The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2016


Photo by Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo

In case you’ve forgotten, sometimes movies can just be about fun.

Welcome to the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World. A companion list to our definitive “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” list released in spring, “Coolest Fests” is where things get a little looser, a little funkier, a little weirder. Think of it this way: While that list is all about bang for moviemaking bucks, this list is, simply, about having the best time at a festival imaginable—whether that means incredible atmosphere, superb repertory programming or choice victuals.


Ashland Independent Film Festival received record submissions


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.


26th Annual Varsity World Film Festival Brings Intriguing International Films to Southern Oregon


Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo,

Films From Around the World Selected to Illuminate, Delight, Inspire
New Discount Film Week Passes Available

In his curatorial debut, Ashland Independent Film Festival Director of Programming Richard Herskowitz has assembled an intriguing and illuminating array of international films for the October 2-8 Varsity World Film Festival, co-sponsored by Coming Attractions Theatres. Tickets go on sale the afternoon of Tuesday, September 8.

Films range from a feature inspired and acted by rural Senegalese villagers, to a wordless animated film from Brazil, to an American “hybrid” feature that interweaves documentary footage of filmmaker Alex Sichel coping with cancer with a dramatized version of her life, starring actress Lili Taylor.

“I tried to gather extraordinary films from all over the globe - to give Ashland audiences the opportunity to go on twelve unforgettable voyages in one week,” Herskowitz said. “The films have all been acclaimed by critics and audiences at international festivals, and are best seen, I strongly believe, on a big screen, among other cinephiles. We will also provide viewers with the interactive experience festivals are known for, with three guest filmmakers holding Q&A’s and, on one night, live music in the house.”


AIFF 2015 to show 98 films and welcome filmmakers from around the world

Photo by Al Case courtesy of

The Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) has unveiled its complete program for the 14th annual Festival, to be held in the heart of historic downtown Ashland, Oregon, April 9-13. Over 7,500 film lovers are expected to gather for five days of world-class independent film at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, the Ashland Street Cinemas, and the Ashland Springs Hotel. Read More...