The Rome International Film Festival returns for its 18th year with a long list of films alongside a star-studded guest lineup including filmmaker and actor Billy Bob Thornton.

“Our 2021 mix of submissions and guests contains more star talent than we’ve ever had at one festival, and there is still more to come.” RIFF Executive Director Seth Ingram said.

Rome International Film Festival Executive Director Seth Ingram

Seth Ingram

The festival is scheduled for Nov. 11-14. RIFF announced marquee film screenings on Tuesday as well as the filmmakers and actors who will attend.

On opening night, RIFF kicks off with the documentary “One Pint at a Time.” The film follows the trials and triumphs of Black brewers as they navigate the craft beer industry in which they invest their passion, but find themselves underrepresented.

Keeping the pints tipped, RIFF will present the docu-style reality series “40 Akerz and a Brew,” featuring hip-hop group Nappy Roots as they visit craft breweries across the country — including Rome — and gather inspiration for their own brewery.

Skinny Deville and Scales of Nappy Roots will be in attendance to mingle with fans. The series is a partnership between Nappy Roots and PAM Studios in Rome. RIFF attendees will be the first audience to see the show’s pilot.

Notable films screening Nov. 12 will include “Old Henry,” an action western starring Tim Blake Nelson, and “The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre,” directed by RIFF alum Max Martini. “Old Henry” producer Mike Hagerty and director Potsy Ponciroli will be in attendance.

Audiences can join in the family friendly fun of animated short films, explore imaginative sci-fi shorts, or indulge in all things sinister and strange during the horror film night blocks on Nov. 12 and 13.

Mario Van Peebles, will be in attendance as his film “Baadasssss!” will be screened Nov. 13. The movie is part documentary, part tribute to his father Melvin Van Peebles’ 1971 film, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” Van Peebles will receive the inaugural Melvin Van Peebles award, named after his father, the Godfather of African American film.

Noteworthy feature films include “Clean Slate,” a drama in which two friends struggle to come to terms with their drug addiction and mental illness by creating a short film about the pain they inflicted on their families; and “18½,” a drama thriller set in 1974, surrounding the Watergate scandal and the 18½ minute gap in Nixon’s tapes. Director Dan Mirvis will be in attendance.

Billy Bob Thornton will attend this year as RIFF celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Oscar winning film “Sling Blade.” The film will be screened Nov. 14. Thornton will receive the inaugural Flannery O’Connor Award for Storytelling at the festival.

Jayne Mansfield's Car

In this 2011 file photo, actor Robert Duvall listens to instructions from actor/producer Billy Bob Thornton during a filming break from “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” on Main Street in Cedartown.

For closing night, RIFF will take audiences on a tour through the Irish rock past of the frontman for The Pogues with a screening of “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan.”

The film was produced by Johnny Depp and directed by Julien Temple. MacGowan’s wife, Irish journalist, writer and producer Victoria Marie Clarke, will be in attendance. Following the screening, the art of MacGowan will be exhibited for the first time in the U.S., at the Kingfisher Art Co. downtown.

Capping off each evening, exclusive after-parties will be open to all VIP pass holders.

RIFF passes can be purchased at Pass options include all access patron passes, day passes, as well as individual tickets for films.


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