Photo courtesy of Ashland Independent Film Festival
The 2021 Festival is a “double feature” with online screenings in April and live outdoor screenings in June
Ashland, Oregon — The Ashland Independent Film Festival has released the full schedule for his 20and annual festival presented this year as a “feature film”– online, with most films available coast-to-coast from April 15-29, and live and outdoors in Ashland and Medford from June 24-28. The 2021 AIFF festival will showcase approximately 100 new independent films, including 35 feature films and a dozen short film programs, accompanied by Q&As with filmmakers, virtual parties, mixers and panels.
The 2021 festival kicks off online April 15 with the film’s Northwest premiere filmed in Oregon The water man, the first feature film directed by the actor David Oyelowo, who will receive this year’s AIFF Rogue Award. According to AIFF Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz, “That of the water man The story is set against the backdrop of the wildfires in Oregon, which links the film to the central theme of the festival of “Rebirth from the ashes”, inspired by the devastating Almeda fire that hit our community in 2020.”
The closing film of the festival online, Lily turns the world upside down, won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at South by Southwest in March. It features domino artist and YouTube sensation Lily Heveshone of many iconoclastic female artists highlighted this year “Arts” Track.
The live festival in June kicks off with the North West premiere of Fanny: The right to rock, about the three Filipino American teenagers who formed the fierce and pioneering Californian rock band Fanny in 1969. Founding member of Fanny Brie Howard Darling will perform live, accompanied by the director Bobbi Jo Hart, alumnus of Southern Oregon University at Ashland.
AIFF 2021 Pride Award Recipient Producer Christine Vachon will be honored with a 30and anniversary screening of Poison, join director Todd Haynes and ‘New Queer Cinema’ critic online B. Rich in rubies for a TalkBack panel discussion on the creation and legacy of film. Vachon returns for the closing night of the live festival in June and will be joined by director/writer/lead actor John Cameron Mitchell to celebrate the 20and anniversary of both Hedwig and the Angry Thumb and the Ashland Independent Film Festival in an outdoor screening that also includes a costume party and live music.
The festival also includes a narrative feature competition, with entries this year including Alicia J. Rose’s A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, Mylissa Fitzsimmons All at the end, and more. Narrative features of out-of-competition selection include Summer time, LA slam poetry musical Carlos López Estrada filmed before making Disney’s Raya and the last dragon.
Audiences can preview the full program guide at www.ashlandfilm.org and buy your tickets starting March 31 for members and April 7 for the general public. Most virtual movies are $10 and outdoor screenings are $12, with $2 off for members, seniors, students, and those in financial difficulty, with many programs available for free. Memberships, which support the festival and provide access to exclusive programs year-round, start at $35 and are also available on the festival website.
THEMATIC TRACKS: FEATURE FILMS
Reborn from the ashes : AIFF’s main theme this year is Southern Oregon’s re-emergence from the 2020 wildfires, including the opening film, David Oyelowo’s The water man. Seven short films by regional filmmakers discussing the premiere of Almeda Fire in the Locals section of the Festival, which offers free admission to all. Other titles in this section include environmental films Tracking Chernobyl: Post-Apocalypse Exploration by Iara Lee and 2040; Anchor, on female firefighters; and two documentaries about heroes helping themselves and others out of adversity (Impact, About Medford, Oregon boxing club owner Troy Wohosky and Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel The road up).
Cuba projection: In collaboration with the Schneider Art Museum spring exhibition, Collecting Cuba: Selections from the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (April 6 – June 30), AIFF2021 presents films on Cuban music and dance – Los Hermanos/The Brothers, Sin La Habana, and The Mali-Cuba/Africa Mia connection – plus a new track from Corey MacLean about the rebellious sport of surfing in Cuba, Free Havana. Steve Fagin’s eight-part miniseries Batista syndrome engages Havana in the 1950s and is filled with dance, music and theater. Director Alex Cox will present the Cuban classic I am Cuba, and Cuban director Miguel Coyula will present his controversial documentary Nadie. Professor SOU Robert Arellano will interview Coyula, Fagin and media artist Nelson Ramirez de Arellano (featured in the exhibition) as part of the TalkBack panel discussion titled Screening of Cuba.
Arts: This subject, a frequent source of inspiration for independent filmmakers and the AIFF, is tackled in Cuban art films as well as in three films about iconoclastic women artists: Beth B’s Lydia Lunch: The war is never over, Who is Lun*na Menoh?, and domino artist Lily Hevesh in Jeremy Workman’s Lily turns the world upside down, the closing film of the festival. Artists confront aging by So late, so soon and in me to play, about two actors with Parkinson’s disease playing Beckett.
Activism: Another perennial theme of the AIFF returns with particular emphasis on the rise of youth activism through the movies American gadfly (world premiere), Peter Nicks’ Classroom, At Tracey Deer’s Beans, and Eugene, centered on Oregon, Youth against government. Senior activists also have their due in films Disappeared in Brooks County and Healer: Stan Brock.
2040 (Damon Gameau, Australia, Documentary)
American gadfly (Skye Wallin, USA, Documentary)
Anchor (Holly Tuckett, USA, Documentary)
Beans (Tracey Deer, Canada, narrative)
All at the end (Mylissa Fitzsimmons, USA, Story)
Fanny: the right to rock (Bobbi Jo Hart, USA, Documentary)
Free Havana (Corey McLean, Cuba, Peru, USA)
Hedwig and the Angry Thumb (2001, John Cameron Mitchell, USA, Story)
Los Hermanos/The Brothers (Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider, USA, Documentary)
Classroom (Peter Nicks, USA, Documentary)
I am Cuba (Mikhai Kalatozov, USSR, Cuba, Documentary)
Impact (Jon Lang, USA, Documentary)
In the same breath (Nanfu Wang, China, USA, Documentary)
A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff (Alicia J. Rose, USA, Story)
Lily turns the world upside down (Jeremy Workman, USA, Documentary, 90 minutes)
Lydia Lunch: The war is never over (2019, Beth B, USA, Documentary)
The Mali-Cuba connection / Africa Mia (Richard Minier, Edouard Salier, Cuba/France/Mali, Documentary)
me to play (Jim Bernfield, USA, Documentary)
Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story (Paul Michael Angell, UK, Documentary)
Disappeared in Brooks County (Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss, USA, Documentary)
Nadie (2017, Michael Coyula, Cuba, Documentary)
Poison (1991, Todd Haynes, USA, Story)
The road up (Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel, USA, Documentary)
Sin La Habana (Keveh Nabatian, Canada/Cuba, Story)
Since August (Diana Zuros, USA, Story)
Not much time (Niav Conty, USA, Story)
so late so soon (Daniel Hymanson, USA, Documentary)
Tracking Chernobyl: Post-Apocalypse Exploration (Iara Lee, Ukraine/USA/Bulgaria/Slovakia, Documentary)
Summer time (Carlos López Estrada, USA, Story)
Teddy, out of tune (Daniel Friedman, USA, Story)
Things we dare not do (Bruno Cantamaria, Mexico, Documentary)
The water man (David Oyelowo, USA, Story)
weeds and wine (Rebecca Richman Cohen, USA, Documentary)
Who is Lun*na Menoh?(Jeff Mizushima, USA, Documentary)
Youth against government(Christi Cooper, USA, Documentary)
Short stories 1: On success
Short stories 2: Foreign currencies
Short stories and documentaries: strangers
Short documents 1: What now?
Short Documents 2: Earth
Locals Only 1: Launch the student contest
Premises only 2
Spotlight on Locals: Laney d’Aquino
Local Spotlight: Autie Carlisle
Spotlight on Locals: Rising from the Ashes
Guanajuato: identity and belonging
Batista syndrome (2019, Steve Fagin, Cuba, 140 mins)
Kid Flicks One (2020-21)
Kid Flicks Two (2020-21)
Viva Kid Films (2020-21)
TALKBACK PANEL DISCUSSIONS
A conversation with David Oyelowo (April 17)
Cuba Screening (April 18)
Poison at 30: Vachon/Haynes/Rich (April 25)
Opening night (April 15, 7 p.m.)
Awards night (April 29, 7 p.m.)
Member Mixers/Manufacturers (April 21 and 28, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
AIFF 2021 information at a glance:
About Ashland’s Independent Film Festival
Repeatedly named by MovieMaker magazine as one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” and one of the “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Admission Fee”, Ashland’s independent film festival is usually held annually in April in southern Oregon. AIFF screens over 100 independent documentaries, stories, animations and shorts in its festival and other programs throughout the year in Ashland, which is nestled in the beautiful Rogue River Valley. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AIFF went online for its 19th annual festival, extended its event from five days to 24 days, and was recognized by Smithsonian Magazine and MovieMaker Magazine as having one of the best virtual film festivals.