film festival


Take a world tour, and never leave a comfy seat in a movie theater.  Varsity World Film Week is back at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, starting October 4th (preview September 30th). 

The film subjects and treatments are as varied as the people on the planet... from bluegrass musicians ("Fiddlin'") to elephant poachers and their wildlife-ranger cousins ("When Lambs Become Lions"). 


The Klamath Independent Film Festival has been slowly building its reach and reputation in recent years.  This year it has the perfect main event: a feature film shot IN Klamath Falls. 

It's true, the indy film "Phoenix, Oregon" needed a bowling alley; Klamath Falls has one, where Phoenix does not.  The feature is only one of many films to screen over the three days of the festival. 

Schneider Museum

One of the features of this year's Ashland Independent Film Festival is an acknowledgement of the 40th anniversary of the movie "Apocalypse Now."  And in a trend AIFF started a few years ago, the acknowledgement includes fine art, a program called "Expanded Cinema."

"Apocalypse" goes on display at Ashland's Schneider Museum of Art on April 10th, the day before the festival opens. 

Festival Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz returns, along with artist Matthew Picton. 

"Phoenix, Oregon Movie" on Facebook

"I've had it with this job, I'm out of here."  Whether you ever actually said that phrase or not, you probably thought it. 

So do the main characters in the movie "Phoenix, Oregon," by Rogue Valley filmmakers Anne and Gary Lundgren.  The Lundgrens have already made several feature films in the region, and this one--about reinvention in midlife (with bowling)--is set to screen at the upcoming Ashland Independent Film Festival.

Just as the days get longer than the nights and it's warm enough to play outside, film fans head indoors in Ashland.  The Ashland Independent Film Festival takes over the Varsity Theatre and a couple of other venues during its five-day run, April 11th to the 15th. 

Dozens of independent films are screened, many several times.  There are too many films to be able to see them all, admits Executive Director Richard Herskowitz. 

Runner1616, CC BY-SA 3.0,

You can find film festivals all over the country now, but few that focus on just films from and about Oregon. 

But that is the mission at the Klamath Independent Film Festival, lighting up screens in Klamath Falls the weekend of September 14-16. 

From features about imperiled horses ("Lean on Pete") to documentaries about the arts scene in the Klamath Basin itself ("Ragland"), there's a bunch to see. 

Derek Williams,

The wide-eyed man walks down the hallway to a particular door.  What awaits behind it?  Is the music happy and carefree, or tense, with the sound of low string notes? 

See, music plays a huge part in movies... we depend upon the music to give a context beyond what our eyes can see.  And our region is home to several people who have composed music for the big screen. 

Joby Talbot, Tessa Brinckman, and Terry Longshore are among them, and they'll speak about the craft at a session at this weekend's Ashland Independent Film Festival


South Medford High School graduate Laura VanZee Taylor suffered from depression and anxiety as a young woman. 

So she's aware of the confusion and stigma that attaches to mental illness, especially in young people. 

Her documentary "I Am Maris," screening at this week's Ashland Independent Film Festival, features 17-year-old Maris Degener, yoga instructor who has dealt with anorexia. 


It wasn't THAT long ago that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities ended up shunted away from society and placed in mental institutions, until they died.  We treat them better now, but better enough? 

That is the question Dan Habib asks in his film "Intelligent Lives," screening this weekend at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.  The film follows three people who challenge society's definition of intelligence, and pursue their dreams despite their own personal challenges. 

The historical portions of the film are narrated by the actor Chris Cooper; he and his wife had a son with cerebral palsy who experienced some of the same treatment as the subjects of the film.  The Coopers--Chris and Marianne Leone Cooper--are also executive producers of the film. 

Christopher Briscoe

"Get Your Kicks on Route 66," an old song says.  We're betting the song is familiar to Christopher Briscoe and his son Quincy. 

They took the famed highway of the song for a cross-country ride.  Not a drive, a ride... a 2700-mile bicycle ride that took them nearly two months.  It's the subject of their film "The Road Between Us."

Who did they meet and what did they see and why do it in the first place?  All topics for discussion as the Briscoes visit the studio before their film screens at the Ashland Independent Film Festival later this week (April 12-16). 

Mig Windows

Maybe you saw a play so good that you just HAD to talk to the actors when it was over.  Maybe you even uttered the phrase "you were so good," and then moved on. 

Ashland actor and filmmaker Mig Windows imagines such a meeting in her short film "You Were So Good," screening this week at the Ashland Independent Film Festival (April 12-16). 

Check out the people blinking at the daylight in downtown Ashland starting next weekend.  Chances are their eyes are light sensitive from sitting in the dark, watching movies. 

The Ashland Independent Film Festival returns for another extended weekend of film viewing and presentations by filmmakers. 

And this year AIFF expands to a handful of events in Medford. 

Rick Bowmer/AP

40 filmed features and shorts are crammed into just three days at the Klamath Independent Film Festival, coming to Klamath Falls next weekend (Sept. 15-17). 

And they are all by or about people in Oregon and Northern California. 

The KIFF offerings include the Oregon premiere of "No Man's Land," a documentary about the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. 

Runner1616, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Films long and short and funny and sad will fill screens and eyeballs when the Ashland Independent Film Festival returns to the city's two movie theaters this week (April 6-10). 

And it's not just about the movies, but the movie makers, too... like James Ivory (as in Merchant Ivory Productions), who is a Klamath Falls native. 

What does it take to pull together all the films and all the filmmakers for the five-day blitz? 

"Bastards y Diablos" Shows At AIFF

Apr 6, 2016

It must be April; the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and hundreds of people are gathering in Ashland to sit in dark rooms.  With movie screens, we hasten to add. 

The Ashland Independent Film Festival returns for another whirlwind set of days (April 7-11) catching up on notable independent films. 

The offerings include "Bastards y Diablos," produced by and co-starring Dillon Porter, who hails from the Rogue Valley.

One harsh reality about the Ashland Independent Film Festival: it's physically impossible to see every film all the way through. 

But with more than 100 offerings in documentary, feature, and short categories, the choices are remarkable.   This year they also include some mixed-media presentations.

AIFF brings the films and events to screens and rooms in town for five days starting April 7th. 

"Orphan Films" Come Home To Oregon

Nov 12, 2015

Maybe you're old enough to remember those starchy educational films that played on 16mm projectors in elementary school; subjects included trustworthiness and hygiene, among many others. 

And the film usually fluttered and often broke in the projector. 

The state of Oregon used to have quite a pile of those old films, and not just for youngsters. 

Titles like "Fumigating Strawberry Fields" and "Dungeness Crab Meat Extraction" may not have packed movie houses, but they served their purposes. 

For reasons we'll explore, more than 12,000 such films from Oregon are now housed at Indiana University.  A few of these so-called "orphan films" will be screened in Oregon starting this weekend. 

World Films For Fall Fest

Sep 30, 2015

As fall deepens, the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter (in theory).  It's a great time to head indoors for a movie. 

Which probably explains at least part of the motivation behind "Varsity World Film Week" at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland (October 2-8). 

The week is co-produced by the Ashland Independent Film Festival, under new Program Director Richard Herskowitz.

Scott Valley Rolls Out Film Festival

Sep 18, 2015

Film festivals keep popping up all over the landscape, and this year the Scott Valley gets into the act. 

Fort Jones will be home base for the first ever Jefferson State Flixx Fest, September 24th through 27th. 

It is dedicated to showing films reflecting the rugged spirit of the mythical State of Jefferson. 

Mexico And Drug Violence In Focus At AIFF

Apr 8, 2015
Sundance Institute

Ashland's annual Independent Film Festival returns to screens in the city this weekend, with nearly 100 films all lengths and subjects.  Today we visit with some of the filmmakers displaying their work.

Matthew Heineman is the director of "Cartel Land," about the drug war and carnage in Mexico. 

And Bill and Turner Ross join us to talk about "Western," dealing with similar themes in the cities of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Niegras, Mexico.