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Frequently Asked Questions

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 or Film Freeway. 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 2016 AIFF, any film made after January 1, 2015 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, 2015.

How do I submit my film to the AIFF?

The preferred submission method is through either FilmFreeway or Withoutabox. All the information you’ll need to submit your film is available on those sites, including submission fees and deadlines. We ask that you submit an online screener or 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 1st, with early bird discount submission fees until July 20th and normal submission fees until August 24th. Late submissions may be made through Withoutabox until September 7th or by mail until August 31st, however a late submission fee will be applied. Any film submitted through Withoutabox after September 7th or postmarked after August 31st 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. For the lowest fees, submit your film by July 21st 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 600+ 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 14th. 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 digital media (QuickTime), Blu-Ray, DVD or DV-R (in order of preference). We do not exhibit 35 mm prints.

If selected, where will my film be screened?

The 420-seat Bear Tooth Theatrepub 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, Alaska Experience Theater, consists of an 90-seat theater with a large screen and state-of-the art digital projection, along with a more intimate 32-seat theater. The Anchorage Museum is a hub of cultural arts in Downtown Anchorage, with a 200 seat theater. We also include other venues 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. The main categories include Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Short, Best Animation, Best Super Short, Best Made In Alaska, and Best Screenplay.

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 one to two 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 festivals, and are proud to embrace an atmosphere where filmmakers don’t have to sell themselves, just be themselves.

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

We prefer you submit your film through Withoutabox or Film Freeway, but if that isn’t possible you may use the direct submission form. Please be aware that the final deadline for direct submissions is August 30th, 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.