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Six Mile Post

The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

Six Mile Post

The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

Six Mile Post

November marks RIFF 20th anniversary

Abby Chesnut

The 20th Anniversary of the Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) will take place from Nov. 2-5 in downtown Rome. The festival was founded two decades ago, with current executive director Seth Ingram taking the helm in 2015.

Headlining guests will tentatively include Ethan Hawke of such films as “Training Day,” “Dead Poet’s Society” and “Reality Bites,” and his daughter, Maya Hawke, most recently of “Wildcat,” “Asteroid City” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

The opening night will shine a spotlight on Georgia’s independent filmmaking talent, presenting two feature films; “How to Ruin The Holidays,” written by Kevin Gillese and directed by Arlen Konopaki at 6:45 P.M. and “You’re Killing Me,” written by Walker Hareand Brad Martocello and directed by Beth Hanna and Jerren Lauder.

“How to Ruin the Holidays” notably stars Amber Nash, known for her role as the voice of Pam Poovy on the TV series “Archer,” and Rodney Chin, a stand-up comedian.

“You’re Killing Me,” which is currently available on Showtime, features Anne Heche in her last film and included the contributions of seven GHC students, as well as being filmed entirely in Rome.

One standout film that will be played on is “Wonderfully Made: LGBTQ+R(eligion),” created by Israeli filmmaker Yuval David, who now resides in the US.

This LGBTQ-focused production explores the intersection of sexual orientation and religion, examining its impact across various religious denominations such as Judaism, Protestantism and Catholicism.

Additionally, RIFF boasts an international shorts block featuring a selection of films from around the world.

Highlights to anticipate this year include a student shorts block that will screen at 10:00 P.M. on Saturday, Nov. 4. at the DeSoto Theatre showcasing student films from across the country. Additionally, there will be another student film block at 12:00 p.m.

The Georgia student shorts will feature films from students across Georgia, including those from West Georgia and North Georgia.

This year’s festival includes a 40th-anniversary screening of “The Outsiders,” featuring a director’s cut not seen in theaters, provided by Warner Brothers, and plans to feature a special guest for this event.

There will be a focus on Flannery O’Connor and the film “Wildcat,” with hopes of hosting special guests.

“When we saw that there was a film about Flannery O’Connor, we just knew that it was a perfect fit for our audience to highlight her legacy,” division chair of Humanities, Seth Ingram said.

The Flannery O’Connor award for storytelling is a distinguished accolade presented at RIFF. Past recipients include Billy Bob Thornton.

RIFF aims to showcase films that are not commonly seen by general audiences.

“There are great films that you don’t see everywhere and then a curated list of films that we try to put together for the audience that supports us,” Ingram said.

The festival’s jury is comprised of industry professionals, including actors, producers, writers, educators and more, who diligently assess the competing films and engage in discussions to determine the award recipients.

Notable actors among the jurors include Ethan Embry, known for his roles in “A Willing Grace,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Empire Records,” and “Vegas Vacation,” his wife Sunny Mabry of “Snakes on a Plane” and “Hillbilly Elegy” and French Stewart from “Third Rock from the Sun.”

The effort to enhance the film industry’s presence throughout Georgia is a key focus, highlighted by the Georgia Entertainment Road Show, a collaborative initiative with RIFF.

The goal is to demonstrate Rome’s potential for developing a film commission to explore potential incentives that the city could implement to attract more film production.

Beyond Atlanta’s 35-mile filming zone, which requires offering crew hotel accommodations or higher daily per diems, local communities have established incentive programs to alleviate these expenses.

The event seeks to engage local politicians, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and other stakeholders to gain insights from successful community models and promote educational training within the creative economy, encompassing film, music, gaming, and related industries. A lineup of speakers will address these topics at the Georgia Entertainment Road Show at 3:30 P.M. on November 2 which will be immediately followed by a reception.

“One of my favorite parts is to see all of those relationships start. I see my students and other filmmakers go on to collaborate together, so that’s a very rewarding part for me about this whole thing,” Ingram said.

Beyond screening the films, various awards are up for grabs, including best narrative feature, best documentary feature, international short awards and more.

The RIFF schedule of events and more information on awards can be found at RIFFGa.com.

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About the Contributors
Anna Crusselle, Managing Editor
Anna Crusselle serves as the Managing Editor of the Six Mile Post. Her academic focus lies in journalism, and she possesses a deep passion for writing. Anna's writing portfolio predominantly comprises features and news articles, although she approaches any genre of storytelling with enthusiasm. During her leisure hours, she engages in various hobbies, including contributing to her personal blog, playing the piano and participating in the church choir as a singer. Her dedication to her studies reflects her aspirations of pursuing a career in investigative journalism. In addition to her editorial role, she also holds the position of secretary in her family's land surveying business.
Abby Chesnut, Online/Social Media/& Visual Arts Editor
Abby Chesnut (She/They) majors in Business Administration and transferred to Kennesaw State University for marketing. A creative mind with a love of animals, she has over 9 years of blogging and social media experience. You can find Abby’s blogs, The Chesnut Mutts and Healing Whiskers on their websites.  

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