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14 minutes
Director: Lauren Smitelli
Year: 2015
Country: USA
Thu 3:10 PM RUSH , Fri 9:10 PM RUSH , Sat 12:10 PM RUSH , Sat 9:10 PM RUSH , Sun 09:40 AM RUSH , Mon 10:10 AM , Mon 3:10 PM RUSH

A young woman stifled by her future sets out to find someone from her past. She soon realizes that the journey she’s embarked on might be more complicated than she imagines. [mature, subtitles]
Director’s Statement: Lauren Smitelli
A nasty saleswoman once tried to convince me I couldn’t run a marathon, even though I was in her shoe store to buy sneakers. I was already annoyed, also slightly embarrassed, and then I realized that there was someone else there who I didn’t feel like speaking to. So I ran. And kept running. For way too long. What should have been me “getting a feel for the shoe” turned into a much bigger deal. Afterwards, I thought it was so terribly funny that I wanted to try and build a dramatic story off of that exact moment of shock, embarrassment, and awkwardness.

Plays with:

Christmas, Again 
80 minutes
Director: Charles Poekel
Year: 2014
Country: USA

Noel returns to New York City hoping to put the past year behind him. Heartbroken, he spends the holidays working the night shift at a sidewalk Christmas tree lot and living in a trailer, not getting much sleep. He is bad-tempered and self-destructive until one strange night, when he comes to the aid of a mysterious woman. She and a free-flowing group of colorful customers rescue him from despair. Thoughtful and delicate, the film follows Noel on his lonesome search for hope and companionship while observing the holiday season from a new and unconventional perspective.
Director’s Statement: Charles Poekel
It was 2009 when I first thought of making a film about a Christmas tree stand. I was living in Brooklyn and witnessed for the first time the ways in which New Yorkers embraced these temporary residences. I interviewed a few vendors and even volunteered at selling trees, but I felt like I was only scratching the surface, so I decided to open my own stand. This way I could learn the ins and outs to write the screenplay, control my main location, and even use the profits to fund the film. I ran the stand for three years part-time. The fourth year, we made the film. Our actors took turns selling trees, takes were interrupted for customers, and even a few customers made their way into the film. The whole process was very organic.
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ashland independent film festival

17th Annual AIFF
April 12-16, 2018

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