About the Festival
River Bend has screened hundreds of student, regional, and international films, averaging 50-70 per year. It has also offered workshops on lighting, acting, editing, screenwriting, visual effects, crowdfunding, and more.
The festival accepts all genres: narrative, documentary, experimental, music video, animation, student, features, and shorts. River Bend makes it a priority to highlight the work of local and regional filmmakers, and many of the films come from across the country and around the world.
Interested in submitting a film? Learn more here.
River Bend Film Festival is a celebration of independent filmmaking, founded in 2002 by a group of filmmakers and avid film-lovers in South Bend, Indiana. Through screenings, workshops, appearances by industry guests, and special events, the festival has brought filmmakers and their fans together to celebrate the art of film for over 15 years.
For the first seven years, the festival was located on the campus of Indiana University-South Bend, and was originally named the IU-South Bend Independent Video & Filmmakers Festival. For its first year, the festival was a one-day event, but grew into two days in the second year.
The festival was created by local filmmakers to share their work with one another. The regional non-profit Mid America Filmmakers has been a supporter and sponsor for many years. Mid America Filmmakers was instrumental in helping the festival’s expansion and eventual relocation to the Century Center in downtown South Bend in 2009.
In 2016, the festival made its debut in its current location in Goshen, Indiana. The three-day event was located in a variety of downtown screening venues including Art House and the historic Goshen Theater. The event shattered all previous attendance records.
Previous Special Guests
Beth Grant – Actor (Donnie Darko, Rain Man, Little Miss Sunshine, The Mindy Project)
Leila Djansi – Producer/Director (Like Cotton Twines)
Wes Jones – Screenwriter (Billions, The Brink)
Jim Strouse – Writer/Director (People Places Things, The Winning Season)
John Hancock (Prancer, The Looking Glass)
Kiran Shah – Actor (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars)
Stephen Susco – Screenwriter (The Grudge 1&2, Red)
Clint Howard – Actor (Apollo 13, The Grinch)
Larry Karaszewski – Screenwriter (People v. O.J. Simpson, Big Eyes)
Kate Chaplin – Producer (Wig’d Out, Ingenue)
Jordon Hodges – Actor/Writer (Sand Castles, Mary’s Buttons)
Lloyd Kaufman – Director (The Toxic Avenger, Poultrygeist)
John Baldecchi – Producer (Simon Birch, Odd Thomas)
Kathleen Haase – Producer (Detroit Rock City)
John Helmuth – Actor/Producer (The Flying Dutchman)
Jack Olesker – Producer (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Dustin Mills – Writer/Director (Skinless, Her Name Was Torment)
2017 River Bend Film Festival Sponsors
Blank Space • Bryan Chris Photography • Dick Lehman Pottery • Duley Press • Greensweep Cleaning Services • Ignition Garage • Inn on South 5th • LightBox • Maple City Market • Menno Travel • Mid America Filmmakers • NIBCO • Nimble Wit Productions • The Nut Shoppe