The 20th Annual Festival Will Be a Double Feature!
Last year’s decision to move the spring festival to a virtual platform was made rapidly, with trepidation, and a sense of urgency. We had to find a way to showcase the extraordinary work of the filmmakers we had selected and our own hard work compiling the program. The festival was a remarkable success, and we received many comments from viewers, conveyed a bit guiltily, that they thought the quality of the Q&As, the stretched-out scheduling of the films, and even the parties, had advantages over the usual physical event. But, overall, our survey comments confirmed how much people missed the “sense of community” that our lines, lobbies, and volunteers add to the movie-watching experience. Audiences and organizers alike hoped for the traditional festival’s return.
Along with other festivals planning their upcoming events, we know that the public health situation won’t allow us to present our standard film festival in theaters this April. However, like many other festivals, we’re looking at making our 20th annual festival a hybrid festival this spring that is both virtual and physical. We are planning to make this hybrid festival into two separate events: a “double feature” with the virtual event running April 15-29 on our Eventive virtual channel and the physical event running five nights outdoors, June 24-28. In cooperation with ScienceWorks we will create an outdoor screening area in the field facing their building. Our other venue will be the Walkabout Brewery in Medford, where we held a smash screening of The Weight of Water, with an audience of over 100 folks wearing glowing Bluetooth headsets last September. And at the Schneider Museum of Art, an exhibition of Cuban art will include media installations co-presented by our festival.
The full program of both festivals will be released on March 24 at a virtual Preview Night, along with a conversation with festival programmers open to all members. The festival will present approximately 100 new independent feature and short films, narrowed down from a pool of over 600 submissions by a team of 20 screeners and programmers. In addition to our traditional emphases on the subjects of activism and the arts, there will be a special focus on the theme of “Rising From the Ashes,” in recognition of Southern Oregon’s emergence following a summer of devastating wildfires. All films will be accompanied by Q&A’s and supplemented with virtual parties and mixers bringing filmmakers and audiences together.
We’re excited about our whole year-long series of events that will culminate with this 20th anniversary “double feature” festival. The monthly “Best of the Fests” series that launched in October, on the heels of our successful virtual World Film Weeks, continues this month with two magnificent films offering black perspectives on contemporary African-American urban life—Through the Night and 17 Blocks..
We fervently hope that all past, current, and prospective members will join us. The new membership campaign starts next Tuesday, so watch your inbox for more information.
Below: AIFF's 20th Anniversary Poster