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Jury and Audience: Narrative and Documentary Shorts
Varsity 1 Monday, April 10, 2017 - 3:00 pm 

20 minutes
Director: Joe Oppenheimer
Year: 2016
Country: USA

Oregon Premiere

A public defender has minutes to save her 16-year-old client from a life sentence for murder by convincing him to take a plea deal for a crime he only technically committed. To save this boy, she will have to break him. 

Director’s Statement: Joe Oppenheimer 

In the majority of cases I handled as a criminal defense lawyer, a plea was the worst option. This was especially so in juvenile cases concerning opportunistic crimes where youth who lacked a capacity for consequential thinking often also lacked a defense. These kids faced far graver sentences at trial then they could have ever anticipated. At some level I feel complicit in the system that condemns children like this. I had always wanted to make a difference. However, mostly my job was about making the inevitable a certainty.


The Last Leatherman of the Vale of Cashmere
14 minutes
Director: Greg Loser
Year: 2016
Country: USA

Oregon Premiere

Men have always met men in the Vale of Cashmere. An aging man takes an irreverent trip down memory lane as he visits the cruising destination of his youth, tucked away in a corner of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Here amidst the thickets where secrecy once reigned, he contemplates a new world. 

Director’s Statement: Greg Loser 

I’m fascinated by old men. Principally because I’ll be one before long.


Short Documentary
15 minutes
Director: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari
Year: 2016
Country: USA

US Premiere

AIFF alumni filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (T-Rex-AIFF2015; The Bionic Man and The Dog-AIFF2016) tell the inspiring story of Daniel Kish, a blind man who has earned the moniker “the remarkable Batman” by navigating his world of darkness using sound, or echolocating, making clicking sounds in a conversation with his environment. Having taught himself to “see” with sound, he now teaches others to do the same. 

Directors’ Statement: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper 

Drea woke up one morning to a random email. It was from a person in France who had seen our California is a Place series. He read an article about Daniel Kish and thought we might be interested. We quickly read the story and couldn’t believe it. Could someone really teach himself how to echolocate like a bat? How is this even possible? We had to find out. 

Short Docs sponsored by Ashland Home Net/Project A (Jim Teece & Dena Matthews)


Virtual Reality Hands-on Gallery and Docs

Saturday, April 8, 2-5pm | FREE (no ticket required) | ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum

1-2pm & 4-5pm VR Gallery: Experience a sampling of innovative animations created expressly for VR. Available for viewing on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear headsets and suitable for ages 12 and older.

3-4pm Docs on VR:
AIFF2017 filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zack Canepari (Kish) will answer questions and discuss the shooting of their VR doc, Policing Flint, and guide viewers through some of their favorite online VR doc experiences.

Don’t forget to bring your IOS or Android smartphones and earbuds/headphones so we can provide you with VR headsets and help you set up VR apps.


The Tables
Short Documentary
15 minutes
Director: Jon Bunning
Year: 2017
Country: USA

World Premiere

A pair of outdoor ping pong tables draws players from disparate groups to a park in the heart of New York City. From the homeless to investment bankers to gang members—they all come for the love of the game. Playing through wind, dust, or rain, powerful and surprising connections are made and a heartwarming community is formed. 

Director’s Statement: Jon Bunning 

When I discovered the tables, I was immediately drawn to the diverse group of characters who played there, but I connected with one person in particular, an older African American gentlemen who unbeknownst to me at the time was in fact homeless. He had such a captivating personality and was instrumental in helping me make the film.​

Short Docs sponsored by Ashland Home Net/Project A (Jim Teece & Dena Matthews)


  1. JPR
  2. Project A
  3. Ashland HomeNet
  4. Rogue Creamery
  5. Studio AB
  6. SOPTV
  7. Coming Attractions Theatres
  8. Radio Medford
  9. TC Chevy
  10. Ashland Food Co-Op
  11. KDRV
  12. Noble Coffee Roasting
ashland independent film festival

17th Annual AIFF
April 12-16, 2018

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