VARSITY WORLD FILM WEEK(S)
September 17 to 23 LIVE • September 24 to 30 VIRTUAL
Heather Barta, CuPrum Creative
THE ASHLAND INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES THE RETIREMENT OF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR RICHARD HERSKOWITZ
ASHLAND, Ore. – The Ashland Independent Film Festival announces that at the end of October, Richard Herskowitz will retire from his position as Artistic Director in conjunction with his move back to the East Coast. From there, he will continue to work with AIFF as curator of special programs, including organizing “live cinema” programs for AIFF2022 (April 14-28) that bridge film with live music, theater, and visual arts.
“This move is the next stage of my semi-retirement, having given up last year the executive part of my former Artistic and Executive Director role at AIFF,” Herskowitz noted. “My recent trip back to the East Coast persuaded my wife and me that we want to be closer to our families. But I’m thrilled that I’ll be remaining a part of the AIFF team and that the festival is offering me opportunities to present the unique ‘live cinema’ programs that are my greatest curatorial passion.”
AIFF’s new Executive Director Phil Busse adds, “Along with the multi-arts programs like the Schneider Museum media installations and live music and film shows that are so memorable, Richard’s legacy to AIFF includes a major expansion of its educational offerings, including Teen Press. Before he leaves, Richard will launch the next phase of AIFF’s educational expansion, hosting the first 4-week class in our monthly film appreciation series in the AIFF Film Center on Ashland's East Main Street.
Herskowitz will also program and host his seventh and final World Film Weeks, which this year will be hybrid—both live and virtual. World Film Weeks will kick off and run for one week at the Varsity Theater in Ashland from September 17 to 23 and continue for a second week on AIFF’s virtual festival channel at Eventive.com from September 24 to 30. The program will be unveiled on August 25 in a preview presentation conducted online by Herskowitz at ashlandfilm.org.
Herskowitz came to Ashland in 2015 as Director of Programming and programmed his first Ashland Independent Film Festival in 2016. He moved into the position of Artistic and Executive Director in early 2017, shifting to Artistic Director in July of 2020. His film programming career began at Cornell Cinema, where he screened over 500 films annually from 1982 to 1994. He moved from film societies to film festivals when he became director of the Virginia Film Festival (1994-2008), and then Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival (2008-18). Herskowitz also maintained parallel careers as curator of media arts for the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, and as a film lecturer at Ithaca College, the University of Virginia, and the University of Oregon.
About Ashland Independent Film Festival
Cited by MovieMaker Magazine several times as one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” and one of the “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” the Ashland Independent Film Festival is usually held annually in April in Southern Oregon. AIFF screens 100-plus independent documentary, narrative, animation, and short films in its festival and other year-round programs in Ashland, which is nestled in the beautiful Rogue River Valley. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, AIFF moved online for its 19th annual festival, extended its five-day event to 24 days, and was recognized by Smithsonian Magazine and MovieMaker Magazine as having one of the best virtual film festivals.