The 18th River’s Edge International Film Festival (REIFF), one of Kentucky’s longest-running film festivals, returns to Paducah this week to spotlight approximately 25 independent films by filmmakers from Western Kentucky, the country and of the whole world.
The four-day festival kicks off Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m. at the Maiden Alley Cinema (MAC) with a regional showcase featuring four films created in western Kentucky and southern Illinois. REIFF ends Nov. 13 at the MAC at 4 p.m. with a screening of the film that won the “Best of the Fest” award.
Block screenings will take place at both the MAC and the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah. An awards ceremony will be held on November 12 at the MAC at 7 p.m., where prizes will be awarded in several categories, including Best Narrative Short Film, Best Narrative Feature Film, Best Documentary Short Film, Best Documentary Feature Film , the best animated film and the best of the festival.
Overall, MAC executive director Rebecca Madding said around 25 films from the United States, Spain, Hong Kong, Germany and Israel would screen at REIFF throughout the four activity days. REIFF fits perfectly with the MAC’s mission to promote cinema as an art form and to support independent filmmakers, she added.
“These are people who put their lives, hearts and souls into these films and to make them, and it’s part of Maiden Alley’s mission to be a champion of independent filmmakers and bring their works to a screen where it belongs, in the theater,” Madding said.
This year, REIFF will start with a block of locally created films. These films include “They Won’t Let Us Be Angels,” a hip-hop musical short that won Best Picture at the 2022 Paducah 48 Hour Film Project; “Paleface,” a short narrative film made in Hopkinsville about an outlaw who comes face to face with a supernatural vigilante; “Shawnee Showdown,” a documentary about activists’ struggle to stop clearcutting, oil and gas drilling, and ATV use in the Shawnee National Forest; and “165 Miles: Catastrophe in Kentucky,” a documentary sharing stories from survivors of the tornadoes that hit western Kentucky in December 2021.
Jonathan Petramala, screenwriter of “165 Miles” and one of its producers, said that after the film premiered in Louisville last month at the Louisville International Film Festival and won the “Favorite of the virtual festival”, REIFF offers an opportunity for the “165 Miles” storytellers to share these stories as close as possible to the areas directly affected by the natural disaster.
“We believe in the ability of people to share their experience of a storm. Instead of making a disaster movie about a disaster, we are making a disaster movie about the people most affected,” Petramala said.
REIFF gives independent filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their work and share the stories these creators have invested their time and money in sharing, Petramala added.
The creators of “165 Miles” also hope to connect with groups in locations directly impacted by the tornado in western Kentucky to host additional screenings of the documentary leading up to the first anniversary of the Dec. 10, 2021, EF-4 tornado. .
Several filmmakers will also have question-and-answer sessions in some of the screening blocks for audience members to ask the filmmakers about their works, Madding said. Petramala said he planned to be at the screening of “165 Miles” on Thursday, a month before the tornado’s first anniversary, with the film’s director Andy Coates.
Madding said one block, Block E airing Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. on the MAC, has been designated as a family block for those wishing to bring young family moviegoers to the festival in support of independent filmmakers.
The full program, as well as the complete lineup of films from this year’s festival, can be viewed at riversedgefilmfestival.com. On this website, tickets can also be purchased for $10 per block, or $50 for an all-access pass for the entire festival. Students can attend the festival for free, Madding said.
People can also sign up to volunteer at the festival on the REIFF website. Volunteers will receive free cinema passes as well as access to an after party with jurors, sponsors, organizers and REIFF filmmakers.