The 7th Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival is underway! Don't miss what LA Weekly calls the "almost-perfect blend of programming, audience and location."
You can still purchase tickets online for films at the AIFF Web site. You can also go to the box office at the art-deco Varsity Theatre on Main Street. There's a lot going on, although, alas, no official Bruce Campbell screenings or events. Besides the films and the late-night discussions at The Black Sheep, the official after-lounge of the AIFF, tonight at the Awards dinner, the 2008 AIFF Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to "the dean of documentary filmmakers" Albert Maysles. He will bring his classic documentaries Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, and his new film The Gates to the festival this year. (I saw The Gates when I lived in NYC and it was amazing.) Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt showed her directoral debut Then She Found Me yesterday and will receive the 2008 AIFF Rogue Award.
Widely known as one of the best small indie film festivals in the country, the AIFF recently received a prestigious grant from the Academy Award of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was the only festival in the Northwest and only one of twenty in the U.S. to receive one.
I was on the advisory board of the festival this year. I would have liked to have done a lot more, but I did manage to do a couple of things, including donating my own money and bringing Musician's Friend on as a local sponsor for the first time. And just my luck, I have been fighting a nasty Spring cold for a week and am still sick--not good for being in a theatre or anything else for that matter. I had hoped to make it to the event tonight but it's not looking good.
Nonetheless, I'm glad to have played even a tiny role in AIFF's festivities this year. It seems to specialize in showing interesting documentaries and is a wonderful part of the Ashland culture. It's really nice to be in a place as small as Ashland that still has fun things to do. DVD Talk visited the festival last year and said "With strong programming, an extremely supportive audience, and a charming small town (with a world class Shakespeare festival), it's an excellent festival choice for people who can't imagine dealing with a larger fest like Sundance or SXSW." We don't have too many goodie bags for the celebs, but we do have a lot of heart. :)