The “Rising from the Ashes” award is our newest prize, to be given to a student filmmaker in our annual Launch competition whose work addresses the summer’s tragic fires and their aftermath. The award comes with $400 and the promise of a screening in our April 15-29 virtual festival.
LAUNCH is one of AIFF’s educational programs, all of which are collected under the banner AIFF LEARN. You can read about them here. As film festivals mature, their educational mission – developing the media literacy of audiences (so that they appreciate and demand better cinema!) and the media production skills of aspiring filmmakers—becomes more pronounced. The Sundance Film Festival, for example, is intertwined with the Sundance Institute, which offers so many workshops, residencies, and mentorships for independent filmmakers that you will often find the Institute’s logo at the end of the films we and other film festivals screen.
“Rising From the Ashes” is one of the major tracks in next April’s festival. This track can be seen as the inevitable, belated successor to our 2019 theme, “Apocalypse.” I am already searching for films addressing rebuilding after climate and other disasters. A terrific one called 2040 from Australia, an informative and optimistic look at solutions to climate change that is especially geared towards younger people, is one likely contender. It was brought to my attention by Jana Carole, our Education Coordinator, who caught it in the recent Chicago Children’s Film Festival. Another great find, which I caught in the recent DOC NYC festival, is Youth Vs. Gov, about the Eugene, Oregon-based lawsuit launched by children against our government’s willful negligence of climate information and these kids’ futures.
Thank you for your support of our year-end campaign, which will help us sustain and build our growing AIFF LEARN and exhibition programs!