LETTER FROM THE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Dear AIFF Audience,
Each year I think working for the AIFF will get easier and after seven years I’ve concluded: It doesn’t. Working for the festival is challenging, often maddening, and sometimes fun, but never easy. This year was particularly difficult, with a steep learning curve in my role as festival director. But the show must go on and every year, despite the delays, despite the craziness, the show does indeed go on with wonderful programs of fantastic films for you to enjoy. AIFF has the best fans in the world and I thank each of you for your continued support of independent film.
I believe in giving credit where it is due and with that said, AIFF could not function without the unflagging support of our all our volunteers and sponsors. A million thanks to the programmers, without them, and their untiring dedication to choosing the films, the festival would not happen: Josh for weathering the storm as program director; Travis and Robb for picking top-notch features; Jim and Cindy for jumping in and creating a wonderful documentary program; Rachel, the best damned animation programmer ever, and Matt for his help; Rich and George for wading through over 100 shorts and choosing the best of the best; Jon for his wonderful attitude and Viking photos, and Linda for loving Alaska and Alaskan films; thank you Claudio and Josh, despite the setbacks, super shorts is well done. Thank you Miranda—I was sorry to see you leave, you have been missed.
Without Scott Lee and the kind folks at Inlet Tower Hotel, and the generosity of Susan and Mark Lutz, proprietors of The Oscar Gill House, our visiting filmmakers would be out in the cold. Thank you all for providing lodging and showing visitors what the true Alaskan spirit is all about.
A debt of gratitude is owed to Walsh/Sheppard, AIFF founding sponsor, and in particular Roberta Spayd—I appreciate you more than you know. Many, many thanks to: Tony Sheppard, festival founder—I am proud to call you my friend; Karen Miovas and Sarah Schulte for an outstanding printed guide; Dean Franklin, AIFF website guru, creator of the perfect online guide and all-around great guy; Rich Curtner for his work with increasing festival membership; and Carol Schatz, AIFF treasurer, for her support.
Last, but far from least, I am grateful to my family. I couldn’t be happier, or luckier to have you all in my life, thank you for putting up with me for another year, I love you all. Finally, hugs from Nana to Darren, Kelsey and Emma—you three are the best grandchildren in the world.
Yours in great film,
LETTER FROM THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Dear Festival Fans,
Welcome to the 2012 Anchorage International Film Festival.
I’ve been volunteering with AIFF for the last four years, and each year I am blown away by the films and thrilled to meet the filmmakers that have made their way here from all over the world. Over the last four years I’ve met filmmakers from India, Canada, Russia, Australia, the UK, The Netherlands, and many more from the lower 48.
I’m continuously amazed by the people willing to travel to Alaska in the middle of winter and to share their work and dreams with us. Once again we have a wonderful program bringing films from all over the world to Anchorage; “Aqui y Alla” (“Here and There”) from Spain, “El Studiante” (“The Student”) from Mexico, and “Il Caccia- tore di Anatre” (“The Duck Hunter”) from Italy to name a few of the great feature films.
The programming teams have been working hard since spring to pull together the films you will be watching during the next 10 days. They have coordinated with filmmakers from all over the world and worked to bring as many of them as possible to visit Alaska. It’s amazing to see the whole thing come together and it’s a task that would be impossible without the great group of people that have volunteered their time to watch the hundreds of hours of films we get each year and find the gems; those films that are fitting of the title: “Films Worth Freezing For.”
With warm regards,
LETTER FROM SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS
Dear Alaskan Film Enthusiast,
Welcome to the 2012 Anchorage International Film Festival. Since 2001, AIFF has been bringing “Films Worth Freezing For” to Anchorage. Thank you for being here and supporting the local creative economy.
It has been an exciting year for Alaska filmmakers and enthusiasts. Together we fought hard and succeeded in passing legislation to continue the Alaska film and television production incentives. With the passage of my legislation(SB23) there will be a 10 year and $200 million extension of the Alaska film and television production incentives. We did our best to Alaskanize this popular program and upgraded it by:
- Doubling the Alaska hire bonus
- Adding an additional credit for the first episodic television program to qualify
- Strengthening the accountability and transparency of the program
I’m also excited about our efforts to provide job training resources to those who want to enhance their skills in this field. In 2010, I worked with my colleagues to include $486,000 supporting training grants for Alaskans. You can get more information about training opportunities at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The Alaska film and television production incentives offer a great opportunity for Alaskans to work in film and television, here in Alaska, without having to move outside. But, we have more work to do to build this industry in Alaska and I hope you’ll stay in touch. Please e-mail me at Senator.Johnny.Ellis@legis.state.ak.us for legislative developments and connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for being here and supporting AIFF. Remember, AIFF is a non-profit organization and this event is only possible with the hard work of hundreds of volunteers. Please consider AIFF supporting financially or get involved as a volunteer with this fantastic organization of Alaskans. Don’t forget to thank and support all the filmmakers, volunteers, sponsors and supporters who make this amazing event possible.
Enjoy the films,
Senator Johnny Ellis
P.S. Please e-mail me at Senator.Johnny.Ellis@legis.state.ak.us and I’ll keep you posted about the latest Legislative developments in this growing and exciting industry.
LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER
The festival has been a 12-year marathon without a finish line and the baton is now in the grasp of our first “official” Festival Director (meaning she’s paid, but not nearly what she’s worth) Teresa Scott, and a new Program Director, Josh Lowman, only the third Program Director since the AIFF’s audacious beginning back at the turn of the century. However, I’m still on the sidelines cheering everyone on and when needed, ready to jump back into the thick of things to help run the next leg of the race.
AIFF has become a popular event for our city, the surrounding communities, and film lovers throughout the state. Bringing artists from all parts of the country and the world to Alaska allows us to connect with creative people and industry professionals we might not otherwise meet. Please take the opportunity to engage with them in workshops, at screenings, and during celebratory parties. The festival also helps inspire Alaska’s next generation to create and present works of art through film/video. It provides an opportunity to share those works and for us to hear their voices. For many, the festival is the catalyst and inspiration to pursue a career in the field of film/video and new media.
As part of our mission to connect with other cultures, this year I’m delighted to welcome our friends from the Consulate of Mexico in Anchorage and everyone of Mexican heritage. Cross cultural connections through film are a great way for our community to grow closer. Please give a warm Alaska welcome to the films and filmmakers of Mexico. I encourage you to join us for these programs and seek out friends from across the border. Please welcome all filmmakers, whether they have traveled far, or simply from across town, to join us this year to celebrate the 12th annual Anchorage International Film Festival.
Before I finish, I’d like to ask our patrons to consider becoming AIFF members. As a non-profit organization, the festival is at a crucial stage of development. To continue operating the festival at the size and scope that we’ve enjoyed over the last decade, we need to focus our ambitions on ways to fund more of our operations. Funding will help the festival become a stronger institution and attract more of the world’s top filmmakers, directors and producers. It will help us expand the annual event into a more active role in the exhibition and promotion of film and video throughout the year and around the state of Alaska. Please strongly consider a contribution and visit our website for more information about becoming an AIFF member: www.anchoragefilmfestival.org
Finally, I want to thank all the volunteers, supporters, fans, filmmakers and AIFF members for supporting the Anchorage International Film Festival and the art of independent film from around the world. We couldn’t do it without you!