The 2018 Richmond International Film & Music Festival brings a seven-day fest of more than 150 cutting edge award-winning films, plus up to 50 bands, panels, and daily events at various venues across Richmond, Virginia.

The seventh edition of the festival kicks off Monday, April 23rd with the Opening Night film, NONA. and concludes Sunday, April 29th with the annual Red Carpet Awards where prizes selected by the Grand Jury and audience will be awarded in various categories for all film, music, and writing categories.

NONA is a compelling narrative feature film written and directed by Michael Polish, which stars Kate Bosworth (also the Producer/Executive Producer), Sulem Calderon, and Jesy McKinney. NONA follows the harrowing path of a young Honduran girl from her home in San Pedro Sula, across four countries, into a living hell of servitude in a world of modern day sex slavery. Kate Bosworth and Michael Polish will be in attendance, and Bosworth will receive this year’s esteemed Founder’s Award for her work as a producer on the film. The Founder’s Award is given to the film and filmmaker that captures the heart and spirit of the festival – stories that reveal truths that are often untold or overlooked, and to those artists on the frontlines of creating necessary yet artful dialogue in their work.

Also in the spotlight are BUCKOUT ROAD, a horror thriller directed by Matthew Currie Holmes starring Danny Glover, Henry Czerny, Evan Ross, and Dominque Provost-Chalkey. The feature is a story of how a college class project on the creation and destruction of modern myth turns terrifying when a trio of young people come to realize the many evil urban legends surrounding New York State’s famed Buckout Road may, in fact be real.

ABOVE THE DROWNING SEA, a documentary feature about the dramatic escape of tens of thousands of Jewish refugees’ escape to Shanghai featuring Julianna Margulies, Tony Goldwyn, and Nick Mancuso. The film is directed by Rene Balcer who is also writer, executive producer, and co-creator of Law & Order. Balcer will present the film alongside co-executive producer Carolyn Balcer with an extensive Q&A discussion to follow.

DOUBLE TAKE directed by Jay Gard and a short crime mystery in the vein of HEAT, MEMENTO, and TRUE DETECTIVE. With a swiss-clock style plot, DOUBLE TAKE threads together two diamond heists with multiple twists and an intense interrogation between old enemies. The film stars Adrian Pasdar and David James Elliott.

THE BLACK GHIANDOLA, a narrative short starring J.K. Simmons, Johnny Depp, David Lynch, and Laura Dern. The film is produced by Tamika Lamison and the Make a Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants children suffering with cancer their final wish to make a film. The film and foundation will receive a special honor at the 2018 festival.

DADDY, a documentary short that tells the story of youth basketball coach and drug trafficker, Curtis Malone. In 1993 Curtis founded the DC Assault, an AAU basketball team whose mission was to keep inner city boys off the streets by helping them earn college scholarships, and it included a hundred Division I student athletes and several NBA players. But on August 9th 2013, Curtis’ double life caught up with him. In addition to Curtis, the film includes interviews with the NBA players he raised, the DEA agents who investigated him, and the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted him.

DIMINUENDO, a sci-fi romance starring James Deen, Richard Hatch, Chloe Dykstra, Leah Cairns, Walter Koenig, Bryn Pryor, and more. When asked to direct the biopic of Cello Shea about his actress girlfriend who killed herself a decade ago, the has-been filmmaker Haskell Edwards becomes obsessed with the lifelike robot created to mimic her.

Also in the lineup is PERFECT BID: THE CONTESTANT WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, a feature documentary starring Ted Slauson, Bob Barker, Kevin Pollak, Drew Carey, and Holly Hallstrom. The film details Ted Slauson, a math teacher from Texas who spent the majority of his life memorizing the prize amounts on The Price Is Right. The documentary explores how Ted went from bidding to banned, and was involved in a Perfect Bid scandal that was covered in Esquire, Time Magazine & others. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Ted’s most famous appearance on the show.

AYLA THE DAUGHTER OF WAR, this Turkish feature film set in 1950, is a story about the ravages of the Korean War as Sergeant Süleyman stumbles upon a a half-frozen little girl, with no parents and no help in sight. Frantic, scared and on the verge of death, this little girl captures the heart of Süleyman, who risks his own life to save her, smuggling her into his Army base and out of harms way. Ayla, almost effortlessly, brings an uncanny joy to the Turkish brigade in the grip of war.

THE RIBBON ON THE KITE, a narrative short by filmmaker Gianlorenzo Albertini that features a compelling look at PTSD through the eyes of Daerik, an army veteran who returns to his hometown after being discharged from the military. Now homeless and suffering from severe PTSD, he tries to drown out the painful memories of a mission in Afghanistan where his men were killed. In the meantime, Rebecca, a very young girl, attempts to find her brother who suddenly disappears after the war later finding that the homeless man living on the river bank nearby is her lost brother.

Music Performances

Bands to receive early acceptances to perform at the 2018 festival range from every major music genre and include: Marcaux (Brooklyn, NY), Sparky Quano (Japan), Giant Squids (Washington, D.C.), Zaxai (Brooklyn, NY), Ezra Vancil (Dallas, TX), Mariana Bell (Charlottesville, VA), The Fury MCs (Woodbridge, VA), Gabriel Mayers (Brooklyn, NY), The Jacks (Newport Beach, CA), Friendly Mosquito (Tbilisi), Justin Gambino (Angleton, TX), Tahj Ace (Brooklyn, NY), Lucille Fris (Chicago, IL), Kendra Black (New York, NY). More acts and the full programming schedule to be announced mid-March. Music showcases take place nightly at various venues across Richmond.

Additional Festival Honors

In 2018, RIFF celebrates the theme, “RISE.” In conjunction with the theme, the festival will honor some of the film and music industry’s rising female and African American talent through special spotlights and tributes during festival week.


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