Paducah is nurturing a love affair with independent filmmakers and their provocative, unpredictable, prolific work. (Plus some really cool industry people are coming to town!)
When is the last time you went to a movie? A pastime that is accessible to all. A right of passage. A first date. A family affair. Or just a solo experience. Every trip to the cinema creates a memory.
Bringing in talent from all over the world and offering it to the city of Paducah for one weekend a year, the River’s Edge International Film Festival (REIF) brings an arsenal of films that would otherwise never be seen. That is what makes them so very special.
Begun in 2005, REIFF was just a sparkle in the eyes of some very passionate Maiden Alley Cinema devotees. The idea was solid, but the road to becoming an international home for film was distant. Hundreds of film festivals exist across the globe and gaining the trust of filmmakers to be a worthy venue for exhibition is a task that takes time. Gaining a reputation is key—earning the trust of filmmakers and easing any concerns that their product will be treated with care is a daunting task. These truths are what we strive to achieve.
It is easy to forget that an entire world of film exists beyond the Hollywood line-up that is present in our media on a regular basis. To appreciate independent film, you have to investigate and seek out those experiences. Maiden Alley Cinema offers independent/foreign film all year long, but the film festival delves into a world with which many aren’t familiar. These are the college students, the budding artists, the people who want to tell a story. Their films will not be as glamorous or have as many special effects, but the purity you often find is breathtaking.
From feature films, documentaries, and animated shorts to experimental formats, there is film that can appeal to virtually everyone. The fact that a plethora of films are available, all in one weekend, with subject matter running a gamut of ideas, is a testament to the broad offerings available from November 1-4, 2012.
As a festival run completely by volunteer efforts, being embraced by the community is why it still exists. Local sponsorships, grants, and collaboration with invested partners make it a festival that you feel good about supporting. No money goes in any pockets, no one is paid for their time, yet it happens year after year. When new donors are found the first thought is how to make the festival more attractive to the masses so we can broaden the love of film.
In 2011, a generous sponsorship from the Paducah Renaissance Alliance provided the support necessary to expand. Last year a new member was added to the team as Michael Terra, of Terra Cottage, created a unique sculpture for each winner, making it possible for filmmakers all over the world to have an original piece of artwork from a very talented Lowertown artist. Along with other partners such as Paducah Bank, Computer Services, Inc., Etcetera Coffeehouse, Hampton Inn & Suites, Rene Advertising Specialties, Horizon Media Group, Paducah Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Paducah Life Magazine and our loyal volunteers, we have been able to continue the tradition. Many festivals don’t have such a successful path and we absolutely know we could not continue without them.
And we can’t continue without you, the viewer, either. The festival doesn’t exist without its audience.