Medavoy Phoenix Pictures – courtesy RiverRun

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (MARCH 28, 2019)—The 21st annual RiverRun International Film Festival will take place April 4 – April 14, 2019 with screenings of 175 films from 47 countries in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C. Each year, RiverRun includes its “Spotlight: Perspectives Through Retrospectives,” which features films curated around a central theme. RiverRun’s 2019 Spotlight will focus on the centennial of United Artists, which is marking its 100th anniversary with important events throughout 2019.

United Artists was founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith as a means of maintaining more artistic control over their productions. United Artists is widely viewed as a predecessor to today’s independent film movement.

“We are delighted to feature a selection of films celebrating the centennial of United Artists.  Founded by actors and a director seeking more creative control over their films, the company proved to be a model for Hollywood’s move to independent production in the post-studio-system era,” said Rob Davis, RiverRun executive director. “The company’s rich history could easily provide programming for an entire film festival, but we’ve selected films highlighting some of the most significant eras of the United Artists legacy.”

After a distinguished career as an agent, United Artists recruited RiverRun 2019 Master of Cinema honoree Mike Medavoy in as senior vice president of production, where he was part of the team responsible for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky,” “Annie Hall,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Network,” “Coming Home” and “Raging Bull,” which RiverRun is screening on April 14 and will feature Medavoy as a special guest.

“My four years at United Artists from 1974 to 1978, were the happiest years I’ve had in this business in a career spanning from 1964 to today,” Medavoy said. “At United Artists, I stood on the shoulders of giants, not only in the business, but in life; they were individuals like Arthur Krim, Bob Benjamin, Arnold and David Picker, Eric Pleskow, and others.”

“No one in this business does it alone; it’s a team game in the arts.  Their examples are in every part of my life, and they changed the way business and art were being done,” he added.  “I will forever remain appreciative.”

In addition to Medavoy, special guests at RiverRun will include: Elaina Friedrichsen, Director, Archives and Legacy of the Mary Pickford Foundation and Head of Production for the Mary Pickford Company; Fred Mann, son of Academy Award-winning director Delbert Mann; David Belafonte, son of Harry Belafonte, producer and star of “Odds Against Tomorrow”; Foster Hirsch, film historian and professor of film at Brooklyn College, author of “Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen” and Lisa Funnell, James Bond Scholar from the University of Oklahoma and editor of “For His Only: The Women of James Bond.” David V. Picker, former President and CEO of United Artists, has provided remarks that will be shared with the audience on the Mirisch Company’s contributions to United Artists and “In the Heat of the Night”.

During the last century, United Artists has maintained a position of producing and distributing prestigious and commercially successful films, including the hugely popular James Bond franchise. As a part of the 2019 Spotlight, RiverRun will screen a restored version of “Dr. No,” released in 1962 as the first James Bond film that set the standard for the franchise. The screening of “Dr. No” will take place on April 12.

In addition to “Dr. No” and “Raging Bull,” RiverRun will screen four other classic United Artists’ films during this year’s festival: “Little Annie Rooney” on April 6, “Marty” on April 7, “Odds Against Tomorrow” on April 6 and “In the Heat of the Night” on April 13.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please go to


Founded in 1998, the RiverRun International Film Festival is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Year-round programs include the Indie Lens Pop-Up Documentary Series, RiverRun Retro and Films With Class educational programs. Each spring, RiverRun’s Festival screens new narrative, documentary, short, student and animated films, offering both audience and jury prizes in competition categories. The 2019 RiverRun International Film Festival will take place April 4-14 with screenings in Winston-Salem and Greensboro.


The sponsors of the RiverRun International Film Festival help sustain the organization’s mission to foster a greater appreciation of cinema and a deeper understanding of the many people, cultures and perspectives of our world through regular interaction with great films and filmmakers. The 2018 sponsors include: Title Sponsors – Reynolds American, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and UNCSA; Presenting Sponsors – American Airlines, City of Winston-Salem, The Millennium Fund, Wake Forest University, Wells Fargo, Elephant in the Room and MullenLowe; Marquee Sponsors – Nelson Mullins, Forsyth County, Parkway Lincoln, PNC Bank, Salem Smiles Orthodontics, Visit Winston-Salem and Kilpatrick Townsend.

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