But an exciting solution is at hand! AIFF has found the ideal venue to help us achieve our goals on Ashland’s Main Street. Not only will the new 2,000 sq ft facility, which we are naming the AIFF Film Center, offer expanded office space for staff and business operations, it will accommodate on-site engagement opportunities that we and our partners envision, including:
- a multi-use room that can accommodate close to 75 people offering, in the near future, year-round screenings, workshops, classes, and receptions
- a Festival Hub offering information, programs, and lounge and conversation areas for members and volunteers during our festivals;
- a new media gallery exhibiting works by media artists and local students, with openings on First Fridays.
Key to our growth is transforming AIFF into a year-round media arts center – a lively educational and cultural organization with ongoing programs that supplement the April festival, our main event. Year-round film programs, including Varsity World Film Week and “Best of the Fests” screenings in Ashland, Medford, and Eugene, have been expanding in recent years, and high attendance and audience comments convey a clear desire for more independent film offerings. In our region, there is a hunger for the diverse cultural and international voices and artistic experimentation provided by independent film. The “live” experience that AIFF offers every April through filmmaker Q&A’s and animated conversations in theater lines (which contributes to the citation by 42% of survey respondents that “Sense of Community” is the festival’s greatest feature), is desired and needed throughout the year
The highly visible center on Main Street, scheduled to open February 1, will inform Ashland downtown visitors about our festival and year-round programs, encouraging return visits and building new audiences. Our new location, adjacent to the Ashland Art Center and close to the Ashland Library and SOU, will increase both our visibility and the opportunity to forge new collaborations.
For us, this move is more than changing cramped offices for a better and more efficient operational headquarters. With the help of our supporters, we can envision a new future for AIFF.