmaker to share his creation and to speak personally to the audience. For this year in particular, Silbert can’t wait to watch these short clips.

“Personally, I always love the interaction with the filmmakers and the special extra pieces they often send us if they can’t reach us, explaining more how the film was made or more about who they are and what they are about. they work, ”says Silbert.

Two different award series are presented during the film festival. Five cash prizes of $ 400 each have already been awarded by jurors. On both nights there will be a People’s Choice Award of $ 400 for the movie with the most votes from the audience. According to Silbert, 30 local businesses donated the festival prizes.

The films are separated into lighter and darker themes and are strategically distributed “to keep a good balance throughout the evening,” said Silbert.

In 2020, the film festival was live, which was extremely difficult, Clark explained. This year, he can’t wait to be back in person.

“If you’ve never been to a show at the Sherbino, you have to come. We call it the Ridgway Lounge,” he said.

To learn more about the festival, visit ridgwaycreativedistrict.com/film-fest.


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