ROME, GA — The Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) celebrates its 15th anniversary on November 1-4, 2018. The late Burt Reynolds will be honored with an award named in his memory. We are pleased to announce four featured documentaries, short film programming, several educational workshops, and a new, interactive experience called Scripts Gone Wild.

RIFF is excited to announce several feature-length documentaries. Making its Georgia premiere, White Tide: The Legend of Culebra, directed by Theo Love, is the story of Rodney Hayden and his plan, fueled by a combination of economic desperation and blissful ignorance, to retrieve a possibly mythical $2-million stash of cocaine from its reported Caribbean hiding place. Another Georgia premiere is the documentary, Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End, directed by Pablo Bryant, which tells the story of Mr. Fish, a successful, outrageous editorial cartoonist who finds that his profession is dying out. For a bit of local flavor Berry College Associate Professor Brian C. Campbell will premiere his feature documentary, To Kingdom Come, which chronicles the pollution history of the Coosa River through candid interviews and historical media. Local filmmaker and proprietor of Brand Red Studios, Ryan Simmons will have his award-winning documentary, Running A.T. Full Speed, communicates the compelling story of Drew Burnett, who raises money for an orphanage in Uganda by attempting to set a world record for running the Appalachian Trail.

Short films are in the process of being selected for programming, some of which including a family-friendly blocks of films and the popular late-night horror series Fear Haus hosted by Blair Bathory. Festival attendees will find many familiar celebrity faces in the selected shorts and they will be introduced to many new emerging stars through this year’s strong slate of shorts. In addition to films, RIFF will be presenting panels, workshops, and masterclasses, presented by industry professionals, including Animal Wrangling 101 – presented by Star K9, Improv Acting with Todd Vittum, and Building Your Own Production Kit with David Smith. In addition to these, we will also have workshops on cinematography, screenwriting, and more.

Thanks to generous support from Rome Area Council for the Arts, RIFF is excited to offer the RIFF Scholars program for a second year. Students from local high schools and colleges will have the opportunity to apply for a Scholar pass that allows them to get a behind the scenes look at the film industry in Georgia.

Our Opening Night party will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott Rome Riverwalk, and Saturday Night will take place at the Lewis Loft, catered by La Scala. All RIFF parties feature live music and great networking opportunities.

On Friday evening, we are thrilled to present SCRIPTS GONE WILD. Founded at the Chattanooga Film Festival, Scripts Gone Wild is a script reading series that takes suspecting celebs, filmmakers, and influencers – puts a popular film script and alcohol in their hands – and sees what happens all in front of a live audience. This event is a 21 and over event.

In 2017, we were fortunate enough to host our dear friend Burt Reynolds, who was so gracious to the festival and the entire city of Rome. In honor of his legacy, the Sylvia for “Best in Show” will renamed the “Burt Reynolds Best in Show” award.

RIFF Remembers Burt

Additional programming announcements are forthcoming.

Festival Passes are now on sale at All-Access Passes and Film & Workshop Passes grant admission throughout the entire festival but individual day passes may also be purchased.

White Tide: The Legend of Culebra

Directed by Theo Love

USA, 2018, English, 85 minutes

Rodney Hyden is an American dreamer: a small business owner and family man from Central Florida. But after he’s wiped out by the Great Recession, Rodney hears a story that could be his ticket out of his mounting debt: a tale of a map, an island and buried treasure. Fueled by a combination of economic desperation and blissful ignorance, Rodney hatches a plan to retrieve a possibly mythical $2-million stash of cocaine from its reported Caribbean hiding place. With the help of a colorful group of misfits—and without prior drug-running experience—Rodney sets out in pursuit of his very own American dream, with surprising results.

Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End 

Directed by Pablo Bryant

USA, 2018, English, 70 minutes

Mr. Fish, once a successful, outrageous editorial cartoonist, finds that his profession is dying out. Can he raise a family and maintain his defiant voice when biting satiric humor has an ever-diminishing commercial value?

To Kingdom Come 

Directed by Brian Campbell

USA, 2018, English, 71 minutes

The film chronicles history of the pollution of the Coosa River and and the environmental effects it has had on the community.

Running A.T. Full Speed 

Directed by Ryan Simmons

USA, 2017, English, 87 minutes

One man’s dream of raising $100,000 for the orphans of Uganda by beating the world’s longest distance speed record, the Appalachian Trail.

For more information about the Rome International Film Festival, visit Stay connected with RIFF on Twitter & Instagram: @romefilm, #RIFFteen Follow RIFF on Facebook:

About the Rome International Film Festival

Founded in 2003, the Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) is northwest Georgia’s signature film festival event. Named as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “top 20 festivals worth the submission fee,” RIFF is proud to have shared independent films from dozens of countries across the globe with thousands of film fans and filmmakers from near and far over the last 15 years. Rome’s historic DeSoto Theatre and the Rome City Auditorium serve as the central venues for the festival. Built in 1927, the DeSoto Theatre was the first cinema in the Southeastern United States to screen sound films.