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Rhode Island International Film Festival RIIFF 2020

The 24th Annual Flickers’ “Virtual” Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), running August 4-9, 2020, is a major destination on the Festival circuit and recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a Qualifying Festival in all short film categories. It is the only Festival in New England with this accolade. The Festival welcomes stellar filmmaking talents from all over the world to beautiful Providence, Rhode Island—one of America’s oldest and most beloved cities. This year, responding to the impact of COVID-19, the Festival will take a hybrid approach utilizing area Drive-In theatres with social distancing and protocols/guidance from the Rhode Island Governor’s Office and the Department of Health and for special screenings. Virtual programming will also take place online. 

RIIFF embraces both filmmakers and screenwriters with the sort of warm-hearted spirit that fosters long-lasting friendships, sparks exciting creative projects, and inspires artists to return again and again. Last year, five films from the Festival received Oscar nominations and one, The Neighbor’s Window” by Marshall Curry, won for Best Live Action Short.

Rhode Island International Film Festival 2018 Post Awards
RIIFF 2018 Post Awards

Along with double features at the Rustic and Misquamicut Drive-Ins, online webinars, industry workshops, special tributes, virtual coffee talks, filmmaker interviews, and post film screening Q&A’s, the 2020 Festival will continue popular annual programs. This programming includes the acclaimed Scriptbiz Seminar, the Rhode Island Film Forum, interviews on the Festival’s weekly Rhode Island PBS series, “doubleFEATURE,” the Youth Film Jury, KidsEye Screenings and online summer workshop, a virtual Awards program and the announcement of this year’s Winifred Brownell Scholarship Fund award winner.

This year’s Festival is dedicated to the memories of the 540,000+ individuals who have lost their lives to COVID-19, including the more than 144,000 in the United States and the more than one thousand in the State of Rhode Island. Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office said, “My favorite week of the year has finally arrived. We salute Flickers and the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival for celebrating 38 exciting years of excellence. Remarkably, it was only twelve months ago, on Opening Night at the glorious Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium (The Vets) when RIIFF illuminated our minds to a spectacular line up of movies from across the globe. Five films from last year’s Festival – including “A Sister” from Opening Night — went on to be nominated for the elusive Academy Award! What an amazing journey!”

Rhode Island International Film Festival 2018 Post Awards
RIIFF 2018 Post Awards

Over its six-day run, the Festival will make available online or at Drive-In screenings, close to 300 films that include multiple World/United States Premieres from 54 countries including Iceland, Israel, Iran, Croatia, Armenia, Turkey, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom Belgium, China, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France, Greece and 34 states in the US. The films for this year’s Festival were selected from a record entry base of 6,672 submissions.


To celebrate the Ocean State and this Summer of COVID-19, the Festival unofficially kicks off on Monday, August 3rd, with a special Preview Night hosted at the Misquamicut Drive-In, 316 Atlantic Ave., Westerly, RI. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and car’s positioning in the lot will be on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets must be ordered online and cash payments will not be accepted.


It is a retro night at the movies when the Festival officially kicks-off at the Opening Night Gala Double Feature Screening on Tuesday, August 4th, 8:00 p.m. at the Rustic Drive In, 1195 Eddie Dowling Hwy, North Smithfield, RI. The hosts for the evening include WLNE ABC-6, Michael Drywa, Esq., RIIFF’s Advisory Board President, and Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the RI Film & Television Office. The Festival will be using all three screens at the Rustic and presenting a double bill of premiere film work. The first program will be RIIFF’s signature salute to short films. Advance Tickets must be ordered online, and cash payments will not be accepted.

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