Movies on a Shoestring Inc. produces the Rochester International Film Festival, which claims the distinction of being the world's longest-running festival for short films.
The festival's first screening was in 1959 at the Rochester Public Library, and RIFF moved in 1960 to the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Attendance for the 54th annual festival, held April 19 to 21 this year, was 1,845 for 30 films screened in four shows. A total of 22 filmmakers from seven countries were present.
RIFF is produced by volunteers. Lodging of visiting filmmakers is at private homes, and lunches and dinners are at sponsoring restaurants. The organization has never charged admission to screenings, but many attendees contribute to its "donations accepted" fishbowl.
Films are selected for the festival in a two-step process. Throughout the year, members view entries and offer detailed ratings of each for cinematic quality, technical quality and subject matter. After discussion, voting decides which films advance to final judging. Those that make it through the first round are viewed again by the final judges, who select the year's trophy winners and films to be screened.
RIFF organizers said they take pride in viewing each submission in its entirety and writing a personalized critique letter that includes comments from members who viewed it. Providing a critique for every festival entry is unusual and well-received by filmmakers.
In 1972, RIFF inaugurated Best of the Fest, a collection of films selected as favorites in audience voting. Best of the Fest films are available for viewing without cost by other non-profit organizations and individuals.
Movies on a Shoestring has no office and no employees. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 17746, Rochester, N.Y. 14617, and its website is www.rochesterfilmfest.org.
Financial Record Year ended June 30, 2012
Donations $4,145 33
Transfer from endowment 2,773 22
Film entry fees 2,716 21
Program booklet advertising 2,680 21
T-shirt sales 372 3
Total revenue $12,686 100
Auditorium rental $3,500 28
Equipment purchases 2,679 22
Program layout and printing 2,012 16
Hospitality for filmmakers 1,393 11
Trophies and T-shirts 909 7
Return postage for films 797 6
Administrative fees 508 4
Membership dues 255 2
Web hosting 218 2
Printing of publicity fliers 96 1
Total expenses $12,367 100
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses $319
Board of Directors
Brian Moffitt, president and festival director; biomedical equipment technician, Zoetek Medical Sales & Service Inc.
Daniel Reardon, treasurer; coordinator of media services, West Irondequoit Central School District
Katherine Flynn, secretary; dental hygienist, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester Medical Center
Veronique Cheniaux, critique coordinator; French teacher, Canandaigua City School District
Christopher Dygert; caseworker and counselor, DePaul Community Services Inc.
Donna Hooker, film entries and returns coordinator; retired, West Irondequoit Central School District
Josephine Perini, past president; retired guidance counselor, West Irondequoit Central School District
-Researched by James Leunk
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