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Ashland Independent Film Festival will honor actor, director, writer

 Posted: 11:55 AM March 05, 2014

Appearances by former Ashland resident Ty Burrell, best known for his role as Phil Dunphy on "Modern Family," and two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple will highlight the 13th annual Ashland Independent Film Festival, set for April 3-7 in Ashland.

More than 7,500 film lovers are expected to gather for the five-day festival, held at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, the Ashland Street Cinemas, and the Ashland Springs Hotel. AIFF announced the 2014 schedule Wednesday.

Tickets go on sale to members beginning Monday and to the general public on March 16.

The festival will feature 97 films from around the world, including Kopple's latest documentary, "Running from Crazy." The film examines the personal journey of writer, model and actress Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, as she strives for a greater understanding of her complex family history.

The AIFF will honor Kopple with its 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award during the awards party at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 6, at the Historic Ashland Armory. Kopple received an Oscar in 1976 for "Harlan County USA," and again in 1991 for "American Dream."

Kopple's many award-winning films include "Shut Up and Sing"; "Woodstock: Now and Then"; and "Wild Man Blues," about Woody Allen and his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. The AIFF will celebrate Kopple's career with an evening of conversation, music and film featuring guests David Morris, an Appalachian musician from West Virginia featured in "Harlan Country USA," and his son Jack, a fourth-generation Appalachian.

"In A Conversation with Ty Burrell" on Saturday, April 5, at the Historic Ashland Armory, Ty and his childhood friend, Miles Inada, professor of art and emerging media at Southern Oregon University, will discuss acting ("the least rational career possible") and playing soccer in first grade together and answer questions from the audience.

AIFF will present a 2014 Rogue Award to Burrell, an Emmy Award winner who has appeared in blockbuster hits such as "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "Dawn of the Dead" (2004) and "The Incredible Hulk" (2008). He is the voice of Mr. Peabody in the upcoming "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."

AIFF will also present a 2014 Rogue Award to Mark Monroe, who wrote the Academy Award-winning film "The Cove," "Chasing Ice" and the critically acclaimed "The Tillman Story." Recently, Monroe penned "Mission Blue," about legendary oceanographer, marine biologist, environmentalist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle and her campaign to create a global network of protected marine sanctuaries, which will screen at AIFF.

Monroe will be featured on a free filmmaker TalkBack panel, "Not the Same Old Story," examining the critical role of writing for documentary films, at 10 a.m. April 4 at the Ashland Springs Hotel.

Documentaries in the 2014 festival include "The Case Against 8," a behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage; "Burt's Buzz," an intimate portrait of the reclusive Burt's Bees founder Burt Shavitz; "Running Wild," the story of cowboy Dayton O. Hyde, author and protector of wild horses; "Last Days in Vietnam," from Emmy Award—winning documentary filmmaker and AIFF alum director Rory Kennedy; and "Ivory Tower," examining the purpose and price of higher education.

Feature films include "Bluebird," which explores the interconnectedness of a small town in Maine when the local school bus driver becomes distracted during her end-of-day inspection; a romantic adventure called "Just a Sigh" that begins with a mysterious, off-kilter day between two strangers; and "Obvious Child," an authentic look at what happens when a 27-year-old Brooklyn comedian gets dumped, loses her job, and discovers she's pregnant — just in time for Valentine's Day.

The festival's full schedule, film descriptions and program are available at www.ashlandfilm.org.


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