The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation Board has awarded organizers of the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) a $10,000 grant to expand The Launch, a Southern Oregon student film competition. The Cow Creek funding supplements grants already awarded by the Carpenter Foundation, the Jackson County Cultural Coalition and the Juan Young Trust to support the film festival's educational efforts.
Although the entry deadline for other filmmakers has passed, Southern Oregon students from Curry, Coos, Douglas, Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine counties have until Friday, Jan. 26 to submit their films to the sixth annual AIFF to be held April 12-16. The Ashland organization has already received a record 850 entries from around the world and will select 80 to show during the festival.
Students in The Launch will compete in four age categories: K-5, 6-8, 9-12, and undergraduate. Competition entries must be 5 minutes or less and made in 2006. Winners will have their films screened during the 2007 Ashland Independent Film Festival, conduct QA sessions with audiences, and receive a filmmaker VIP pass that allows access to the same events and privileges as visiting independent filmmakers from around the world. Winners will also be eligible for an Avid video editing software package. All students who enter the competition will receive tickets to see festival films.
The regional student film competition was introduced at the 2006 AIFF as a pilot project for middle and high school program in the Rogue Valley. The middle school level winning film went on to be screened at the Seattle International Film and — Reel Film Festivals. A film from an elementary school showed such promise, organizers included it in the festival and created the K-5 category.
In 2006, in conjunction with regional educators, the festival's board and staff created the pilot education project and drew positive feedback from teachers and students. The programs presented by the AIFF include Film School Day, a festival program for middle and high school students featuring an international student film showcase, a panel discussion with festival student and short filmmakers, a tour of Southern Oregon University and Rogue Valley Community Television film and video facilities, and a live TV broadcast. Other AIFF education programs feature Filmmakers in the Classroom with festival filmmakers from around the world visiting local schools, as well as School Visits to the Festival, with classroom visits to curriculum-specific films.
"Our mission statement focuses on education and this grant gives a tremendous boost to our effort to serve students," said Tom Olbrich, the festival's Executive Director. "Local teachers have told us this competition allows aspiring filmmakers to learn first hand about project deadlines, promotional materials and application forms - in addition to all the technical and artistic factors that contribute to the creation of a film. We can now expand The Launch to include students of all ages from all over Southern Oregon AND make it a regular feature of the Ashland Independent Film Festival." The Festival is scheduled for April 12-16, 2007 at the Varsity Theatre and Historic Ashland Armory. For more information, and entry forms for The Launch, visit .