A city in the State of Oregon, Ashland is located in Jackson County and has an approximate population of 20,713. Originally called Ashland Mills, the city’s political opinions have sharply contrasted with that of the rest of Southwestern Oregon. Although not a very big city, it hosts two important festivals each year, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) and the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF). Ashland Independent Film Festival occurs for 5 days each year on spring.
A Small City Event
AIFF first started in 2001 with the help of Southern Oregon Film Society, which is a non-profit organization. Their mission is to inspire and educate audiences of all ages from all around the world. It was founded by Steve Wood and D.W, and it takes place in the same venues every year, which are the Varsity Theater and Historic Ashland Armory. Although most of the films are screened in Varsity Theatre, large screenings and special events are screened in Historic Ashland Armory, which is just a short walk away and seats 500 people. The festival was attended by 6,500 people in 2010. The screenings occur every day for 5 days from 9:00 am to 9:30 pm.
The Awards Category
A moderate sized event, it accepts international submissions and encourages locals to participate as well by providing waivers for the entrance fee and by hosting free “Locals Only” programs during the festival. It also encourages all students living in the Southern region of Oregon to participate in filmmaking and to submit their films in the festival, in the hopes that they will be showcased. Some feature films throughout the years were “Stranded” (2007), “Wendy and Lucy” (2009) and “The Forgotten Kingdom” (2013). The festival screens movies of several different genres and varieties, some of which include:
- Student-produced films
Aside from just the film festival, AIFF hosts several other events as well, such as the Opening Night Gala party, art exhibits and lots more. It also hosts events for filmmakers as such as the Q&A sessions after their film screenings, and the after Lounge event where filmmakers get the chance to mingle with their audiences.
As the film festival continues to grow, it attracts more attention every year and it might even attain the goal of becoming the biggest film festival in the Pacific Northwest someday.