Ashland Independent Film Festival Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary With A Live & Outdoor Festival June 24-28th

Ashland, Oregon – The Ashland Independent Film Festival is excited to announce the full selection of musical and cinematic events scheduled for its live & outdoor festival running June 24-28 at venues in Ashland and Medford.

At Scienceworks Hands-On Museum, viewers will watch films projected on a large outdoor screen in the field facing the building. At the Walkabout Brewing Company in Medford, viewers will fill the spacious backyard, facing the big screen and stage. Each screening at these two venues will be accompanied by live musical performers, food carts and beverages. Media art will be on view at the Schneider Museum of Art, where AIFF is co-presenting the Collecting Cuba: Selections from the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art exhibition, and at the downtown AIFF Film Center, where animator/musician Jeremy Rourke will create and perform his animated films and songs in the Film Center window.

The five-day festival will kick off with a bang – the Rogue Valley Symphony premiering two new fanfares written especially for the occasion of the festival’s twentieth anniversary. A new short film about the Symphony’s performances for first responders during the pandemic, Traveling Fanfares, directed by AIFF2021 Lee Fuchsmann Award winner Laney D’Aquino, will follow. Filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart will introduce Fanny: The Right to Rock recounting the incredible, untold story of three Filipina American teens who self-founded a garage band in the 1960s that morphed into the ferocious California rock group Fanny. Finally, Brie Howard-Darling, a founding member of Fanny, will perform live with Dave Darling on the festival stage.

The festival ends with a closing night “CineMasque” — an open-air party with live music, film, and costumes celebrating the 20th anniversary of both AIFF and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The screening of Hedwig will be preceded by an introduction from the film’s producer, AIFF2021 Rogue Award Winner Christine Vachon. Guests are encouraged to “Glam it Up” for a costume competition: best costume inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Eddie Lopez, a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company for eight seasons, will host the festivities in the role of Hedwig, perform songs from the musical accompanied by guitarist Dan Sherrill, and introduce songs by the drag performer Bettie Wood. Lopez as Hedwig will also conduct a live Skype interview with Hedwig’s creator John Cameron Mitchell, who is currently shooting a film in Australia.

“These five days of live events fully celebrate our 20th anniversary and our festival’s tradition of reaching beyond film to celebrate all the arts.  Everyone who joins us in this amazing line-up of films, music, and visual art will have rich memories of shared experiences,” says Richard Herskowitz, artistic director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

On June 24-25, San Francisco-based animator/musician Jeremy Rourke will bring his mobile animation workspace to the AIFF Film Center window gallery from 11am-4pm each day, creating and animating paper puppets and engaging with passersby.  A self-taught animator eschewing digital effects for hands-on techniques, his animation table is full of paper ephemera, photo-puppets, clay, paint, pencils, lights and flora. On June 26-27, Rourke will offer 20-minute window performances of his songs and animations on the hour from 11am-4:30pm. First come-first served seating will be provided on the sidewalk outside the window gallery.

The Festival will also host a Talkback, The Independent Animator (June 25, 4pm, AIFF Film Center) with Jeremy Rourke, Geoff Hecht, and Deanna Morse. These three animators in the AIFF2021 program will present samples of their work and discuss their careers as independent film animators. This indoor TalkBack is free, with a capacity of 20 fully vaccinated people.

As part of the festival’s ongoing Screening Cuba theme, the festival will present The Mali-Cuba Connection/Africa Mia, a story of ten young musicians from Mali sent to Cuba during the Cold War, who invented a new genre: Afro-Cuban Music. To set the mood, Son de Cuba, a Portland-based group of musicians from Chile, Mexico, USA and Cuba will perform, and dancing is encouraged. The band plays different genres from Salsa, Timba, Son, Merengue, Boleros, Cumbia, Bachata, and Latin to Jazz.

A story about underground surf culture in Cuba, Havana Libre, will also screen, accompanied by its editor and cinematographer, Seth Brown. It’s a tale about surfers who dodge authorities in search of the perfect wave. Surfing and other water activities have been banned for decades, based on the fear that people will use surfboards to leave the island. In keeping with the surf theme, Rogue Valley’s own The Reverberays will play favorite surf-rock tunes with plenty of reverb.

The festival’s feature documentary Weed & Wine interweaves the stories of two farming families, continents apart from one another, both aiming to reinvent themselves on their land. One family—a strong-willed French matriarch and the son she raised among her vines—tends a centuries-old, biodynamic vineyard in the Southern Rhône. Across the ocean in Humboldt, California, another family—a brash father and his more reserved son (Kevin and Cona Godrey, who will attend the event)—carefully manage a state-recognized, organic cannabis farm. This screening will be preceded by live music from Clayton Joseph Scott, a roots/rock performer formerly with the band Brightside, whose songs deliver a positive message while invigorating audiences to listen and dance with a purpose. The evening features the 8-minute animated short Metro6, introduced by director Geoff Hecht.

20th Ashland Independent hybrid “Double Feature” Film Festival at
Live and outdoors: June 24-28, 2021 in Ashland and Medford
Ticket price: Ranges from free to $12/$10 members, seniors, students, and financial hardship
Contact: [email protected]; 541-488-3823

Screenings at ScienceWorks and Walkabout Brewery
7:15pm: Doors open
7:30-8:30: Live music
8:45pm Screening begins

June 24
Traveling Fanfares and Fanny: The Right to Rock
Live Music by Brie Howard-Darling with Dave Darling
“Fanfares” performed live by the Rogue Valley Symphony

June 25
Walkabout Brewery
The Mali-Cuba Connection/ Africa Mia
Live Music: Son de Cuba (trio)

June 26
Metro6 (short film)
Weed & Wine

Live Music: Clayton Joseph Scott

June 27
Walkabout Brewery
Havana Libre 
Live Music: The Reverberays

June 28
Hedwig and the Angry Inch CineMasque: A 20th Anniversary Celebration of Hedwigand AIFF
Host and Musical Performer: Eddie Lopez as Hedwig
Music/Performance:  Bettie Wood (Miles Jessen Smith)
Special Guests: Christine Vachon and John Cameron Mitchell (via Skype)

AIFF Film Center: Animator/Musician Jeremy Rourke

June 24-25: Live Animation Studio
June 25-26: Animated Film and Live Music Performances

Schneider Museum of Art: Collecting Cuba: Selections from the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
June 24, 10am-4pm

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.

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