AIFF: Art and Culture in Film


Hey there loyal readers, and new friends! This Wednesday’s look at art and culture in the Rogue Valley is being brought to you by yours truly (Danielle). As I you may know from the team’s about the bloggers page, we are all fairly new to the art world. I am a Business major so art has not really been my focus in the past. However, this blog has given me a chance to dive deeper into an unknown world and to share my experience with all of you. And it’s really fun!

imgresThis week I wanted to talk about the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF). I have always been passionate about film so I knew that one of my explorations into art had to be focused on film. I was so into movies when I was younger that I dreamed of making a career out of movie reviewing and working for Entertainment magazine. Now that that particular dream has faded into the back of my consciousness, I still enjoy discussing films critically with my friends and family, and as a reader of #ArtRogue I figured I should talk to you too!

Although AIFF happened a few weeks ago I still thought it would be interesting to talk to you about my festival experience and to hear about yours. I hope you agree! If you don’t know about AIFF, it is a local independent film festival that is hosted in Ashland, Oregon every year. It began 16 years ago in the hopes that it could “celebrate the diversity of human experience through the art of independent film – enriching, educating, and inspiring audiences of all ages”. Each year about 7,000 people come to the festival which brings a boost of enthusiasm and culture to Ashland for those four days. Even with my passion for film, I had not attended AIFF until this year despite living here for 4 years. I always found some reason to not attend whether that was work or laziness and that is another reason I really wanted to share about my experience at this event. Because if you haven’t been to AIFF yet, I want to convince you that you should!

This year I prioritized attending AIFF and even with work at school I managed to attend three films. I saw Cortez, Whose Streets?, and 500 years. Each film I saw on a whim, based on what fit into my schedule. These three films were all very different but they BLEW MY MIND! Each one left me with such a lasting feeling and I wanted to tell everyone I knew about each one. Despite my desire to blather on and on about each one I’ll just give you a short summary of each and what I thought. Here is where my amateur movie critic career begins…


This film was the only feature film that I saw. Feature meaning that it was not a documentary. Cortez was a film about a struggling musician who seeks out a woman from his past in an attempt to avoid his current issues. He finds the woman and he film explores their complicated relationship, issues of family, fatherhood, and what it means to be successful. In short, this film amazed me. After I saw it I literally had no words. For hours after I saw it I felt almost as if I was having a spiritual experience and I was contemplating my life so far. This film made me want to pursue my dreams of being a professional artist, and musician (I’m not an artist or musician so you can see how much this film touched me). I couldn’t believe how much this film, that I paid $7 bucks to attend impacted me for days after. I wish that it was available somewhere else so that you could watch it, and so that I could see it again. Until it’s available somewhere check out the trailer.

Whose Streets?

Out of all three films that I saw at AIFF Without a doubt this was my favorite one. Whose Streets? Is a documentary about the Ferguson uprising that came about because of the death of Mike Brown. It explored the aftermath of police violence in Ferguson and what the black community did in response. It was a devastating and inspiring look at the overt and institutionalized racism that is still present in America. The way that it followed the stories of community leaders, and the movement as a whole showed an extremely raw, and human portrayal of the war that Ferguson residents waged on inequality. This film made me feel devastation, disgust, and anger but it also gave me hope. It gave me hope that if we come together we can create positive change for all people in America regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or any other identity. Until then, I don’t think we really have achieved being the land of the brave. Check out the story of the film on its website

500 Years

500 Years was a documentary that looked at the 500 years of oppression of the Mayan people of Guatemala, focusing on the resistance and events that have happened in the last 20 years. The movie followed several leaders of the movement and highlighted the many horrible acts committed against the Mayan people. The film showed both victories and losses that the movement incurred and ended the film with a feeling of hope. Like Whose Streets?, this film showed how an entire nation’s structure can be set up to benefit a few, and marginalize many. Although this film was sad, it was also hopeful because it showed some real victories occurring due to the diligence and the determination of the people’s peaceful uprising. I would highly recommend that everyone see it, especially in light of the US political climate. Watch the trailer to see what it is all about

That’s it! My amateur movie review of these three AIFF films. Thank you for indulging my passion for the art that film is and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Comment to let me know what you thought, and tell me about your AIFF experience.

#AIFF #Independent #Documentary #Cortex #WhoseStreets? #500Years #ArtRogue

– Danielle


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s