The River Bend Film Festival, Goshen, Indiana

Thursday, October 1 – Saturday, October 3, 2020

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Welcome to the River Bend Film Festival!



You choose how you want to see the Festival this year! Each day is divided into blocks of film, workshops, and other events. You can purchase passes for individual blocks, a pass for all the short film blocks, or a pass for the entire Festival.

Block Passes | $8

Get passes for individual film blocks by clicking on the links below in the Festival Schedule.

Each Festival block is $8.

Click the ‘Get Block Pass / Login’ button to see further details for each block.

Short Films Pass | $35

Get access to all 7 short film blocks. The short film blocks pass is $35. This pass does not include our Feature Films or other events.

Festival Pass | $50

Get a River Bend Film Festival Pass and gain access to everything! This pass covers all the short film blocks, our feature films, panels, workshops, and special events! This is the best option for experiencing all River Bend has to offer.

Get an RBFF T!

Get Festival Gear!

Even though we can’t meet in person you don’t want to miss this yearly tradition.

RBFF 2020 Schedule

Thursday, October 1

Welcome to the River Bend Film Festival, Goshen, Indiana


6:30 p.m. | Free

The RBFF team welcomes you to the 19th Annual Festival!

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Love Hurts

Shorts Block: Love Hurts

7 p.m. | $8

Ah, the keen sting of love. These 10 short films explore love and all its ups and downs.

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: A Walk on the Dark Side

Shorts Block: A Walk on the Dark Side

9 p.m. | $8

Explore the darker side of things in this block of 7 short films.
Not suitable for young audiences.

Friday, October 2

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Documentary

Shorts Block: Documentary

11 a.m. | $8

Documentaries bring insight into so many aspects of life. Learn and grow with us during this block of 6 documentary shorts.

River Bend Film Festival Actors Workshop

Workshop: Actors Workshop

1 p.m. | $8

What you need to know about professional acting. This seminar will give you ideas for finding an agent, headshots, and answer questions such as: What should I have on my resume? What should I expect of an agent? What should an agent expect from me? Do I need to spend $2500 on classes in order to get an agent? What do I need to do to join SAG-AFTRA? What does my career need to look like prior to joining?

Bring your questions to this interactive conversation with SAG-AFTRA Chicago Director of TV/Theatrical, Kathy Byrne.

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Student Films

Shorts Block: Student Films

3 p.m. | $8

9 inspiring short films created by student filmmakers. 

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Facing the World

Shorts Block: Facing the World

6 p.m. | $8

Take a deep breath, muster some courage, and jump into this block of 10 short films.

River Bend Film Festival Panel: Angelo Pizzo Reflects on Rudy

Panel: Angelo Pizzo reflects on Rudy

8 p.m. | $8

Originally released in 1993, Rudy tells the story of an underdog striving to accomplish his goal of playing football for Notre Dame University. Writer and producer Angelo Pizzo joins festival Moderator David Kendall to talk about his creative process for this film as well as the legacy and connection this region has to the film.

River Bend Film Festival Feature: Let's Scare Jessica to Death

Feature Film: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

10 p.m. | $8

Director: John D. Hancock (1971)

Newly released from a mental ward, Jessica (Zohra Lampert) hopes to return to life the way it was before her nervous breakdown. But when Jessica moves to a country house with her husband (Barton Heyman) and a close friend (Kevin O’Connor), she finds a mysterious girl living in there who may or may not be a vampire. Jessica’s terror and paranoia resurface as evil forces surround her, making her wonder: Are the visions real or is she slipping back into madness?

Retrospective with Director John D. Hancock before the film.

Saturday, October 3

River Bend Film Festival Coffee Talk Hosted by Dave and Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall

Coffee Talk: Hosted by Dave and Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall

10 a.m. | Free

Bring your own coffee and join us on Zoom to network and talk film!

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Variety Town

Shorts Block: Variety Town

12 p.m. | $8

A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Surely there’s something for you in this block of 10 short films!

River Bend Film Festival Workshop: Make-up for Zoom

Workshop: Make-up for Zoom

2 p.m. | $8

Join professional film make-up artist Sarah Elizabeth as she shows you the best techniques for presenting yourself on Zoom. The workshop will take a fun turn as she creates “Zoombie” looks for Halloween.

River Bend Film Festival Shorts Block: Indiana Filmmakers

Shorts Block: Indiana Filmmakers

3:30 p.m. | $8

This shorts block of 10 films keeps things Hoosier-based, featuring all Indiana filmmakers.

River Bend Film Festival Panel: The Shade Shepherd Team

Panel: The Shade Shepherd Team

4:30 p.m. | $8

Join writer and actor Jordon Hodges, writer and director Chris Faulisi, actor Randy Pence, and actor and producer Brett Baker as they talk with festival Director Adrienne Nesbitt about their film The Shade Shephard (2019). They will discuss the process of conceptualizing, writing, and creating a film as well as their experience shooting a film in the Michiana area.

River Bend Film Festival Feature: The Girls of Summer

Feature Film: Girls of Summer

6 p.m. | $8

Director: John D. Hancock (2020)

After her two younger sisters leave home, Maren — Midwest sod farmer by day, drummer by night — is left alone to take care of her depressed, narcotic-abusing father. Eventually recognizing her unhappiness, Maren’s father insists she pursue her dreams of becoming an Americana musician. This realization encourages Maren to join the band of legendary country star, Luke Thomas. While on tour with Luke’s band, Maren falls in love with him. During a show, Maren performs a love song she has written specifically for Luke. His shocking response to her declaration of love sets unforeseeable events into motion. When the dream is bigger than you, will you rise to meet it? When the past wants to own your future, will you let it? When life sends you in another direction, will you choose to accept your fate? While staying true to herself and holding her family together, Maren must face the past in order to move forward.

Welcome to the River Bend Film Festival, Goshen, Indiana

River Bend Film Festival Awards

8 p.m. | Free

Join us as we present 8 special awards to this year’s filmmakers to close out the Festival.

The RBFF Team

Thanks to these folks for their hard work putting this festival together!

Tim Richardson, Founder
Gina Leichty, Producer
Adrienne Nesbitt, Director
Jordon Hodges, Programming Director
Taylor Stansberry, Programming Coordinator
Kyle Hufford, Videographer
Carrie Lee Bland Kendall, Head Emcee
David Kendall, Head Moderator
Ben Stutzman, Website/Marketing
Amber Burgess, Goshen Theater
Jerry Peters, Technical Support
Maddie Yost, Social Media/Marketing
Scott Weisser, Media/Writer
James Korn, Graphic Designer
Riley Mills, Programmer
Andrew Borntrager, Programmer
Elizabeth Derstine, Programmer
David Leaman-Miller, Programmer
Dave Orvis, Script Competition Coordinator
David Boyer, Script Judge
Chris Waite, Script Judge
Rose Waldschmidt, Script Judge
Donald Kopis, Script Judge
Rose Orvis, Script Judge
Ed Ernstes, Script Judge
Barbara Devereaux, Script Judge
Steve Freeto, Emcee
Yolo Lopez, Emcee
Michele Fanfair-Steury, Emcee

River Bend Film Festival Regional Film Jury

Tom Shelly
Kyle Hufford
Carrie Lee Bland Kendall
Tim Richardson
Tim Shelly

River Bend Film Festival Industry Film Jury

#GoRBFF Leila DjansiLeila Djansi
A BAFTA/LA Award winning writer, director, and producer, Leila Djansi began her filmmaking career in Ghana at the age of 19 with the Ghana Film Company. She subsequently moved to the United states to study film at the Savannah College of Art and Design on an Artistic Honors Scholarship.

Her 2009 directorial debut I Sing of a Well netted an unprecedented 11 nominations at the African Academy Awards, winning the special Jury Award for Overall Best Film. She followed up with the Black Reel Awards nominated Ties That Bind, starring Kimberly Elise (Confirmation, John Q) in 2012.

Her film, Like Cotton Twines, explores issues of modern day slavery and won the best narrative feature at the 2016 Savannah film festival, winning the same category at the River Bend Film Festival in 2017. Her other credits include Where Children Play with Grammy Winner Macy Gray, the UNiFEM advocacy film Sinking Sands and the LA Film Festival Best Episodic Television Show 40 and Single for AMC’s Urban Movie Channel.

Leila Djansi has been recognized by various international organizations for continuously using her art to bring light to women’s issues, and she has consistently made movies for women and about women, whiles employing diversity behind and in front of the camera.

RBFF 2020 Festival Guests • Brett BakerBrett Baker
Veteran film and television actor Brett Baker has worked opposite some of Hollywood’s most noted actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Crudup, Chad Coleman, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jason Bateman, Dermot Mulroney, Nicolas Cage, Peter Weller, and Jon Voight.

His stage work includes performances at The Mark Taper and The John Ford Theater. Between solo acting gigs, Baker produced original sketch comedy at the Comedy & Magic Club, The Improv, The Ice House, and The Comedy Store.

In 2006, he formed Luck up Studios to produce Broken, an 11 track solo album, which he recorded in his living room.

An actor by trade and a producer at heart, Baker formed B2 Entertainment, LLC to facilitate, The Shade Shepherd, his first producing effort behind the camera with producing partner Jordon Hodges. Baker plays a cameo appearing as Styx, the salty harmonica playing boat captain.

#GoRBFF Stephen SuscoStephen Susco
With a professional career spanning 25 years, Stephen has written for a variety of acclaimed directors and producers, including Mike Nichols (The Graduate), Taylor Hackford (Ray), Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), Michael Bay (Transformers), and Marvel Comics.

Stephen’s first produced feature film, The Grudge, was produced by legendary director Sam Raimi. With a budget under $10M, it grossed nearly $200 million worldwide in its theatrical release. It remains one of the most financially successful horror films of all time.

Four of his films – The Grudge 1 & 2, The Possession, and Texas Chainsaw 3D – placed #1 at the U.S. box office, and two others (Red, starring Brian Cox, and High School, with Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis) premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Beyond the Reach, a thriller he developed and produced with Michael Douglas, premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival.

His directorial debut, Unfriended: Dark Web, was produced by horror maven Jason Blum (Get Out, The Purge, Insidious, Split, Paranormal Activity), premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. It became a New York Times’ Critic’s Pick and was a selection in the New York Times’ “standout films” list, lauded as “an exhilarating take on one of the most intriguing and terrifying aspects of our current culture”, and was included on many “Best Of” horror lists for the year.

He is currently developing a horror comedy for Will Ferrell, a true-story thriller for Ben Stiller, and a branching narrative feature for Netflix.

#GoRBFF - Beth GrantBeth Grant
Raised in the South, Beth Grant moved frequently as a child and enjoys claiming several towns and cities in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina as home. She was a Page in the North Carolina Senate, attended the North Carolina Governor’s School for Gifted and Talented students, and received a governor’s appointment at the age of nineteen.

Grant was president of the East Carolina University College Democrats for two years, receiving the Outstanding College Democrat Award from then Senator Edmund Muskie. She is a graduate of ECU with a BFA in Acting and Directing.

One of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, she has starred in over seventy feature films including this year’s Best Picture Academy Award nominated Little Miss Sunshine (2006). She delighted in creating the character you love to hate, Pageant Official Jenkins, making Grant the happy recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast In A Feature Film.

Other popular studio pictures include Rock Star (2001), The Rookie (2002), Matchstick Men (2003), Rain Man (1988), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994), To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), and Speed (1994).

Grant has appeared in over thirty plays from Los Angeles to New York including two productions at The Ahmanson, William Inge’s Picnic (with Jennifer Jason Leigh), and Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke (with Christopher Reeve) under the direction of Circle Rep’s Marshall W. Mason. She has created roles in the world premieres of Holy Ghosts by Romulus Linney, On A Southern Journey by Maya Angelou, The Day Emily Married by Horton Foote, Sordid Lives, and The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife by Del Shores.

Grant is a recipient of The Los Angeles Drama Critics Award and The L.A. Stage Alliance Award and The Backstage West Garlan Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Del Shores’ The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife.

On television, Grant was a favorite on the Six Feet Under (2001) episode, Six Feet Under: In Case of Rapture (2004). This season, she married then cheated on Jason Lee on My Name Is Earl (2005). She has been a regular or recurred on many television shows including Malcolm in the Middle (2000), King of the Hill (1997), Yes, Dear (2000), Everwood (2002), Delta (1992), and Wonderfalls (2004).

She has guest-starred in hundreds of hit television series such as Friends (1994), The X-Files (1993), Angel (1999) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000). Grant starred in Tony Hillerman’s A Thief of Time (2004), produced by Robert Redford (PBS), The Image (1990) with Albert Finney (HBO), Switched at Birth (1991), and Fall from Grace (1990) (NBC). Grant has produced documentaries, comedy reviews, and television; she has run a theatre company, raised money for schools and was a celebrity coordinator for Jimmy Carter’s first presidential campaign. But what she really loves to do is act. Grant is a student of Milton Katselas at The Beverly Hills Playhouse. She is married to actor Michael Chieffo, they have one child, Mary Chieffo.

2019 RBFF Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Film & Friend of the Fest
John D. Hancock, Director, Writer

Best Documentary
This Is Love | Executive Producer, Shawn Rhodes, Crook and Nanny Productions

Best Director
Max Powers | Don’t Be Nice | Bowery Poetry Studios, Radio Drama Network, Bowery Arts and Science, Flatbush Pictures, Juno Films

Upstream Spotlight
Cole Sibus | Spare Room | Director Jenica Bergere, 285 Pictures, Glade Production, Lesson 1 Entertainment

Best Actress
Piercey Dalton | Duke

Best Actor
David Sterne | Granbad | Director Annabel Vine, Mordue Pictures, Wax Films

Best Short Documentary
My Indiana Muse | Directors Jen Serena, Ric Serena

Best Short Film | Live Action
ASIA A | Director Andrew Reid

Best Animation
My Grandfather’s Memory Book | Director Colin Levy

Best Studio Screenplay
Perry | R. J. Watson

Best Independent Screenplay
The Lease of Nature | Anderson “Drew” Boyd

See photos from the 2019 Festival

RBFF Interviews

Chris Overton • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Chris Overton

Shubhashish Bhutiani • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Shubhashish Bhutiani

Rachel Shenton • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Rachel Shenton

Stephen Susco • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Stephen Susco

Zachary Spicer • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Zachary Spicer

Sam Miro • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Sam Miro

Beth Grant • River Bend Film Festival Interview

Beth Grant

Leila Djansi • River Bend Film Festival Interview
Leila Djansi

Official 2020 Film Fest Countdown








2020 River Bend Film Festival Sponsors

2020 River Bend Film Festival Sponsors

This project is made possible by the support of the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.