UNCSA Students and Alumni lend their talents to RiverRun International Film Festival

A unique advantage for students at University of North Carolina School of the Arts is that the headquarters for RiverRun International Film Festival is down the street - literally! - from the campus where they study and work to hone their skills in the performing arts. UNCSA is a title sponsor for the festival, which is held annually in April. 

Founded in 1998, RiverRun is one of the premier film festivals in the southeastern United States. It was moved from its initial home in Brevard, N.C., to Winston-Salem in 2003 by then-Dean of the School of Filmmaking Dale Pollock. Each year, select films are screened on UNCSA’s campus during the festival and UNCSA sudents appreciate the close proximity to festival events and the opportunity to interact with filmmaking industry experts.

It's a two minute walk from the dorms right on up to internationally renowned filmmakers who come and speak and talk to the students... sometimes even interacting with them in the classrooms. 

Andrea Goocher '16

Seven UNCSA student short films are part of the 2016 festival, including work from second, third and fourth-year film students. They range in variety from the animated “Another Everest” to the World War II-set “LZ Lost.”

by Hannah Callaway


UNCSA Student Films

“All They Knew”
Director: Jennifer Gray ’15
Writers: Alex Hughes ’16, Kathryn Lindhart ’15
Producer: Brittany Brock ’15
Cinematographer: Joshua Ruffner ’15
Editor: Crystal Marze ’15
Sound design: Benjamin L. Guilbault ’15
Production design: Benjamin Agresti ’15
Costume design: Katie Goldberg
Hair & makeup design: Brittany “Duckie” Steele
Composer: Jim Schnefel ’15, Joshua Dorsett

“Another Everest”
Writer/Director/Animator: Alek Kosinski ’17
Animators: Zing Grem ’17, Gavin Lankford ’17, Isaac Phillips- London ’17
Screenplay: Gavin Lankford, Zing Grem, Alek Kosinski, Justin Dunkle, Edward Loupe ’17
Storyboard and design: Gavin Lankford, Zing Grem
Sound design: Edward Loupe ’17

“Frame Drop”
Director: Neil Soffer ’16
Writers: Dalton Price ’16, Neil Soffer ’16
Producer: Santiago Marcos ’16
Cinematographer: Jin Kim ’16
Editor: Dalton Price ’16
Production design: Kristen Adams ’16

“I Only Smile in Pictures”
Director: Clayton Witmer ’16
Writers: Chelsey Cummings ’16, Clayton Witmer ’16
Producer: Michael Samilow ’16
Cinematographer: Ayinde Anderson ’16
Editor: Jeremy Darnell ’16
Production design: Sofia Yankelevitch ’16
Hair & makeup design: Allison Burkholder ’16
Composer: Paul Pedziwiatr ’16

“LZ Lost”
Director: Tyler Hickman ’17
Writer: Douglas Coghlan ’17
Producer: Aidan Crowley ’17
Cinematographer: Matt Roveto ’17
Editor: Sam Scott ’17
Production design: Clarke MacAlarney ’17

Director: Austin Abdo ’16
Writer: Emily Morgan ’16
Producer: Brianna Catalano ’16
Cinematographer: Emily Morgan ’16
Editor: Courtney Garboski ’16
Production design: Makeda Thomas ’16
Hair & makeup design: Chelsea Raitor ’17
Composer: Benjamin Hoff ’16

“The Roma Project”
Director: Harry Keenan ’15
Writer/Producer: Evan Scott Russell ’15
Cinematographer: Tyler Harmon-Townsend ’15
Editor/Sound design: Alex Nomick ’15
Production design: Forest Van Hoose ’15
Costume design: Danielle Dickinson
Hair & makeup design: Lisa Pedraza
Composers: Ian Joseph Vogler ’15, Daniel Brooks

UNCSA alumni are also featured prominently in the 2016 festival, and many will return to Winston-Salem to support their films this year. Documentary short films “Flotsam” and “Rotatio” and narrative short “Pronouns” join full-length features “MA,” “Morris from America,” “The Polar Bear Club” and “Travel Light.”

UNCSA Alumni Films

Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor: Olivia Motley ’13
Co-producer/Cinematographer: Jean-Jacques Martinod ’14
Cinematographer: Eduardo Uruena ’14
Sound editor: Max Wilde ’15 

Writer/Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
Cinematographer: Ian Bloom ‘05
Assistant camera/Colorist: Alex Sablow ’09
Cast: Matt Lauria ’07

“Morris from America”
Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan ’04
Cinematographer: Sean McElwee ’04

Music/Post audio mix: Tom Hauser MFA ’13

Director: Ian McClerin ’12
Artist featured in film: Shannon May MacKenzie HS ’11

“The Polar Bear Club”
Director/Co-writer: Brett Price ’11
Co-writer/Co-producer: Ben Zschunke ’11
Cinematography: Spencer Goodall ’11, Drew Valenti ’11
Producer: Connor Carroll
Sound recorder/Mixer: Tyler Blythe ’11

“Travel Light”
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor: Lindsay Thompson ’12
Co-Producer/Editor: Emily Maysilles ’11
Co-Producer: Gabriela Quiroz ’12      
Cinematographer: Brenton Ron Nelson ’12


RiverRun also offers opportunities for students to have a hands-on experience at the festival through the student ambassador program. Media-savvy students who are engaged on social media can apply for the program, where they’ll help to share news about the festival and its films on their social media channels and/or blog. In exchange for consistent social media posts, ambassadors receive perks like film tickets, local gift certificates, swag bags and the opportunity to network with donors and festival sponsors.

Dale Pollock, the man who brought RiverRun to Winston-Salem, is one of my mentors and a great friend. When he suggested the opportunity to work for the festival I was immediately excited by the idea of being behind the curtain of a large international film festival.

 Abe Bengio ’18

Four other UNCSA students - Dorian Thomas ’18, Ruby Louise Scharf ’19, Addison Sharp ’17 and Alex Thomas ’17 - joined Abe as ambassadors this year, and more UNCSA students will follow in their footsteps. 

Whether in the crowd, behind the scenes or as featured filmmakers - UNCSA students and alumni support the RiverRun International Film Festival each year as a favorite Winston-Salem tradition. We’ll see you on opening night!

March 30, 2016