Ashland Independent Film Festival received record submissions

Ashland Independent Film Festival

Ashland Independent Film Festival
Photo by Al Case courtesy of Ashland Independent Film Festival

A record-setting 1,233 films were submitted to the Ashland Independent Film Festival for the upcoming 15th festival, which runs April 7-11, 2016. This represents an increase of 170 films over the previous festival year – a 16% increase over the previous festival year.

“The Ashland Independent Film Festival is no longer a hidden gem,” said Richard Herskowitz, the festival’s director of programming. “Filmmakers want their work screened here because they know that the festival attracts enthusiastic, intelligent audiences who love film, and who embrace filmmaking with an independent vision. The festival’s reputation for discovering and selecting great films has made it a springboard to wider distribution and acclaim.”

Herskowitz noted that the selection of films has increased at a strong pace over the years. The festival has nearly doubled the number of entries received in the past five years - 716 films were submitted by the entry deadline for the 2012 festival year.

“This robust pool of entries allows us to choose from among the very best of independent films,” said Herskowitz, who added that he has already screened more than ten films that he feels are likely to make it into the final program.

Films that played in 2015 at the film festival and the Varsity World Film Week (which is curated by AIFF), and went on to wide acclaim include five of the 15 documentaries recently shortlisted by the Academy Awards: Cartel Land, The Hunting Ground, Listen to Me Marlon, The Look of Silence, and 31/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets. Meru, the climbing documentary that was screened as a special benefit for the film festival, also made the Oscar short list.

About the Ashland Independent Film Festival

The Ashland Independent Film Festival (April 7-11, 2016) is a widely recognized and highly regarded film festival, screening 90-plus independently-made documentaries, features, and shorts over five days at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, and the Ashland Street Cinema.

Praised by filmgoers for the intimate access it affords to filmmakers, and by filmmakers for the warm and intelligent reception given to their films, the Ashland Independent Film Festival was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, and holds the number one spot in the “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2015, Top Towns.”

The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts has twice awarded AIFF a rare festival support grant, and the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded AIFF three grants, the most recent one was announced in December for developing audience participation. For details, visit