Ashland Independent Film Festival Expands the 28th Annual Varsity World Film Week

Varsity World Film WeekThe Ashland Independent Film Festival has assembled an intriguing and illuminating array of international independent films for the 28th annual Varsity World Film Week running October 6 through October 13 at the Varsity Theatre in downtown Ashland. The 13 films selected represent 23 countries, including Canada, Colombia, Lebanon, France, Thailand, Russia, Nepal, and the United States.

In addition to the week of screenings, this year will also feature opening and closing night festivities, including Q&A’s with film directors and after-screening parties.  “With the addition of these special events,” states AIFF Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz, “Varsity World Film Week is evolving into a vibrant full-fledged film festival, the second major festival that AIFF is presenting annually in Ashland.”

The opening night feature, on Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm, will be “Rebels on Pointe.” This film follows Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — the all-male, drag ballet company founded over 40 years ago on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots. The film juxtaposes behind-the-scenes access and intimate, character-driven stories of its dancers, highlighted by amazing performances shot around the world. Montreal-based director, and Southern Oregon University alumna, Bobbi Jo Hart will attend the film on opening night and participate in a post-show Q&A.  The screening will be followed by a Kickoff Dance Party, featuring special drag performances, at the Ashland Springs Hotel. This event help launch Rogue Valley Pride 2017.

The closing night feature, on Friday, October 13 at 7:30pm, will be “No Man’s Land.” This documentary follows armed protestors in Oregon who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to call attention to what they felt was an intrusion by the federal government. The film offers a detailed account of the impasse, displaying unprecedented access to the protagonists of this incident. There will only be one screening, followed by Q&A with director David Byars. The screening will be followed by a Closing Night Party at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant.

Tickets for the featured opening and closing night films and parties ($25), and tickets for the Kickoff Dance Party only ($15) may be purchased at All proceeds from these events benefit the non-profit Ashland Independent Film Festival. All other tickets may be purchased online at or in person at the Varsity Theatre box office. Synopses of the films, along with trailers, and a downloadable brochure and film schedule can be found at Varsity World Film Week sponsors and community partners include Coming Attractions Theatres, Ashland Home Net, The Earth and Humanity Foundation, Black Sheep Pub and Restaurant, Ashland Springs Hotel, and Lotus Rising.

Discount Passport Brings Ticket Prices to Less Than $6 for Members

The $40 Varsity World Film Week Passport is good for six films. However, AIFF members, seniors, students, active military and children can purchase a Passport for only $35. The price for a single film ticket without a Passport is $9. AIFF members, seniors, students, active military and children may purchase tickets for $7. Passport discount cards can be used for regularly priced films and only be purchased in person at the Varsity box office.

Complete Varsity World Film Week 2017 Roster

NOTE: Not all films have been rated.


Documentary | English/Hebrew (subtitles)
2016 | 90 min.
Directors: Alon Schwarz, Shaul Schwarz

Narrative | Creole (subtitles)
2017 | 76 min.
Director: Samir Oliveros

Documentary | English | 2017 |102 min
Directors: Kief Davidson, Pedro Kos

Documentary | English/Spanish (subtitles)
2017 | 90 min
Directors: Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi

Narrative | Spanish/French/English (subtitles) | 2016 | 128 min
Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Narrative | Arabic (subtitles) | 2017 | 85 min
Director: Philippe Van Leeuw

Documentary | English | 2017 | 81 min
Director: David Byars

Narrative | Thai (subtitles) |2017 | 102 min
Director: Kirsten Tan

Documentary | English | 2017 | 90 min
Director: Bobbi Jo Hart

Narrative | Russian (subtitles) | 2016 | 118 min
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov

Narrative | Slovak (subtitles) | 2016 | 102 min
Director: Jan Hrebejk

Narrative | English/Spanish (subtitles) | 2015 | 108 min
Director: Cesc Gay

Narrative | Nepali (subtitles) | 2016 | 89 min
Director: Deepak Rauniyar

About Ashland Independent Film Festival and Coming Attractions Theatres

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is a widely recognized and highly regarded film festival, screening 100-plus independently made documentary, narrative, animation, and short films at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, and the Ashland Street Cinema each April. Praised by filmgoers for the intimate access it affords to filmmakers, and by filmmakers for its warm and intelligent reception given to the filmmakers, the Ashland Independent Film Festival was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2016. The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Endowment for the Arts have each twice awarded AIFF with rare festival support grants. The 17th annual festival will be held April 12-16, 2018.

Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc. was founded in 1985 in Ashland, Oregon when the company’s founder, John C. Schweiger, settled in Ashland and developed an interest in the local movie theatre, the art deco Varsity Theatre, built in 1937. After renovating and operating that one theatre, Mr. Schweiger’s enthusiasm for film exhibition drove his company’s expansion to include 18 theatres in small to medium‐sized markets up and down the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and most recently Alaska).


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