Filmmaker FAQ

How long has Anchorage International Film Festival (AIFF) been around and what’s the festival like?
What type of films does AIFF look for?
What films are eligible for selection?
How do I submit my film to the AIFF
When can I submit my film to the AIFF?
How much does it cost to submit my film to the AIFF?
What are the chances my film will be selected for the AIFF?
How will I be notified if my film is selected?
My film has been selected, what are acceptable presentation formats for the AIFF?
If selected, where will my film be screened?
Does the AIFF offer awards to filmmakers?
How much does it cost to attend?
If I attend the AIFF, what should I expect?
Is there a market, and are there potential buyers/distributors at the AIFF?
I would rather not use WAB. Is there another way to submit my film to the AIFF?

How long has AIFF been around and what’s the festival like?

Founded in 2001, AIFF has screened well over 1,000 films and hosted hundreds of filmmakers during its December event in Anchorage, Alaska. The local flavor and international quality of the festival guarantees a one-of-a-kind experience in terms of programming and extracurricular activities. Every year, visiting artists go into the mountains, take to the trails, hit the slopes, and head to art venues and watering holes for a true Alaska experience. AIFF always includes at least four filmmaker workshops, along with parties and events like Martini Matinee and the Golden Oosikar Awards. Our festival averages about 12,000 tickets sold with a record attendance of 14,000. Depending on the venue, the screening slot and the buzz surrounding your film, you can expect anywhere between a dozen to 400+ fans at your film screening. AIFF also sends a traveling mini-festival to other Alaska communities.

What type of films does AIFF look for?

We consider all submissions regardless of genre, content, origin and length, and we support true independents. Our goal is to build a diverse program of compelling films that will entertain, challenge, edify, and provoke our imaginations. We don’t select films based on star power or power of budget. We do give lots of attention to films that are original and well crafted. We recognize that you don’t need a large budget to score high in technical craftsmanship. And we love a great screenplay. We’d rather choose a low budget feature narrative with a strong screenplay than a polished studio film with star power and an inane screenplay. It’s the same with shorts, animation and documentaries. We want substance, not pretense.

What films are eligible for selection?

For the 2012 AIFF, any film made after January 1, 2011 that has not screened in Alaska or on national cable or broadcast TV prior to the commencement of this year’s AIFF. All Alaska-made films are eligible if they have not screened in an auditorium larger than 50 seats and they were completed after January 1, 2011.

How do I submit my film to the AIFF?

The preferred submission method is through Withoutabox, the online clearinghouse for film festivals around the world. All the information you’ll need to submit your film is available on Withoutabox under the “2012 AIFF” listing, including submission fees and deadlines. We ask that you submit at least two DVD copies of your film for programmer screening purposes. For direct submission information, please see the bottom of this page.

When can I submit my film to the AIFF?

We accept films starting on May 8th, with early bird discount submission fees until June 30th and normal submission fees until August 15th. Late submissions may be made through Withoutabox until September 8th or by mail until September 1st, however a late submission fee will be applied. Any film submitted through Withoutabox after September 8th or postmarked after September 1st will be considered ineligible for the AIFF. Please refer to the AIFF page on Withoutabox for further information.

How much does it cost to submit my film to the AIFF?

Submission fees for the AIFF are on the lower end of the scale for medium sized festivals. Depending on the length of the film, and the deadline date, submission fees start at $25. AIFF is a non-profit organization operated mostly by volunteers. Submission fees support the facilitation and operation of the festival. We do not grant submission fee waivers unless your film has won an award from a major festival. Films with submission fee waivers are not eligible for awards at the AIFF. For the lowest fees, submit your film by July 30th via Withoutabox, or make sure your submission is postmarked by that date.

What are the chances my film will be selected for the AIFF?

We take the selection process very seriously. Out of an annual average of 500 submissions, we select slightly over 120 films or about 25% of the submissions. About 70 percent of selected films screen at least two times, ideally once during a weekend and once during the week.

How will I be notified if my film is selected?

We’ll notify you that your submission media has arrived within a week of its arrival at the festival office. We’ll list all selected films on our website by October 5th. If you do not receive an “Official Selection” notice, or if your film is not listed on the AIFF website, please understand that this means your film was not chosen for the festival. However, we contact all filmmakers prior to the festival start with thanks for supporting the AIFF and the art of independent film. Please contact us if you are the rare filmmaker who didn’t receive an email from us. We take pride in good communications.

My film has been selected, what are acceptable presentation formats for the AIFF?

At our largest venue, we have one of the best digital projections systems available anywhere, and prefer to show JPG2000 files from CRU or compatible drives. This venue can also show Blu-Ray (preferred if JPG2000 is not available), DVD or DVD-R. All other AIFF venues require Blu-Ray, DVD or DV-R, or QuickTime files on USB drives. We do not exhibit 35 mm prints.

If selected, where will my film be screened?

The 420-seat Bear Tooth Theatre Pub is our primary venue. The theater serves as the heart and hub of Spenard, and serves food, craft-brewed beer, wine and other beverages. Our secondary venue, Out North Contemporary Art House, consists of a 110-seat theater with extra seating via beanbags and cushions, along with a gallery set-up with more than 70 seats for workshops and smaller screenings. We also include a third venue every year, and have in the past built a snow screen for a few outdoor showings.

Does the AIFF offer awards to filmmakers?

We honor the main categories with Golden Oosikar awards, along with audience awards and a special award that honors a film for its brilliance in creativity and originality. The seven main categories include Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Animation, Best Super Short, and Best Snowdance Film (films primarily made in Alaska or director or produced by a filmmaker who is a current Alaska resident).

How much does it cost to attend?

Filmmakers who have selections in the festival and plan to attend will receive a free festival pass upon arrival. We also do our best to provide two to three nights of free accommodations for guests traveling from outside of Alaska. Filmmakers with films in the top three in competition for each category are also offered a small stipend for travel support. This amount depends on many factors, but often is in excess of $200. Our goal is to entice you as a filmmaker to attend and we do our best to support your visit.

If I attend the AIFF, what should I expect?

Snow, rain, sunshine, ice, hoarfrost, mountain vistas, wildlife, camaraderie, involvement in a close-knit community of filmmakers; plus parties, outings, conversations and unparalleled opportunities for adventure. A rental car isn’t absolutely needed, but always an option. We usually have a roving van or two to help get filmmakers back and forth to the venues, and we always have a couple of excursions lined up. Bring warm clothes, sunglasses – and don’t forget your camera.

Is there a market, and are there potential buyers/distributors at the AIFF?

We do not have a market atmosphere, but we do attract industry professionals. Over the years, representatives from the Sundance Channel, Canal+, Hypnotic Films and others have joined our event. We’ve had directors from Paramount Films show up, and occasionally a movie star or two. Maybe you caught our plug in Premiere Magazine? We also invite directors from other festival, and are proud to embrace an atmosphere where filmmakers don’t have to sell themselves, just be themselves.

I would rather not use WAB. Is there another way to submit my film to the AIFF?

We prefer you submit your film through Withoutabox, but if that isn’t possible you may use the direct submission form. Please be aware that the final deadline for direct submissions is September 1st, and your entry must be postmarked no later than this date. Direct submissions are not eligible for submission fee discounts offered through Withoutabox. Please click on the link for the direct submission form.