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Richmond film festival founder: ‘Richmond inspires me everyday’

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RICHMOND, Va. -- For Heather Waters sleep is hard to come by these days.

“It is insane this past week,” says Heather. “I have way too many emails these days. Probably 400 to 500 a day.”

It's crunch time and Heather wouldn’t want it any other way. Heather is the founder of The Richmond International Film Festival, which has grown to become one of the most popular film festivals on the East Coast.

In six years the Richmond International Film Festival has grown from 15 movies to 150; it kicks off Monday night with a performance from Trap Music Orchestra at the Sound of Music studios. [Click here for the Richmond International Film and Music Festival Guide]

“I really feel like I am called to do this. This is what I’ve done since I was young,” says Heather.

Heather Waters is familiar with many parts of show business, having acted, directed and written.

Heather Waters is familiar with many parts of show business, having acted, directed and written.

The director, actress, writer and former model is harnessing the creative energy flowing through the River City.

“Richmond inspires me every day,” says Heather.

RIFF provides established and emerging and filmmakers another platform to showcase their work.

“Interestingly we have had so many submissions from so many people around the world. I love that,” says Heather.

Performing in front of and behind the camera is a dream come true for the Nashville native.

“I think my first performance was when I was about five,” says Heather.

Heather was bitten early by the movie bug hard.

Waters started the film festival a year after she moved to Richmond

Waters started the film festival a year after she moved to Richmond

“What I enjoy doing if I am not at a music event you will catch me at home or a movie theatre catching a film,” says Heather. “I lose myself in the experience. It transports me to a magical place. Someplace very different.”

Heather’s favorite type of film?

“I’m an action girl so it would be “Braveheart”. I love action.”

The 45-year-old mother of one has dreams of RIFF growing to be as popular as Cannes and Sundance. [Click here to read more about the film festival itself]

“You believe in a vision and you go for it. It fuels my creativity and gives me energy every day.”

The festival has expanded and now includes a music showcase, and 150 films.

The festival has expanded and now includes a music showcase, and 150 films.

Back at her apartment in The Fan, Heather’s passion hangs in her hallway in the form of movie posters.

“This. Mighty Joe Young is where I got my SAG card when I was living out in LA.”

Posters from favorite movies and past festival are a constants source of inspiration.

“These are definitely chapters in my life,” says Heather.

As the lights dim and curtain rises on the next festival, Heather Waters will write yet another chapter in her life. A life defined by the arts.

“I don’t like limitations and I just want to express myself and I want other people around me to have the freedom to do that too,” she says.

This year Heather is incorporating live music at several venues across the city. The film part of the Richmond International Film Festival begins February 27 and runs through March 5th. The films are shown at The Byrd Theatre and Bow Tie Cinemas.

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READ ALSO: 

Click here for the Richmond International Film and Music Festival Guide

Click here to read more about the film festival itself