Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AIFF 2010: Tips for Film Festival Skeptics [Updated for 2013]

OK, you've heard that the Anchorage International Film Festival is coming soon, but there are so many movies you never heard of that you really don't know how to pick a good one.

And why are tickets at the Bear Tooth going to be $8 for the film festival instead of their regular (newly raised) price of $3.50?  Besides movies at Film Festivals are experimental and weird and just film groupies go, right? 

Maia Nolan at Alaska Dispatch was doing a story on the film festival and buttered me up into sending her some tips for
"someone who'd never been [to a film festival and] was on the  
fence about checking it out, what would you tell them?"
[UPDATE:  Maia's post is up now.]

I've been trying to do an update of last year's Film Festival UFAQ's (Unasked Frequently Asked Questions)[I have updated and posted a new version for 2013] but it's not done yet.  Some of it is still relevant, a lot not. So, here are my  

Tips for Film Festival Skeptics.  

1.  See a film the film maker will attend and discuss.  This is one of the great parts of a film festival.  Don't be nervous about talking to the film maker.  Most film makers are more nervous than you are.  The baby they've been working on for years is now getting judged.  You get to ask how they picked that music, or why they wrote that story, etc.  You can see a list of film showings that include the film maker at:

It's not easy to figure this out.  For now you have to scroll through all the films and some show that the film maker is expected to be there.  I'll try to get a list of all the showings with film makers scheduled for Q&A afterward.  I know of at least film maker who is planning to be in Anchorage, but he's not listed.  So I'm sure it's not complete.

2.  See 'films in competition.'  These have been selected by the initial screeners as the best in their category.  That doesn't mean the others aren't good and it doesn't guarantee you'll like the film.  It increases the odds though.


will get you to a list of all the films by category (feature, documentary, short, animation, etc.) and the ones in competition have a ✓ at the end.

3.  Go to a free event.  The Family and Youth Media Program (Saturday morning, December 10, at Loussac  from 11:30 to 5) is free.  For more information go to
here for the Marston Theatre events.

    4.  Go see an animated program.  These are shown in groups or programs because most are pretty short. If you don't like one, it will be over soon and you're almost guaranteed to see at least one that will make it all worthwhile.  Some of the most exciting film is animated and you won't see these other places.  There are programs for families and for mature audiences only. You can find the animated programs

    There is just one program of animated shorts this year.  There's the animation program and the last film in the Horror program is also an animated film.

    Like all websites with LOTS of information, the Festival Site is complicated and takes a bit of time to figure out. Pick up a copy of the print version (in the current Anchorage Press). I also have a post with some tips on negotiating the Festival Website.
    The post is a year old, and the images are from last year's festival, but the information is still basically good.  EXCEPT:  There is only one pass this year ($100 - $90 online before Thanksgiving.)

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