Local report

The Ashland Independent Film Festival has received a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support audience participation efforts at its 2016 festival.

Art Works grants focus on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts and public engagement with the arts. There were 60 grants awarded in the Media Arts category, for a total of $2.125 million in this category’s funding cycle.

AIFF will use its Art Works grant in its April 7-11 sessions to support free panel discussions with filmmakers and audiences, for post-film question and answer sessions, and to bring in special guests to talk about their experiences in creating documentaries, features, animated and short films.

“The Ashland Independent Film Festival is very proud to receive this important grant,” AIFF Executive Director Cathy Dombi said in a release. “As a non-profit organization grants are an important part of our funding income, and this prestigious award will allow us to continue to bring filmmakers and audiences together to discuss the creative process of making films. Our free educational panels, Q&As and special guest sessions are always very popular with festival-goers, who tell us that interacting with moviemakers is one of the top reasons they attend the film festival.”

The Ashland film festival joined some prestigious names as award recipients in the Art Works category, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, Seattle International Film Festival, S.F. International Film Festival, Sundance Institute and the Telluride Film Festival.

AIFF was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, and Ashland holds the No. 1 spot in the “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2015, Top Towns.” AIFF screens 90-plus independently made documentaries, features and shorts at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory and the Ashland Street Cinema each April.

For more information on AIFF, see ashlandfilm.org. 

In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction. For more details about the NEA grants see: www.arts.gov/news/2015/27-million-awarded-arts-projects