The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF) is an intimate, international and inspired film festival that aims to make the world a more compassionate place through the sharing of stories from around the globe through cinema. RIFF runs May 19 to 21 at various venues around town, with an Opening Night Reception on Friday and films and master classes on Saturday at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. More info and passes available when you purchase tickets.
(Palestine - documentary feature): Twelve years in the life of a girl in Gaza who was blinded by a bullet.
Jewish Blind Date
(Switzerland - narrative short): Unhappy in love, Mary Lou decides to reconnect with her religious roots by marrying a practicing Jew. In order to
get married, she has to pass the Shidduch test, which will determine whether her life will be a success or failure.
(USA - animated short): A romantic visual poem set during a traditional Asian parade in which a highly acrobatic dance is performed to bring good luck.
(Germany - narrative short)
Slummy Mummy(USA - web series): The story of a first-time mom going back to work as a professional shoe model. Operating as a single parent due to her husband’s work schedule and unable to afford a nanny, Jen lives in a rent-controlled apartment in a neighborhood of wealthy alpha moms. Join us for her awkward and often hilarious encounters with her mommy nemesis as we chronicle the absurdities of parenting in New York City.
(Iran - narrative feature): A father searches for his son, who disappeared while studying in Sweden.
(Germany - narrative short): A young couple escapes to the countryside after hearing the fate of their unborn child. Shot beautifully in both color and b/w, the film explores the grief of a mother, and the changed relationship between husband and wife.
Once Upon A Dream
(Belgium - narrative short): When Valentin meets Ludivine, he is convinced she’s the girl he has been dreaming of for the past weeks.
Let Me Get What I Want
(USA - narrative feature): Longform music film by Daddy
(collaboration between actor/director/artist James Franco and musician/artist Tim O’Keefe) followed by Q&A with O’Keefe and others involved in the project. Franco wrote poems inspired by songs by seminal 80s band the Smiths, then he and O’Keefe turned those poems into new songs for Daddy. Andy Rourke of the Smiths plays bass on the the album and the film is a collaboration between Franco, O’Keefe and students of Palo Alto High School.
Storytelling for Filmmakers with Billy Shebar
What makes a good story? Writer-producer Billy Shebar will lead a hands-on exploration of story construction in both narrative and documentary film. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to submit an idea for a film or TV series one week before the class.* Shebar will select one or more of these ideas for discussion in class. The goal is for everyone to walk away with a better appreciation of the craft, as well as tools and techniques they can use to turn an idea into a finished script.
Billy Shebar has worked for over 25 years as a writer, director and producer of both documentary and narrative films. He wrote the screenplay for Dark Matter (2007), starring Meryl Streep, Liu Ye and Aidan Quinn, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Shebar’s documentary work has appeared on major networks including PBS, Discovery, A&E and TNT.He helped develop the series Dark Net on Showtime, writing and producing two of the eight episodes in its first season. Shebar is currently producing a true crime serial with director Joe Berlinger at Radical Media.
*Submissions should include a one-page outline or description of the story, and contact information for the writer. Ideas for fiction, nonfiction, film and TV all welcome. Email ideas to email@example.com by May 12.
Film Style and Form: How Visual Elements Communicate Action and Emotion
with Emily Keating
Through clips and conversation, this class will help you watch a film in an entirely new way. Cinematography, editing, and performance are some of the many visual elements of film that communicate action and emotion to an audience. You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation of all the tools and techniques filmmakers use to tell a visual story. Students in middle and high school are all encouraged to attend, and the content will be curated accordingly. Emily Keating is the Director of Education at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY.
Voice-Over Acting with Justin Barrett
Do you like the sound of your own voice? Join Justin Barrett, actor/narrator/writer/producer, for an introduction to voice-over acting. For the past 15 years, Barrett has voiced campaigns for CNN, HBO, Bloomberg News, VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV, BBC America, NBC Sports, Versus, FOX, ABC and has done hundreds of narrations for Biography on A&E, Discovery, HGTV, TLC and WNET among others. This class will give an overview of the current national market and various types of work (commercials, promos, narrations, trailers, animation, video games, political advertising and audio books etc.… market trends, union jurisdiction, etc.) for voice-over actors. It will provide a brief analysis of the different types of jobs with a focus on effective approaches for each and will explore copy and script analysis and interpretation, performance and auditioning technique, and how to construct a good voice demo.
For more information and please visit www.riff.website