RIFF is a competitive festival with more than $25,000 awarded in cash and prizes, plus industry promotion. Several awards are given in overall main categories for film, music, and screenplays as well as Outstanding Merit Awards, Best Actress/Best Actor, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Music/Score.
Grand Jury Winners (Film) – This is awarded to the overall best feature film and short film. The best feature film receives $750 cash and the best short film receives $500 cash. Plus, each will receive: Sony Vegas Pro Software (valued at $600), a Special Recognition Trophy, and 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange
Best of Festival Award for Best Narrative (Feature & Short) Best Animation (Short) Best Documentary (Feature & Short) Best Experimental (Short), and overall Best Music Video. Outside of industry promotion, these winners will receive: a Special Recognition Trophy and 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange.
Grand Jury Winners (Screenplays) – This is awarded to the overall best feature screenplay and best short screenplay. The best feature script receives $750 cash and the best short script receives $500 cash. Plus, each will receive: Sony Vegas Pro Software (valued at $600), a Special Recognition Trophy, and a 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange.
Audience Choice Awards (Best Feature film and Short film) – These winners are voted upon by the festival audience. Each winner receives special recognition at the red carpet awards ceremony and an award certificate.
Additional Awards (Film) – The following will receive an award certificate for best in a feature or short film: Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Music/Score, Best Original Screenplay.
Additional Awards (Screenplays) – The following receives heavy industry promotion to A-list companies and various other agents and producers we work with, plus the writers will receive an award certificate at the red carpet awards, a Preferred Media Industry Xchange membership, and free entry into all festival events: Top script in each of the main four genres (Horror/Thriller/Fantasy, Drama/Family, Comedy, Action/Adventure).
Official Selection Films and Top Screenplays – All Official Selection filmmakers and the top 5 scripts (feature & short) receive a Preferred Media Industry Xchange membership for a period of one year.
Outstanding Merit Awards – Two awards, if applicable, will be given to the most inspiring writer or filmmaker who best utilizes film as a medium to create awareness, social change, or bring a unique perspective to any one topic. These winners will receive: a Special Recognition Trophy and a 1 Year Preferred Membership to the Media Industry Xchange.
The Social Impact/Global Xchange Award – Given to the produced short film or script that highlights the use of film to create a positive social impact in the community or alternatively, the use of film to promote creative enterprise as a means to synergize or maximize positive social capital in the community. This special award acknowledges the efforts of those who are leveraging film to solve real community issues.
The Legacy Xchange Award -Given to the best produced short film or script submitted by an entrant over the age of 65. If you would like to be considered for this award, you must send RIFF a copy of your age verification to email@example.com.
Short Film Production Award (One Writer & One Director) – TBD. This is a bonus category that all entrants are eligible to enter for free as long as they’ve entered a project in at least one other main category. Anyone who worked on the project is eligible as long as they have been credited in some way on the film or screenplay.
Music Awards – See the Music page for a complete list of the 2017 awards.
General Promotion for All Entrants – All entrants that do no make it as official selection or top script finalist will receive promotion through the MIX Directory as a Preferred Listing member for six months.
The Media Industry Xchange Preferred Membership includes a photo, bio/resume link, career highlights, and links to view samples of the writer or filmmaker’s work along with contact info, genre/niche preferences, recent awards, etc.
FESTIVAL EVENTS & ATTENDANCE Screening, networking, educational and industry events to take place at the historic Byrd Theatre and BowTie Cinemas and several music venues around RVA. All entrants are highly encouraged to attend the festival. Official Selection films & music and Official Selection screenwriters receive free admission to the festival, and are invited to participate in various events throughout the week, panel discussions, and Q&As, where applicable. If not chosen as Official Selection, RIFF offers discounted admission to entrants.
Notification of festival acceptance each year is mid to late December.