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History & Mission

Our Mission:  Celebrate the diversity of human experience through the art of independent film by enriching, educating and inspiring all audiences.

Our Vision:  To cultivate the foremost festival experience, recognized throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, for bringing audiences and filmmakers together through a shared appreciation of the power of independent film.

Our Values:  Excellence, Inspiration, Sustainability, Community, Integrity, Inclusion

Our History: The Southern Oregon Film Society was founded in 2001 and produces the nationally acclaimed Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF), as well as educational and cultural programs for more than 10,000 patrons annually. The AIFF's year-round programming includes a curated program of screenings in Ashland and other rural areas of festival favorites and new films. The Launch, the AIFF's free regional student film competition, involves coordinating with more than 150 schools in the six counties of southern Oregon and the Siskiyou region of California. In conjunction with the Portland-based Oregon Film & Video Office and Southern Oregon Film & Media, AIFF acts as a year-round resource for local filmmakers. The AIFF has grown from an all-volunteer organization to one with six year-round and a dozen seasonal staff, governed by an 12-member board and supported by a 13-member advisory council. Each year, more than 370 community members donate 10,000 volunteer hours to complement the efforts of the dedicated staff.

Described as “like Sundance only warmer,” AIFF is the largest independent film festival in Southern Oregon and the Siskiyou region of California. Set in the picturesque town of Ashland (also home to the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival), AIFF provides an intimate setting that allows audience members from our rural area, filmmakers, and industry representatives a rare opportunity to interact over five days at various events including screenings, forums, conversations, educational programs, and informal gatherings. Festival attendees cite the ability to interact with filmmakers as one of the key draws of our festival.

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