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.

To see photos and videos from previous events, visit us on Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.

2019 Festival

Film lineup and schedule

2018 Festival

Film lineup and schedule

2017 Festival

Film lineup and schedule

2016 Festival

Film lineup and schedule

2015 Festival

Film lineup and schedule


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.

River Bend Film Festival, Goshen, Indiana
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

Rachel Shenton – Actor (The Silent Child)
Chris Overton – Director (The Silent Child)
Shubhashish Bhutiani– Writer, Director (Hotel Salvation)
Zachary Spicer –Actor (The Good Catholic)
Beth Grant – Actor (Donnie Darko, Rain Man, Little Miss Sunshine, The Mindy Project)
Leila Djansi – Producer/Director (Like Cotton Twines)
Whitney Valcin – Casting Director/Producer  (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)

2023 River Bend Film Festival Sponsors

Community Foundation of Elkhart CountyFive Core MediaThe Goshen NewsGoshen Theater
Globe Radio 91.1 FMArt HouseCherokee Rose PartnersCity of GoshenEyedart Creative StudioWNIT
Elkhart County CVBMiller PoultryFroggy 102.7Duley PressDon and Theresa GundenGreencroft CommunitiesTom Naquin Auto Group

Charter AudioCommon SpiritsConstant SpringDaycapElectric BrewElephant BarFairfield InnGoDance StudioGoshen Brewing CompanyGoshen Health Foundation • Don and Theresa Gunden • Geof Landis and Liz Gunden • Ignition Music GarageInn on South 5th • Jojo's Pretzels •  Gordon and Laurie Lord • Maple City MarketMaple Indian Restaurant • Jim and Janet Rieckhoff • Shirley's Gourmet PopcornTable @108Venturi

20th Anniversary of the Festival!