Raves & Praise

Filmmakers appreciate the thoughtful feedback, audience reception and warm welcome we offer them!

The Rochester International Film Festival is proud of the feedback it receives from filmmakers, actors and crew members from around the globe. Here we share their unsolicited comments with you, which were submitted in response to their experience with us.

We hope one day you’ll be among them!

We are thrilled to once again be part your festival, with only a 44 year interval!
I believe it was 1976 and it was one of my first 16mm films called The Building.
I was super excited, and I remember that I enjoyed it immensely, and I still have my trophy!
I remember everyone was super nice to me – I was 18 years old at the time and it was all very heady!
It was all great fun!

John Gray
“Extra Innings”

“The 61st ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL gave us a home away from home. It was an absolute privilege to showcase our film ‘TO REMEMBER ME BY’ at the prestigious Dryden Theatre and visit the George Eastman Museum. Our Gratitude to Josephine Perini and the entire team for putting up such a great show not only for the filmmakers but for the audience. All the films screened were Top of Line. We got to visit some extraordinary places and even do a Press Interview. I can’t tell how much this has helped our film. Emails for more International festivals have started pouring in. A special thanks to our wonderful host Cathy Feinen, we love you and all the volunteers. There is no better place to visit and showcase your film then the Rochester International Film Festival. We will eternally be grateful to you all. Hope to return soon with another film.
GO RIFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” –
 Rahoul Daswani
“To Remember Me By”

Attending the 60th Rochester Film Festival was such an honour. It was an exceptional experience. The team behind the festival offered an incredible level of hospitality, organizational skills and clear communication. The screenings were always in a full theatre and the the films selected were very well crafted, thought provoking and international. I would highly recommend submitting your work to RIFF and attending it as well.

Mak Abdelhai


I can’t thank you enough for your amazingly warm hospitality, I really felt at home. I’ll never forget my experience in Rochester with the great RIFF team. Your encouragement gives us the strength to believe more in ourselves and hurry to make a new film to contribute in RIFF again where every single person from audience to organizers appreciates art and encourages talents. Big hugs and kisses and hope to see you again! 🤗😘💐
Joelle Manih
“The Oak Tree”


Before the shine of the festival wears off, we just wanted to take a moment to thank you for making the weekend such a memorable experience for Steve and I. It goes without saying that it was a real pleasure to see our film playing in such a wonderful theater.

But it was just as great getting to meet everyone and enjoy the activities of the weekend. We look forward to future Rochester collaborations and will certainly keep in touch as we create new work!

Andy Ferguson & Steve O’Reilly
“Going Public”



I cannot thank you enough for everything you did to make my time at the festival so enjoyable! Above and beyond hospitality, every step of the way. I know how much work that must have been and it does not go unappreciated.

Your commitment to making the stay, the transportation, the festival experience, the amenities like the museum tours and everything else was truly impressive and inspiring. I look forward to the day I can have another film at the festival, if I’m lucky, and hope to cross paths once again!

All the best,
Conor Chandler Simpson

Thank you so much for the amazing experience at the Rochester Int’l. Film Festival. It was a thrill that so many people turned up to see our little short film. Thank you for all the meals, parties and lively conversation. It was a privilege to be a part of it all!

Rachel Lu


We’ve just returned from the 55th Rochester International Film Festival, which is a thoroughly amazing fest. One of my personal favorites on the circuit. The films curated were a truly impressive slate from all around the world with very distinct and compelling voices.

I always find it inspiring to be touched by the films that come from worlds away. We screened at the historic Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House. It’s a stunning, fully-refurbished, 500-seat theatre. The festival does a great job packing the house. Audience attendance was phenomenal.

There’s something magical that happens when the lights go down and the hush comes over the crowd and the music begins and, if you’re lucky, you get to watch just the movie. Not the work, not the blood, sweat and tears or 18-hour days that went into the making of the damn thing.

We got lucky on this one and saw a beautiful film full of heart and soul. One that looked gorgeous up on the big screen. The audience was audibly engaged with huge gasps during the fight sequence. And when the jokes landed, it was like thunder.

I gotta admit that, when you get to see one of your films at a Prestige Festival such as this one, the 18-hour days don’t seem so crazy. And the blood, sweat and tears are worth it.

Jim Thalman
“The Poker Lesson”


“It all started with a long letter we received informing us of our selection at the Rochester International Film Festival. This festival is unusual in that they inform applicants of whether or not their films have been accepted in a detailed letter explaining the artistic and technical motivations for their decision.

This is such a rare event that we were speechless with amazement! So off we went to Rochester, impatient to meet these people who were so caring and so demanding in their dedication and passion for cinema.

Once we arrived, we discovered the famed Movies On A Shoestring committee, which is composed of enthusiastic, passionate and generous volunteers.

So generous that these people actually provide accommodation and transport for guest directors (as well as actors and crew members who attend) the festival. They bent over backwards many times to ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible for us. And to welcome the large audiences present in the theaters each evening …”

read on: Carnet de voyage. Mathieu Simonet et Julie Vousin


I wanted to offer a very belated thank you for awarding our film an Honorable Mention from your 53rd Annual festival season. It was a unique pleasure corresponding with your committee, as your festival was the only one that we dealt with which truly cared about cinema apart from a puerile business or marketing perspective. You continue to embody what is best in festivals.

The industry should take note of your dedication and commitment to (independent) film, as far too many festivals of all sizes have become simplistic business entities which place films and filmmakers at the bottom of their priorities. Your award means a great deal, knowing that it comes from a festival that is still a festival and from people who still care about films.

Tony Myles


Brian (and friends), I wanted to thank you for such a spectacular time. Aubrey and I had nothing but fun during our stay. It was a pleasure to have my film at such an event. With a Standing Room Only crowd, I might add.

You really made us feel at home, like I just got back from visiting family for the holidays. I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience; you went above and beyond to treat all of us like someone special.

It’s rare to come across a group of people so giving, kind and just plain fun to be around. I know the fest will be around for another 53 years with folks like you behind the wheel.

Bobby Young
“The Squash”


Thx, Josephine. Marita, Sean and I really appreciated your support setting up interviews with the local press before the festival and for the wonderful day at the Kodak Film Production Division and private visit of the Archives at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

We all enjoyed meeting the other filmmakers and the festival judges at the post-festival reception. As the Writer/Director, it was a very rewarding experience to see the film play at the GEH Dryden Theatre to a full house and to know that all the time and effort that went into making the film was well worth it.

Being selected to play at one of the first film festivals we submitted the film to served as a great inspiration to send to other festivals, continue the work and keep making more films.

Kind regards and gratitude,
Anton Zane


I just came back to Florida after several weeks in Israel and was more than happy to get the trophy from Movies On A Shoestring. Thank you again for accepting my film ON THE ROAD TO TEL-AVIV to be part of this wonderful festival. I hope you enjoyed the film and that it created an intercultural dialog. I hope to get the chance to attend the festival in the future.

Best Wishes and many thanks again,

Khen Shalem


I just wanted to thank you and to let you know what a great time I had at the festival. It was such a great audience at my screening and I was so pleased with how they responded to my film. You were great hosts and took great care of all of the filmmakers: from the wonderful programs at Kodak and the Eastman House to the meals and rides and housing you were all able to organize. I really appreciate everything you did and I’m so glad that I got to attend the festival.

Matt S.



I am Jin, “Mr. Vending Machine” director.
I had a good time in Rochester.
And thank you so much.
Can I receive photos about film festival by email?
I want to remember memory spent with you.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to visit Rochester.
And I hope to visit there again next time.
See you.
Jin “오진욱”
S. Korea


I just had to write and tell you what a great experience I had at the Rochester Int’l. Film Festival. I only wish I could’ve stayed longer. The activities you planned were fabulous. The selected films were top notch and the people were wonderful and friendly — I go could on and on! Oh, and you had a fantastic audience for opening night!

Since coming home, I have told everyone about your festival — I wore the T-Shirt to some networking events and got a lot of great comments and questions, which allowed me to talk about the festival. I also spoke about it at length last night at my marketing class with an indie film Casting Director and a number of Actors and Filmmakers.

Thanks again for putting on such a great festival! You deserve kudos!!!

Kathi Carey



Thank you very much for hosting us at the 51st Annual Rochester Int’l. Film Festival. You did a tremendous job! The attention paid to us as filmmakers was unequaled. We enjoyed attending lively screenings with hundreds of audience members, engaging in wonderful conversation, socializing with the other filmmakers and receiving praise each in our own way.

Additionally the tours, meals and services were perfect. You have a unique and intimate festival that certainly must be the best short festival in the world. Not just because of the programming to which I am biased, but because of the services and quality of your efforts to stage a great weekend.

Good luck and I hope to return in the future.

Thank you,
Frank Hall Green
“Firecracker Flower” and “Take Off”


I wanted to let you know what an extraordinary experience Nardeep and I had at Rochester a few weeks ago. The way the festival was organized and scheduled — the dinners, tours, parties and events — were such tremendous fun and so exceptionally rewarding to be a part of. It was really encouraging and educational to meet the other filmmakers and really get to know them and talk to them throughout the festival weekend.

This was one of our first festival experiences and yet Nardeep and I felt so comfortable and at home the entire time. As a first time filmmaker, I cannot even begin to describe how exhilarating the experience was of walking into the breathtakingly beautiful Dryden Theater, seeing it packed with audience members and having my film play out up on the screen. I really cannot thank you enough for the gift of a such a gratfying and memorable moment.

My experience at Rochester has provided me with so much inspiration for the future, I am determined to make two short films this year and I’ve got my fingers crossed that one of them will allow me to attend RIFF again. Finally, I must mention how thankful Nardeep and I are for all of the festival organizers’ kindness, generosity and hospitality.

We are especially grateful to Cathy F. for letting us stay in her beautiful home and play with her awesome, awesome dog.

Suraj Das


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