The Student News Site of Georgia Highlands College

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

RIFF’s 20th anniversary: a celebration of film, education and student talent

Anna Crusselle
(Left) Dean of Humanities, Jessica Lindberg, (Middle) Programming Coordinator, April Ingram and (Right) Associate Producer, Katie Weatherford pose for a photo in their 1920s-inspired outfits, leading up to the premiere of Wildcat.


The Rome International Film Festival marks its 20th anniversary by featuring a diverse lineup of films and events this past weekend in downtown Rome. RIFF not only offered a variety of films from around the world but also films directed by students from Georgia.

This milestone year, RIFF consisted of an array of cinematic creations, embracing narrative and documentary features and also several collections of shorts. The festival is a platform where filmmakers, loyal supporters, students, sponsors, patrons and guests come together.

Anna Crusselle
Susan Simpson of the Undisclosed Podcast and Jacinda Davis of TV’s Evil Lives Here and Shattered, discuss season one of their podcasts, “Proof.” Their first season follows the story of how they proved two men, Cain Joshua Storey and Darrell Lee to be innocent after spending 25 years in prison.

Georgia Entertainment News and RIFF presented the “Georgia Unscripted” Roadshow on Thursday, Nov. 2 bringing in speakers like Executive Director of the Georgia Film Academy Scott Votaw and Mayor Sundai Stevenson.

Votaw is at the forefront of a collaboration between the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education.

For the past eight years, the GFA has been on a mission to provide comprehensive, industry-standard workforce training, preparing students to excel in the dynamic world of film and entertainment.

This approach meets workforce demands by blending industry-focused programs into college and technical college curricula.

For example, students have the opportunity to access specialized courses, earn certifications and then seamlessly return to their degree programs with these certifications woven into their educational journey.

“We’ve also created an English language arts class that is the first new English class for high schools in 50 years and it’s in script writing for film, television and theater,” Votaw said.

“It’s a creative writing class that the students are just crazy about in high school. So now we have high school students that are passionate about writing.”

Anna Crusselle
Creative Director, Seth Ingram, Actor and Playwright, Tim Blake Nelson and Ethan Hawke, chat on stage. “The more often you’re in a room where you’re doing something you love to do, good things just happen,” Hawke said.


Saturday was a spotlight day for students, featuring three separate screenings dedicated to student-produced shorts and a compelling documentary. A Stroke of Good Fortune, The Comforts of Home and The Circle of Fire showcased the talent and creativity of emerging filmmakers.

GHC alumnus, Katie Weatherford, won a Sylvia Award for her film called “Murder Party: Offering Unconventional Solutions to Heartbreak” which showcased for the first time. The award was for the audience choice of best short.

The screenings were followed by Q&As with the directors and actors of the film that the audience could participate in.

“My heart is so full. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to make my weird little film and people laughed,” Weatherford said.

Sunday marked the shift for more programming including collections of shorts like Southern Gothic, animated shorts and films from Israel.

The night ended as the Rome Music Collective presented Fleetwood Mac Rumours at the DeSoto Theatre and everyone said their goodbyes at the closing night party at the Six-0-Eight Venue.

RIFF not only showcased the international film community but also provided a platform for local and student talent to shine, making it a festival that brings together Rome and its surrounding academic institutions.

Anna Crusselle
The cast of the feature film, How to Ruin the Holidays, takes the stage after the premiere to answer questions from the audience.
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About the Contributor
Anna Crusselle
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.

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