RiverRun Film Festival 2024: Schedule, Locations, Tickets & More

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River Run 2024 promotional graphic.
Image credit: River Run International Film Festival.

As the City of Arts & Innovation, Winston-Salem is the proud home of the RiverRun International Film Festival, a 10-day event that will celebrate 26 years, as one of the premier film festivals in the Southeast.

This year’s RiverRun is set to take place April 18-27, 2024. Tickets for individual films will go on sale April 5. Festival passes are now on sale at riverrunfilm.com/festival-passes.

The Festival will include a combination of virtual at-home viewing and in-person screenings. See FAQ on The RiverRun FAQ website for more info about virtual viewing.

Founded in 1998, the RiverRun Film Festival got its name from the French Broad River near Brevard, North Carolina, where the event was originally held. The Festival moved to Winston-Salem in 2003.

The 2024 Film Festival screening venues during the event include the following Winston-Salem locations: Crossnore Communities for Children, Hanesbrands Theatre, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Marketplace Cinemas, Reynolds Place Theatre, and UNCSA in Winston-Salem, and RED Cinemas in Greensboro.

RiverRun Film Festival Insider Tips

We here at MyWinston-Salem.com are excited to have access to some behind-the-scenes info on the Festival to share with our readers!

RiverRun Giveaway

As a sponsor and partner of the RiverRun film festival, we are giving away ticket packages to our valued readers. We have four sets of four film vouchers and two Closing Night Gala tickets. Congrats to our four lucky winners from last year, who received two film and gala festival tickets each. See our Facebook and Instagram pages for details to enter.

  1. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram
  2. Like and comment on our Instagram giveaway post.
A couple perusing the RiverRun brochure.

Tickets On Sale April 5!

The lineup for the 26th annual RiverRun International Festival 2024 will be announced on April 2 and this years festival will feature a record number of films! Members will have until April 4, to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public on April 5.

How To Plan For RiverRun

The list of films is a lot to sort through, so consider using the website’s tabs to search by the date you can attend and/or your favorite genres. RiverRun staff encourages festival-goers to be a little adventurous and get outside of their comfort zones: “Be prepared to take risks. Find something in a film’s description that looks interesting to you. See something with subtitles.”

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, buy your tickets early! Many sell out in advance, including the virtual viewing screenings. You can get a package for multiple films or purchase individual tickets under each film’s listing on the RiverRun website.

Where Can I Buy Tickets & How Much Do They Cost?

Keep in mind that tickets vary in price. Depending on the film, prices range from free to $6 for weekday matinees (weekdays before 5 pm), student tickets at $10, regular screenings for $12, and virtual screenings for $14. So plan your budget accordingly for this once-a-year opportunity. You can also buy a sampler of 10 films tickets for $108 ($120 value) or a 6-film mini-sampler for $50 ($60 value). Festival Passes are on sale now at riverrunfilm.com/festival-passes.

Volunteers Make The Festival Go ‘Round

Volunteering for RiverRun Festival is a unique and fun experience. Join their dedicated group in supporting independent cinema from around the world. Meet people and get great perks!

They are now accepting applications for RiverRun 2024 taking place April 18-27 at venues throughout Winston-Salem and in Greensboro at RED Cinemas. Apply HERE.

Oscar-Qualifying Festival For Documentary Shorts

In 2015, RiverRun was accredited as a qualifying festival for the Oscars® in the category of Animated Shorts in addition to their initial accreditation for their Documentary Shorts category. This acknowledgment by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences puts our Festival into a new league of excellence we can all be proud of.

Honoring Industry Legends

RiverRun will honor industry legends Kate Amend, Adrienne Barbeau, and Constance Towers Gavin. All three will attend the Festival and receive Master of Cinema Awards. Robert Schwartzman will join them and receive the Emerging Master of Cinema Award.

Opening Weekend

RiverRun Opening Night is the first Thursday night. This year RiverRun offers two opening night film options – a narrative film and a documentary.

The opening night films are always a sellout and a surefire way to ensure you jump into this local event with a bang! 

Thelma pointing out something to her grandson
June Squibb and Fred Hechinger appear in Thelma by Josh Margolin, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Bolen.


This year’s opening night narrative film is Thelma, fresh from its premiere at The Sundance Film Festival. It is a wonderful take on action films with a 93-year-old grandmother as an unlikely action hero in a clever comedy caper. Thelma gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her. In-person screenings will be held April 18, 7pm, and April 22, 2pm at the Hanesbrand Theatre. This film is screening in person only.

Mad About The Boy

Opening night’s documentary is Mad About the Boy. The film showcases Noel Coward’s vast talent and genius, all told through his own words. This exploration of Coward’s prolific career features credits across the stage, screen, and music, including Brief EncounterBlithe Spirit, and Private Lives. In-person screenings will be April 18, 7:30pm, Reynolds Place Theatre and April 24, 5:30pm, at RED Cinemas in Greensboro.

Centerpiece Screening

Merchant Ivory

Merchant Ivory is the first definitive documentary to lend new and compelling perspectives on the partnership, both professional and personal, of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and their primary associates, writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and composer Richard Robbins. Footage from more than 50 interviews, clips, and archival material gives voice to the family of actors and technicians who helped define Merchant Ivory’s Academy Award-winning work. In-person screening is April 24, 8pm, Hanesbrand Theatre. This film is screening in-person only.

Closing Night Film

Mr Blake At Your Service

The closing night film, Mr Blake at Your Service, stars John Malkovich as a widowed British industrialist mistaken for the new butler at the French chateau where he met his late wife to rekindle fond memories. Deciding to stay, whatever the circumstances, he realizes new memories and family can often be found in the most unexpected places. French screen legend Fanny Ardant co-stars. In-person screenings are April 25, 8pm, RED Cinemas in Greensboro, and April 27, 7:30pm, UNCSA Main Theatre. This film is screening in-person only.

Spectacular Lineup

With many films to choose from, there is something for everyone!

Family Day is another must-do featuring Saturday Morning Cartoons, a free screening of new animated shorts on both Saturday mornings of the Festival. There will also be an outdoor screening of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Puffin Rock And The New Friends, a new animated film from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Other Films

Other films to be shown include the moving Bau: Artist At War, which features Emile Hirsch as Joseph Bau, whose wedding to his wife, Rebecca, took place in the Plaszow concentration camp during World War II. Wildcat, from director Ethan Hawke, stars his daughter, Maya, as writer Flannery O’Connor and Laura Linney as her mother. Shari And Lamp Chop is a fantastic documentary following the ups and downs of Shari Lewis, the trailblazing woman who forever changed the face of children’s television. Willie And Me has a German housewife on a road trip too Las Vegas for Willie Nelson’s last concert and features the legendary country singer as himself and a character.

Visit RiverRun’s Website to learn more about the great film and event lineup. The festival will feature screening of 197 selections that represent 50 countries, culled from a pool of nearly 2000 submitted films.

Meet The Filmmakers

One of the great aspects of the Festival is the variety of directors, actors, and film industry folks who come to Winston-Salem to represent their films, offer Q&A sessions following the screenings of their films, discussion panels (often free), and parties. Normally, you can expect more than 100 filmmakers and industry guests to be in attendance.

Does “Sold Out” Really Mean Sold Out?

Maybe. Even if advance tickets for a film are “sold out,” there’s a good chance you can still get in if you get there 45 minutes early and get your name on the Wait List. Fifteen minutes before showtime, any empty seats are counted and sold to those on the Wait List. This also means that if you have bought tickets, be sure to be there and in your seat at least 15 minutes before the start time of your chosen movie, or you may be out of luck (or out of a seat, literally).

What is your favorite part of RiverRun? Let us know in the comments!

Next Up: Merlefest!

The 2024 MerleFest lineup consists of more than 100 artists performing across 13 stages, including Old Crow Medicine Show, followed by the Turnpike Troubadours, the blues-rock duo, The Teskey Brothers, and the recently reunited bluegrass sensation Nickel Creek. MerleFest favorites Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and The Earls of Leicester are also set to appear along with many others.

In addition to world-class music, the Festival offers a large children’s activities area, called “Little Pickers Family Area,” a student showcase for children, “Pickin’ Place” for any musician to join in and jam, the Songwriters Coffeehouse, a Nature Walk, crafters, and over 70 vendors to shop from. Camping and RV areas are available at nearby River’s Edge Campground and at the YMCA for MerleFest ticket holders and volunteers.

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