2020 lineup features 60 films with informative filmmaker Q&As

The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival’s 5th annual festival kicks off October 14 and continues through October 18, 2020. In person screenings will take place at the Ridgefield Theater Barn (37 Halpin Lane, Ridgefield CT), and an online program of both feature length and short films will be made available through a virtual event platform, allowing audience members the option of participating in the festival from their own homes.

“We knew we would have to adapt the RIFF program due to the global pandemic this year. The good news is, we feel we’ve truly risen to the occasion by creating a fantastic hybrid program allowing for both live and virtual screening options. RIFF 2020 offers an array of exceptional films in various genres that we know will transport audiences to different worlds, and maybe even provide an escape from the actual world we’re currently living in,” says RIFF festival director Megan Smith-Harris.

RIFF has once again partnered with the Ridgefield Theatre Barn (RTB) and is working closely with them to create a safe, COVID-compliant live viewing experience for those who opt to attend screenings in person.

“The Barn is thrilled to be hosting RIFF again this year,” says RTB Executive Director Pamme Jones. “When the pandemic hit, one of the first calls we had was with Megan and we committed right then and there to making RIFF a reality in 2020. The festival brings world-class cinema and interaction with the filmmakers to Ridgefield and is a staple in the arts and culture scene here in town. We need the festival to go on!”

RIFF will also be embracing new technology to bring festival offerings to audience members at home through our Virtual Festival option.  

Here are a few highlights:

Kicking off the festival is the poignant and uplifting documentary Gay Chorus: Deep South, directed by David Charles. In response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states and the divisive 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Man’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South with expected and unexpected results, bringing a message of music, love, and acceptance to communities and individuals confronting intolerance.

(Wednesday, October 14 @ 6:30 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option) 

Ever heard of a Sci-fi Documentary? Neither had we, until we screened I Am Human, directed by Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby. The film chronicles humanity’s quiet march down a new evolutionary path—where man and machine merge as one. How will this evolving technology change what it means to be human, and more importantly, are we ready? A mind-boggling, informative, and ultimately, hopeful film.

(Thursday, October 15 @ 7:30 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option)

The Hoy Boys, directed by David Simonds, tells the remarkable story of working class twin brothers Tom and Frank Hoy, who worked their way up from copyboys to award-winning photojournalists for two major Washington DC newspapers—The Washington Post and The Evening Star. Their iconic work takes us back to the pre-digital era when American read actual newspapers and facts mattered.

Post screening Q&A with director David Simonds and Executive producers Betsy Shiverick (who appears in the film) and Paul Shiverick. SPOTLIGHT ON CT FILM

(Friday, October 16 @ 7:00 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option)

Stevenson: Lost and Found, a feature documentary by New Zealand filmmaker Sally Jean Williams, explores the life and stellar 67-year career of writer and artist James Stevenson, one of the New Yorker Magazine’s most prolific cartoonists and arguably the most beloved. Anyone who has ever laughed at a New Yorker cartoon owes it to themselves to see this wonderful documentary. Post screening Q&A with Stevenson’s widow, artist and producer Josie Merck. SPOTLIGHT ON CT Film

(Saturday, October 17 @ 6:30 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option)

The Missing Girl directed by Connecticut’s A.D. Calvo, tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive, aspiring graphic novelist he’s hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn’t missing and the discovery that it’s never too late for late bloomers. Part comedy, part drama, part romance, part suspense, all parts add up to one engrossing film. SPOTLIGHT ON CT FILM

(Saturday, October 17 @ 6:30 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option)

Climbing Blind by UK adventure cinematographer and director Alastair Lee tells the extraordinary story of Jesse Sufton, who was born with 20% central vision and soon diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare disease that breaks down the rentina’s cells. By 30 his vision was reduced to just light perception with around one or two percent field of view. A life long rock climber, Jesse flies in the face of adversity and takes on bigger challenges attempting to be the first blind person to make a ‘non-sight’ lead of the iconic Old Man of Hoy sea stack in Scotland.

(Screens with KINDRED, an environmental short Sunday, October 18 @ 2:00 pm, LIVE at RTB + Virtual Screening Option) 

For tickets and a full line-up: RIFFct.org