Goshen will be hosting the 17th annual River Bend Film Festival for the second year in a row from April 6 to 8.The three-day festival welcomes filmmakers and film-lovers alike to join in on a series of workshops, panel talks and film viewings.
The film festival was first founded in 2002 by a group of film fanatics from South Bend. For 16 years the festival has brought filmmakers and fans from across the country together. In 2016, the festival was moved to Goshen and broke all previous attendance records, nearly tripling the previous sales. This year’s festival is projected to attract an even larger attendance than ever before.
David and Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall, film festival entertainment coordinators, have over 30 years of experience working in the film and television industry. Bland-Kendall, a previous actress, singer, producer, writer and co-owner of the Kendall Art Gallery has many connections to the industry, which includes many of the guests attending the festival this year.
Unique to this year’s festival guest list is actress Beth Grant who starred in movies “No Country for Old Men,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Donnie Darko,” amongst over 70 other films. In celebration of the 16th anniversary of “Donnie Darko,” the River Bend Film Festival has received special permission to screen the 4K version on the new screen of the Goshen Theater on Friday.
This year’s festival will feature 76 short films, eight feature films, 12 special guests, 36 filmmakers, four workshops, two coffee talks with filmmakers and additional nightly events.
“This year the feature films will include not only films produced in Indiana, but films that have a broader perspective,” Bland-Kendall said. “This year, women in film will have a strong presence. Minority filmmakers and international filmmakers will also be showcased too.”
In addition to global films, Indiana filmmakers will be showcased at the festival as well. Many of the industry guests started out in Goshen, including Goshen College graduate Sarah Elizabeth and Goshen natives Wes Jones, Jordon Hodges, Brody Bernheisel and Matt Litwiller.
The festival will start with an opening party at 5 p.m. on today at the Gateway Cellar Winery and will be free and open to the public. Following the party will be a feature film, a filmmaker and celebrity gathering and a block of short films.
The events on Friday will align with First Fridays and will include an informal Q&A session with a panel at the coffee-talk, in addition to a workshop with screenwriter Wes Jones and a film makeup workshop with Sarah Elizabeth. The rest of the day will consist of three short film blocks, four feature films, and a talk back with Jones.
The festival will conclude at 10 p.m. on Saturday with a Wrap Party for filmmakers, celebrity guests, sponsors and VIP ticket holders at the Goshen Theater.
“There is something for everyone!” Bland-Kendall said. “Not just incredible films that will inspire you or move you, but also talkbacks and workshops with industry leaders.”
There are several different types of tickets available including daily movie passes, a VIP pass and a single block ticket. Tickets will be available for pick up at the Goshen Theater ticket office on Thursday, April 6 at 4 p.m.
There are also a few different opportunities to volunteer for the event. Registration for volunteering is online and will include a free pass and drink ticket after the shift is over.
For a list of additional events that are free and open to the public, as well as to purchase tickets and sign up to volunteer, visit riverbendfilmfest.com