The Richmond International Film Festival Kicks Off Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond city gets a little bit of the Hollywood flare this weekend as the Richmond International Film Festival starts today and goes through Sunday.

The festival will show over a hundred films at three venues with a new program added specifically for this year.

To view a full schedule of this year’s films and events, visit www.rvafilmfestival.com

New this year, RIFF expands to more than 120 films and brings a one-day creative conference, the FLOW Collective. FLOW includes inspirational talks from prominent artists and heads of industry followed by creative think tanks, panels, and breakout sessions incorporating the concept of creative flow across a variety of disciplines including film, sports, journalism, environmentalism, advertising, writing, and more.

Confirmed FLOW speakers include Heather Waters (Host) and Founder & Producer of the Richmond International Film Festival, President of the Virginia Production Alliance; David Baldacci, International Best Selling Novelist & Producer; Linus Karlsson, Chairman/Chief Creative Officer, MING Utility & Entertainment, Creative Chairman; Johnny Newman, Former NBA Player, 16 year career; Zoe Romano, Athlete/Ultra Runner & Writer; Jesse Vaughan, 24-time Emmy Award Winning Director; Linda Forem, Former Vice President & General Manager of Radio One; Sylvie Rokab, Emmy nominated, award-winning documentary filmmaker and environmentalist; Jeffrey Blount, Author of Almost Snow White & Hating Heidi Foster and Director of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams; Jeanne Meserve, Longtime news anchor and Correspondent (CNN & ABC News); Kym Grinnage, VP/General Manager of NBC12; and Frank Hall Green, Award winning Writer & Director. Additional FLOW panelist include: Sara Elizabeth Timmins, Producer & Founder of Life Out Loud Films; JD Leete, Director and retired US Navy SWCC; and David Powers, Writer, Director, Producer & Founding President of Belltower Pictures.

The FLOW Collective takes place Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 from 11:00am-6:00pm. FLOW begins with FLOW Talks (11:00-12:45pm, Byrd Theatre) followed by roundtable discussions, creative think tanks, panels, and breakout sessions (1:15-6:00pm, Visual Arts Center). Areas of focus will be the latest trends in advertising, marketing and new media, integration of digital in radio/TV/film, the art of persuasion, story development, audience engagement, director/acting workshop, a writing pitch session, and more. A book signing with author, David Baldacci, will take place following the Saturday 11am FLOW Talks and also following the Richmond premiere of Baldacci’s film, Wish You Well which will be screened at the Byrd Theatre on Thursday, Feb 26th at 7:15pm.

Also this week, RIFF confirms First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe as a special guest panelist following the world premiere of the Virginia feature documentary, Living in a Food Desert. The documentary takes an inside look at the food desert crisis affecting hundreds of thousands in Virginia with Richmond and Petersburg said to be two of the top food deserts in VA and among the top in the U.S. The film also features Mount Olive Baptist Church, FeedMore, Tricycle Gardens, Lynchburg Grows, Shalom Farms and Renew Richmond with interviews that include Leslie Van Horn, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Delegate Delores McQuinn, Dr. Jewel Hairston, Douglas Pick, John Lewis, Sally Schwitters, Daron Chavis, and others.

Other special guest panelists for Living In a Food Desert include: Jesse Vaughan, Director & Producer of the film; Delegate Delores McQuinn, Committee Member in the Virginia House of Delegates; Douglas “Doug” Pick , Facilitative Leader for the RVA Food Collaborative; Jewel E. Hairston, Ph.D, Dean of the School of Agriculture at Virginia State University; John Lewis, Executive Director of Renew Richmond; John Matheson, President of the Board of Directors and acting Executive Director of Lynchburg Grows. The panel will be moderated by Daphne Maxwell Reid, co-founder and principal partner in New Millennium Studios, the first full-service film studio in Virginia.

Living in a Food Desert screens at 5:00pm, on March 1st, at The Byrd Theater. The panel follows the film from 5:50-6:45pm, and is open to all Living in a Food Desert ticket holders.

RIFF is a competitive international festival that has recently risen in the ranks to be one of the largest international competitive festivals in the mid-Atlantic.

2015 Sponsors include Swedish Match, the Virginia Film Office, PBS/WCVE, Balliceaux, the Doubletree Hilton, Sifter, the Martin Agency, Bowtie Cinemas, the Virginia Historical Society, Shamin Hotels and others.

For press images or further info, email info@richmondfilmfestival.com or Heather Waters directly, RIFF’s Founder & Producer, at heather@richmondfilmfestival.com.

Advance tickets are now on sale through the RIFF website or ticket line: (804) 219-0675.

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