RiverRun 2017: A curated guide

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by Jordan Green, Eric Ginsburg, Brian Clarey, Joel Sronce and Joanna Rutter

This is my favorite issue of the year.

There are only a few disparate moments each year where you can truly forget where you are, believing — if even briefly — that you could be in one of the nation’s bigger metropolises. The Triad is home to plenty of world-class talent, but it’s rare that something here draws in the broader world while simultaneously reflecting the enormity and worth of our own cultural sorcerers.

RiverRun International Film Festival is one of our few chances to show off on a big stage, and bring the world in. Whether you’re rubbing elbows with stars at the opening party or witnessing impressive UNCSA grads on the screen, RiverRun raises the bar each year in a way that only a select few can.

I selfishly love our annual RiverRun cover story because it’s a chance to watch my top picks of the fest beforehand. As a team, we’ve reviewed about 20 films this year, picking our favorites and interviewing Master of Cinema honoree Celia Weston.

We’re also offering you extended reviews of two additional films — Good Funk by Greensboro native Adam Kritzer and a short documentary by Wake Forest University film students called “Caviar Dreams.”

But as much as I’ve enjoyed watching dozens of RiverRun flicks at home over the years, having been to the festival in person I assure you that nothing compares to the big screen.

The disappearance of Phuzz Phest — the Camel City’s annual indie music festival that generally overlapped with RiverRun — is a testament to the fragility of even the finest expressions of local culture. It’s a reminder that without strong community buy-in and support, other cherished institutions such as RiverRun could fade as well.

So read our 2017 RiverRun guide, by all means. But if you don’t show up — if you don’t dig into your pocket and actually buy a ticket, instead of sweet-talking your way into a courtesy pass — it’s all for naught.

Artists need patrons. This brief glimpse of glory begins Thursday, and could end (on April 9) before you get it together to show up. There’s more than enough to choose from, and this overview is proof.

—Eric Ginsburg

Special feature: 2017 Master of Cinema honoree Celia Weston

44 Pages

The Island and the Whales

“Caviar Dreams”

Good Funk

Forever Pure

Foreign Body

Fits and Starts

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

First Lady of the Revolution

Chairman Jones

Brave New Jersey

Dark Skull

Truth Underground

Quest

Les Sauteurs

Unrest

Swim Team

Prison Dogs

Little Wing

The Other Kids

The Promise