The next Rome International Film Festival is about a year away. But Seth Ingram is already putting in much of the research and leg work that it takes to pull off an event of that size.
He’s RIFF’s executive director and, as an example, he’ll be attending the world-famous Sundance Film Festival in late January to promote Rome’s festival.
The 2019 festival, which took place in November, brought more than 70 films to town for screenings at three different venues. It also brought a number of parties, workshops and other events related to the festival.
“Each year is different,” Ingram said. “I don’t like to compare them because each year has its own thing that makes it special. But the quality of the films keeps getting better each year and we have a lot more people in the industry who know us.”
One of the things helping RIFF to grow, Ingram said, is that filmmakers come to RIFF, have a great time at the festival and in Rome, and then talk about it when they leave, promoting Rome as well as the event.
“The publicity gets wider and wider,” he said. “We are making a bigger name for ourselves. As Rome becomes more of a filming destination, we can use that as leverage to help us reach farther and father and to secure quality films.”
While many details of the 2020 festival are still in the works, Ingram did say that this year would mark the 20th anniversary of the film “Remember the Titans,” which was filmed in Rome. He said the film will be screened at the festival and he is reaching out to those involved with the film in hopes of getting a big name to attend.
But that’s just one of the highlights.
As usual, he and the people who work hard to make the festival a reality will scour the industry for quality films to bring to Rome. And their work isn’t just focused on screening films one weekend out of the year. RIFF also works with nonprofits and year-round programming outside of the festival.
“This is a labor of love for me,” Ingram said. “But Rome doesn’t realize what an economic driver it has in RIFF.”
Ingram would like to see local businesses and individuals celebrate the festival when it’s in town by planning their own events around RIFF. And of course he encourages Rome residents to attend the screenings.
“Attend, attend, attend,” he said. “We get a lot of people from out of town at RIFF but I’d love to see more locals at the screenings. And I want RIFF to attract young people to come to Rome and to see it as a fun destination.”
For more information about RIFF, or to volunteer for the 2020 festival, visit online at www.riffga.com.