GHC partnership with local film festival sees star-studded guest lineup including filmmaker and actor Billy Bob Thornton

The Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) entered its 18th year last week with multiple films and star-studded guests like filmmaker and actor Billy Bob Thornton. Georgia Highlands College (GHC) is a longtime partner of the local non-profit organization led by RIFF Executive Director Seth Ingram who also serves as GHC’s Film Studies and Theater Chair.

Billy Bob Thornton attended this year as RIFF celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Oscar winning film “Sling Blade.” Thornton was presented the inaugural Flannery O’Connor Award for Storytelling at the festival.

On opening night, RIFF kicked 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.

Notable films screenings included “Old Henry,” an action western starring Tim Blake Nelson, and “The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre,” directed by RIFF alum Max Martini. Noteworthy feature films included “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.

RIFF is a non-profit organization that welcomes local, national, and international filmmakers to share their firms in Northwest, Georgia. Their goal is to entertain and educate the audience, provide filmmakers the opportunity for networking and advancement, and encourage cultural tourism and film industry development.

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Visit to learn more about the film program at GHC.