The Ashland Independent Film Festival is generally two weeks in April of the highest quality independent film in this historic town the Washington Post called "a dream you'll never want to leave."
Every Spring, Southern Oregon is buzzing with the excitement of the AIFF. Over 7,000 film lovers gather at the Varsity, the Historic Ashland Armory, and other venues to watch over 100 documentary, feature, and short films in five days. Filmmakers from around the world engage with audiences after each screening and at festival events such as Opening Night Bash and Awards Celebration.
The festival offers several general and audience awards for documentary and narrative features and shorts, plus special awards to illustrious honorees such as the Rogue and Pride Awards. Special guests have included Chris Cooper, Lynn Shelton, James Ivory, Ty Burrell, Albert Maysles, Barbara Kopple, Helen Hunt, and Bruce Campbell. The festival typically features its Oregon connections with filmmakers such as Klamath Falls native James Ivory and Jacksonville resident Bruce Campbell ("My Name is Bruce," 2007).
This year we are planning on some exciting live and outdoor events during the Summer and beyond.
The AIFF's year-round programming includes Varsity World Film Week(s) in the Fall and Best of the Fests, featuring highlights from the recent AIFF and other festival hits that screen in Ashland, Medford, Eugene, and other Oregon cities. 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.
AIFF LEARN encompasses an array of year-round educational programs including TeenPress, OLLI Goes to AIFF, School Group Visits, Festival In the Schools, TalkBacks, LAUNCH, and Family Day at ScienceWorks.
"The Ashland Independent Film Festival is one of those regional gems that gives me faith and hope for the future of independent cinema. Great town, great people, great atmosphere, great movies, great everything!"
Michael Tully, Director, PING PONG SUMMER
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 non-profit 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.
SOFS was founded by Steve Wood (Executive Director), D.W. Wood (Creative Director) and Pokii Roberts (Founding Board Member), with support from John C. Schweiger, Coming Attractions Theaters (Founding Advisor and Benefactor). They established what are now AIFF traditions including free forums and screenings, strong ties with Southern Oregon University, gallery exhibits, and a focus on independent film at our home base, the beautiful art-deco Varsity Theater.
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.
AIFF Stands with #BlackLivesMatter
AIFF stands with all people of color in the fight against racism, injustice and inequality.
While we continue to use our platform to elevate, illuminate, and amplify the voices of people of color, AIFF will strive to expose, confront and work to change structural and institutional racism, both within and without our organization.
AIFF encourages its staff, patrons and supporters to take independent and collaborative action toward an actively anti-racist and more equitable future in the Rogue Valley and beyond. Action can include contacting elected officials, engaging with anti-racist educational content, making a donation to one of the many organizations working to support those in the fight against racial injustice, and more.
We welcome your input and participation as we work to develop additional programming directly related to anti-racist art and education and the movement to dismantle existing racist structures in our communities.