From April 6 to 8, River Bend Film Festival is returning to Goshen for the second year –– and it’s expected to be bigger and better than ever. The festival will bring filmmakers and film lovers together for three days of celebrating independent filmmaking in vibrant downtown Goshen.
The 2016 festival shattered all previous attendance history, and this year’s festival is expected to attract even more attention due to an increase in films, events, and celebrity guests. The 2017 festival will feature 74 short films, seven feature films, four workshops led by industry professionals, and two coffee talks with filmmakers.
The festival officially begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 6 with a launch party at Gateway Cellar Winery for filmmakers, special guests, and VIP ticket holders. The first feature film of the weekend, screened at the Goshen Theater at 7 p.m., will be the multi-award-winning documentary “Miss Sharon Jones,” which tells the incredible comeback story of the Grammy-nominated band Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. At 8:45 p.m. at Blank Space, VIP ticket holders can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while mingling with special guests at a VIP reception. At 8:30 p.m. at Art House, attendees can enjoy a block of comedic short films, followed by a “Fright Night” film block at the Goshen Theater.
The second day of the festival begins at 10 a.m. with a coffee talk at Ignition Music Garage where guests can enjoy their morning cup of java while engaging in an informal Q&A session with a panel of select filmmakers and industry professionals. The remainder of the day is full of special events, including three short film blocks, four feature films, a screenwriting workshop with Hollywood screenwriter Wes Jones (Billions) and a film makeup workshop with Sarah Elizabeth, a Goshen College graduate and professional makeup artist who was a top contestant on the SyFy Channel show “Face Off.”
The second day of the festival also coincides with Goshen’s monthly First Fridays event. At 5 p.m., First Fridays will host a free feature film followed by a Q&A with filmmakers at the Goshen Theater. The family-friendly film, “Wig-d Out,” was directed by Indianapolis-based filmmaker Kate Chaplin who has been called the “queen of indie film.” The film was inspired by the true story of a teenage girl with a medical condition that causes baldness who is convinced by her ex-beauty queen mother to compete in a beauty pageant.
The final day of the festival is full of film screenings and special events, including a coffee talk with a special guest at Ignition Music Garage, five blocks of short films, two feature films, and two “talkbacks” with industry professionals. After a feature film at the Goshen Theater, the weekend will end with a final wrap party with filmmakers, VIP ticket holders, and special guests on the Goshen Theater stage.
Tickets are now available on the festival website. Buyers can choose from a variety of ticketing options including block tickets that grant entry to single film blocks priced at $12 (note that single block tickets are only for film events and do not grant entry to workshops and other special events); day passes that grant entry to all films and special events on a given day priced at $32 for Thursday, $40 for Friday, and $45 for Saturday; 3-day passes that grant entry to all films and ticketed events throughout the entire weekend priced at $92; and VIP passes that grant entry to all films, ticketed events, and VIP parties throughout the weekend priced at $180.
Please note that every event at River Bend Film Festival is offered on a first come, first serve basis for all ticket holders. Events and films fill up fast, so make sure to arrive early to events. Tickets will be available for pick up at the Goshen Theater ticket office beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 6. Limited edition festival t-shirts are also available on the website in both men’s and women’s sizes priced at $20 each.