Ashland Independent Film Festival Raises Over $100k, Promises A Return To Glory Fall 2024
ASHLAND, Ore. — Following the appointment of a new board of Directors who issued a plea for help to the public, the Ashland Independent Film Festival has raised over $100k towards their mission to celebrate independent film, uniting the community around exciting, culturally relevant programming, restarting in 2024.
In the message from the new board, the directors acknowledged that after the hard blow dealt to the festival during the COVID pandemic, there were also significant missteps organizationally. The consequent loss of focus meant that by early 2023, AIFF had no staff and no future plan, but was left with debt. Thanks to a few brave souls, a smaller version of the festival took place in April, but despite this grace and determination, the festival’s outlook was bleak.
With no employees and a pandemic-era debt totaling nearly $100,000, AIFF proposed plans for the festival to return in the fall of 2024, by setting a fundraising goal of $150,000 to start with, in order to cover the costs of the upcoming season’s run. Funds raised were intended to go towards hiring essential staff and making other investments in the festival with a view to executing a festival in 2024 that includes programming, logistics, and day-to-day running costs- things that will keep the lights on for this independent film festival.
Ashland rallied behind the organization according to the executive director of the festival, Jim Fredericks. The money raised can help AIFF out of the hole of debt they were in. But there’s still a lot to be done to return the film festival to its former glory. “Now we’re sort of in beginning mode again like we would be in any other year,” Fredericks said.
Diversifying the use of their space, AIFF sees the main space on Main Street as a community hub during festival downtimes. There could be movie screenings or other community events that showcase the many different forms of local art. Fredericks thinks that Ashland really is a story town and the film festival is a platform for telling those stories. In helping to reboot AIFF, they now have the opportunity to bring that back.
Aiming to raise $150,000, with the help of the community, AIFF isn’t too far from its goal. Determined to succeed, the directors confirm that the donations will fund the planning process and also pay for essential staff. Encouraged by generous public participation of the public, part of the plan is to launch a membership and sponsorship campaign.
The Board of Directors appreciates the willingness of the community to help prevent this cultural gem from disappearing. They have faith in the community and its members individually and plan to return to the days when the Ashland Independent Film Festival was loved by filmmakers for its intelligent, engaged, and engaging audiences. They are confident that they can now activate a new future for AIFF with suggestions, insights, and donations from their member- and a workable plan laying out the groundwork for a thriving future for the festival.
After meeting with Board Members Emeritus and past Executive and Artistic Directors as well as former programmers, staff, and volunteers, the new board has been energized by the community’s love and passion for the Ashland Independent Film Festival. They have undertaken to create a sustainable future for AIFF with a 3-year incremental plan that will bring the festival back to its full capacity. Equally importantly, they envisage an infrastructure that supports future growth and expansion.