September 2015 News

It's here! The 26th Annual Varsity World Film Week (VWFW) begins this week, and includes 12 films from 10 countries, filmmaker Q&As, LIVE music, and more! Our latest Sponsor Spotlight features our co-presenter of VWFW: Coming Attractions Theatres. Also, submissions to AIFF16 are open now, and memberships are available. Please note: the Film Festival Flashback is taking a break this month so we can concentrate on VWFW, but will be back in the next newsletter.


AIFF & Coming Attractions Theatres present:

26th Annual Varsity World Film Week, October 2-8

12 Films representing 10 countries!

A celebration of independent cinema from around the world. Films screen in 4 blocks every day — 12 screenings a day — beginning at 12:50pm. Buy tickets in advance or just come to the Varsity before showtime.

Visit our Varsity World Film Week web page for details, including synopses, reviews, and trailers. Pick up a brochure at the Varsity box office or download a brochure (PDF).


New Discount Passport Available

Purchase a Varsity World Film Week Passport good for six films!

New this year, Varsity World Film Week Passports cost $40 for the general public or only $35 for AIFF Members and Senior/Student/Child/Military w/active ID. Become an AIFF member to take advantage of Varsity World Film Week discounts and more. Sign up on our website today. Use your Passport to buy tickets for you or a family member or friend, and you can buy as many punch cards as you like! Passport discount cards may only be purchased in person at the Varsity Box Office

Individual film tickets, without a Passport, are $8.50 for the general public or $7 for AIFF Members and Senior/Student/Child/Military w/active ID.

All Passports and tickets available now at the Varsity Box Office.

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Films, Filmmakers, Live Music!

Live Music
NAFSLocal trio The New Autonomous Folksingers will perform on First Friday from 5:30-6:30pm down the street from the Varsity, in front of the old Black Swan theater. Plus MORE live music inside the Varsity before all three Saturday early evening films The Look of Silence, A Woman Like Me, and The Winding Stream: The Carters, Cashes and the Course of Country Music, beginning at 6:10pm, so come early to get your seats! Better yet, buy your tickets in advance at the Varsity Box Office.

Listen to the band's latest tune.

Special Guests & Events
  • The Winding Stream director, Beth Harrington, will be here in Ashland for Q&As following two screenings—Saturday October 3rd at 6:50pm & Sunday, October 4th at 12:50pm.
  • Jeremy Teicher, director of Tall as the Baobab Tree, will be here for Q&As following the Friday, October 2nd screening at 6:50pm, and the Saturday, October 3rd screening at 12:50pm.
  • A Woman Like Me filmmaker, Elizabeth Giamatti, will hold a Q&A via Skype following the Thursday, October 8th screening at 4:10pm. We invite you to attend Elizabeth's Skype Q&A no matter when you see the film; come to the Varsity around 5:30pm on Thursday to join in!
  • We're also excited that Marla Estes will be leading a FREE discussion about The New Girlfriend on Thursday night, October 8th, right after the 6:50pm screening at Standing Stone Brewing Company, 101 Oak St., in the private side room. The conversation will begin promptly at 9pm. Feel free to join in the discussion even if you've seen the film at an earlier showing. Marla is a longtime volunteer and screener for AIFF, and  the founder of the School of the Examined Life here in Ashland, where she leads workshops using film watching as a lens for personal growth, and understanding oneself and others.
More Varsity World Film Week Highlights


(Brazil), 2013
Animation, 80 min
Director: Alê Abreu
No Language

Synopsis: Alê Abreu’s second animated feature, Boy and the World, is a bold and imaginative parable of hope in a world filled with human injustice. The story focuses on Cuca, a boy who goes in search of his missing dad. The young boy’s journey unfolds like a tapestry, with the animation taking on greater complexity and variety as his small world expands. The wordless narrative is accompanied throughout by a rich soundscape of pan-flute, samba and Brazilian hip-hop. Adults and children (8 and older) will be enraptured.​

Watch the trailer


(Israel), 2014
Feature, 119 min
Director: Nadav Lapid
Hebrew (subtitles)(Norway), 2014
Feature, 96 min

Synopsis: The Kindergarten Teacher is the story of a teacher who becomes at first enchanted, and then ultimately consumed by the poetic genius of her five-year-old student. After Nira discovers that her young student, Yoav, has an extraordinary talent for language and poetry, she becomes increasingly obsessed with cultivating the boy's gift. Following his critically acclaimed debut Policemen, director Nadav Lapid demonstrates the aesthetic vision of a true auteur, combining a verité approach with a thrilling cinematic narrative that brings into sharp focus the dangers of both mediocrity and passion.

Watch the trailer

The Kindergarten Teacher Official US Trailer (2015) HD


(France), 2014
Feature, 97 min
Director: Lucie Borleteau
French, Romanian, Tagalog (subtitles)
For mature audiences

Synopsis: Leaving her fiancé Félix ashore, Alice joins the crew of an old cargo ship, the Fidelio, as a mechanic. Once on board, Alice discovers that she is replacing a man who has just died and that Gaël, the first great love of her life, is the ship's captain. Lucie Borleteau's provocative and sensuous directorial debut brings to the screen a powerful female protagonist in an almost exclusively male world, while Arianne Labed's fearless performance as Alice reveals a confident, independent woman fully in command of her own sexuality, grappling with conflicting desires.  

Watch the trailer


Tickets on Sale Now!

More info at

All screenings held at the Varsity Theatre, 166 E Main, Ashland. Please note: Not all films have been rated. Passport discount passes may only be purchased in person at the Varsity Box Office.

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Coming Attractions Theatres

Read our next Sponsor Spotlight all about Coming Attractions Theatres.

Simply put, without John C. Schweiger, Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc., and the Varsity Theatre, there would be no Ashland Independent Film Festival. They are more than a sponsor and supporter, they are the heart and soul of AIFF, and have been since before the first film screened.... Read more

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Call for Entries Open Now!

Submit your film today to AIFF16! Accepting Feature, Documentary, Short Doc, and Short Films, including animation, family-friendly, our free Locals Only program, and Launch Regional Student Film Competition. AIFF alumni submit for FREE. If you have a new film, we would love to see it. If you know a filmmaker who has a film you think we'd appreciate, please help us spread the word!

Deadlines and Submission Fees

Early                           October 23, 2015               $45
Regular                       November 13, 2015           $55
Late                             December 4, 2015             $65
Extended                     December 11, 2015           $85
Locals Only                 December 11, 2015            FREE

Want to be the first to receive all the info on AIFF film submissions?
Sign up on our Call for Entries email list today!

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Renew your membership, or become a member for the first time.

Membership benefits include advance ticket ordering, $1 discount on (additional) film festival tickets, first entry to theaters, discounts on year-round screenings, and more. 

Move Up a Tier for More Benefits

Renewing your membership? Why not consider moving up a tier? For example, Indie Members receive a Pass to pre-select a film in 5 time slots, plus ticket ordering before 50% of our members and the general public. A Cine Pass entitles you to pre-select a film in 14 time slots, and even earlier ticket ordering. Love to party? A Director Pass gives you access to pre-select a film in all 24 time slots, extra-early ticket ordering, and a ticket to both our Opening Night Bash and Awards Celebration. And you'll also receive an invitation for you and a guest to an exclusive Filmmaker Reception.

Ready to sign up?

Use the membership form on our website. Gift Memberships available too, right on the form. Thank you for your support! 

As a small nonprofit arts organization, ticket sales cover only a portion of our annual operating expenses. Member support makes the presentation of our 5-day annual festival possible, and supports the presentation of independent film year round. And don't forget, a portion of your membership is tax-deductible.

Would you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation directly to the nonprofit Ashland Independent Film Festival? Please visit or call us at 541-488-3823.

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