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7th international film festival held at Capitol

Joshua Chace, 2017 poster winnerJoshua Chace, 2017 poster winner, with AIFF's April Ranck. / Jim Smith photo

UPDATED, Oct. 29:  The seventh annual Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) was held from Thursday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Capitol Theatre. 

See the full schedule of films >>


The Sunday, Oct. 29, program began at noon with 72 minutes of international shorts, starting with "Fist of People," judged Best Narrative, by South Korean director Dong-ki An. Fascinated by films of Bruce Lee that are banned by the state, a North Korean boy who has developed a deep respect for him is caught by the communist order.

A second round of international shorts began at 1:25 p.m. In "The Typewriter Repairman," director Thomas Draudt tells in seven minutes the story of a longtime business owner who is busier than ever in the digital age. This video award winner follows with a Q&A with Draudt and Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriter, East Arlington.

Africa, waterThe festival concluded after 6:25 p.m. with "The Man Who Wanted to Change the World" (photo at left). Directed by Mariëtte Faber of The Netherlands, this 2017 documentary has its U.S. premiere. It is about Peter Westerveld, an inventor and artist whose environmental concern focuses on how the African continent is turning to desert.

"Voices of Our Youth," a two-hour presentation of student film, was held at noon Saturday, Oct. 28. A reception for recognized filmmakers followed at the Fox Library.

At 2:15, a 60-minute documentary "Everyone Knows Elizabeth Murray," by U.S. director Kristi Zea, honors the dynamic figure in New York’s contemporary art landscape. A Q&A/reception follows at 13Forest Gallery, 167 Mass. Ave.

A full program concluded that night at 9:50 with "Have a Nice Flight, by U.S. director Jimmy Dinh, judged the festival's Best Narrative Feature. Find out about a short, hapless Vietnamese manicurist, who desperately needs to get to Vietnam to donate a kidney to save his sick twin brother. His broken English, cultural misunderstandings and his good heart bring his flight journey with dangerous, laughter, tears, hate, love and forgiveness. 

Screenings Friday, Oct. 27, began with "Rattled," a 10-minute film from director Jaafar Almadhoon of India, which tells the story of Mohammed's traditional search for a bride resulting in more than 12 rejections. 

Following is "A Courtship," a 71-minute documentary by U.S. director Amy Khon, which offers a peek into the practice of Christian courtship.

The evening concludes with "Chasing Trane," a 99-ute documentary by U.S. director John Scheinfeld. Names Best of Festival, this film follows the life of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane.

The festival began Oct. 26 with "Honk: A Festival of Activist Street Bands," a seven-minute 2016 documentary directed by Patrick Johnson.

Honk! is a festival of activist street bands that reclaim public spaces with their brash sound, political messages, and outrageous community oriented performances that originated in Somerville.

Following that was "Shadowgram," the U.S. premiere of the 66-minute 20`6 documentary by director August Contento of Italy. The film captures the memory of African-Americans living in the South Side of Chicago, 50 years after the abolition of the ignominious Jim Crow Laws.

Shadowgram was scheduled to be screened at the United Nations meeting of the High Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, March of 2017 in commemoration of the Worldwide Day in Defense of Human Rights. The screening was canceled upon request of the Trump administration.

Shadowgram has received the UNESCO Worldwide Patronage – The Route of Slaves recognition for its intense research on African-American heritage and community and is supported by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.

Following the screening was an interview with the film's producer via Skype from Paris.

The fest launched with a showing of "The Promise," by Director Zeljko Mirkovic, a 2016 documentary about the people of Serbia. The New England premiere of this film was held Saturday, Oct. 21, at St. Sava Cathedral,  North Cambridge.

For the past 7 seasons, the Arlington International Film Festival has curated a festival in October that celebrates the very best of new local, national, and international films for audiences to enjoy. AIFF’s Selection Committee watches hundreds of submissions each year and is delegated with the task of choosing films that represent the creative in storytelling and technical execution while holding to the festival’s mission of fostering appreciation for different cultures by exploring the lives of people around the globe through independent film. Each year brings forth amazing visions of filmmakers that we are honored to bring to Greater Boston.

This year, the judges have selected a film that will kick-off the 2017 Festival that is an homage to our Serbian community, representing the vision and passion of the French as well as the Serbian communities.

THE PROMISE by director Zeljko Mirkovic

See a video here >>

In a remote village in the north of Serbia, once known as a prosperous wine region, something unexpected has happened. A French family has moved into the poor village now nearly deserted.

They believe they have found a promised land for growing grapes and winemaking. But they have found only old people in the village, distrusting people, with old habits.

A new challenge awaits them back home in France – how to persuade sommeliers that superior wine can be made in an unknown and problematic region? Can they awaken hope and breathe a new life into the old village? Thus, The Promise is born. 

Fest's free, official app

The festival has a free, official app, Whova. Download it here >> You'll be able to:

  • View the event agenda and plan your schedule.
  • Plan ahead whom to meet at the event by browsing attendee profiles in advance.
  • Send in-app messages and exchange contact info.
  • Find attendees with common affiliations, education, shared networks and social profiles.
  • Receive update notifications from organizers.
  • Access agenda, GPS guidance, maps, and parking directions.

After downloading, sign up on Whova with your email address that you used to RSVP for the event, or sign up using your social media accounts. If you are asked to enter an invitation code to join the event, please use the following invitation codeaifqk

3 websites join as media partners

The Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) has announced that, and has signed on to sponsor the 2017 AIFF Student Filmmaker Awards program.

In an Aug. 31 newsletter, AIFF wrote: " has delivered the freshest news and the sharpest opinions about the town since 2006. Managed by veteran journalist and longtime resident Bob Sprague, the web presence is the only Arlington-based 24/7 media site. Since the inception of AIFF in 2010, has been a strong supporter as well as an advocate.  

" is Medford's first online-only news source founded in 2007 by Allison Goldsberry, a lifelong resident of Medford.

" is an independent source for news, features, commentary and event information serving primarily Cambridge since 2009."

Diverse array of films

AIFF continues to unearth some of the best independent storytellers in all genres. It presents a diverse array of local, national and international narrative and documentary features, shorts and student films.

Festival organizers anticipate another year of exceptional films that foster appreciation for different cultures by exploring the lives of people around the globe through independent film and nurturing the next generation of filmmakers.

Award sponsors include Glidecam Industries Inc., High Output, CyberLink, Engine Room Edit, Rule Camera, Talamas, Irving House, Artscope Magazine, Arlington Community Media inc. (ACMi) and WGBH.

Uniting filmmakers and community

Each year, the festival hosts more than 2,000 cinema fans and presents more than 50 screenings. Filmmakers, producers, students and media outlets from across the United States regularly converge at this festival and exit Arlington infused with big ideas and extraordinary new connections.

In a news release, Director April Ranck says of the festival: "The enthusiasm that culminates in Arlington around the film screenings, visiting directors and conversations is exciting; people come together infused with energy and ideas because of the stories shared by amazing indie filmmakers. It is wonderful to see the interaction among community organizations, businesses/corporations, educational institutions, and audience members. The Arlington International Film Festival is an annual event not to be missed!"

Worldwide recognition

Recognized for drawing an impressive lineup of premieres, as well as identifying talented filmmakers early in their careers, AIFF is proud to have screened films that have been recognized worldwide. Many films have been chosen to tour internationally with the State Department, Cannes Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival in Italy, Berlin Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, as well as purchased by HBO and PBS and nominated for Academy Awards.

Mission statement: To foster appreciation for different cultures by exploring the lives of people around the globe through independent film, and to nurture the next generation of filmmakers within our community.

Tax-deductible contributions should be made payable to the festival’s fiscal agent, MIRA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

2017 'brand' via Mass College of Art

2017 winning posterThe winner of the poster design for the seventh annual festival was chosen at an evening that celebrated many art forms -- including an exhibition of the poster illustrations, live music, poetry and story-telling.

Joshua Chace was awarded a cash prize of $500 by the festival's sponsor, Watertown Savings Bank.

A senior at Mass College of Art and Design, Chace offered this view of his work: "The imagery of the film reel and flags over a colorful painted surface lets the viewer know about the art and creativity that happens at this international film show."

See more photos here >>

He said he is better at computer art than drawing, and leaned on his Photoshop skills to create the final product. Surprised to be named the winner, he thinks producing another poster would be fun.

Festival films must be 30 minutes or less ("shorts"), and in one of the following categories:

• Narrative
• Documentary
• Animation
• Experimental

Festival organizers also seek entries from high school students.

In keeping with the festival’s desire to promote local artists, the organizers invite local student filmmakers to submit their shorts. Part of AIFF’s mission is to nurture the next generation of filmmakers within our community. To be eligible, students must be 18 years old or under and enrolled in high school. High school filmmakers’ submission fees are waived.  

Partnership with Purple Arrow FilmsDonate

The festival has announced an international partnership with Purple Arrow Films.

Established in 2016, Purple Arrow is a film-festival consultancy involved in worldwide distribution of films.

Purple Arrow aims to promote traditional forms of film making along with the importance of film festivals in the overall cycle of a film.  

2017 Meet AIFF Partners

13Forest Gallery - ACMi - Acitrón Restaurant - Arlington Centered - Artbeat - Art Providence Show, Providence RI -  Artemis Yoga, Watertown - Artscope Magazine - ATED - Avenue Appraisal Company - AVALON Dance & Fitness, Belmont - SCATV, Somerville - KUMON - Back Bay Fit - Bistro Duet Restaurant - Boston Irish Film Festival - Boston Jewish Film Festival - Boston Latino International Film Festival Brigham Square -Casa B Taps Restaurant, Somerville - Casa ESME - Central Rock Gym, Cambridge - Century 21 - Christmas Revels -  David Lenoir: Coldwell Banker - Dean's Beans - Derby Farms: Flowers & Gardens - East Arlington Business - East Somerville Main Streets - E. Puopolo & Son -  Father & Son: Floorcraft - FRESH! Literary Magazine - Filmmakers Collaborative - Harvard Ceramics - Harvard Film Archive - HOMEWOOD SUITE HOTEL - High Output - Huntington Theater - Imagine Magazine - Irving House - IFCOM - iPichTV - International  Institute of New England -Involution Studios: Boston UX Design & UI Design - - Jazz Festival, Arlington - Lakota Bakery - Latinos VIP TV - Malden Community Access TV - Mass Mouth - MIRA - MOVIE Blogger - Not Your Average Joe's Restaurant - Old Schwamb Mill Museum - Original Living Magazine - Peter Fuller in Watertown - Purpure Arrow Film Festival - Quebrada Bakery - Stop and Shop - Robbins Library - RULE Boston Camera - RCN - SCATV, Somerville - TALAMAS Boston TARTUFO'S Ristorante - Thai Moon Resturant - Upholstery on Broadway - Watertown Savings Bank Whole Foods - - Za Restaurant - Zhen Ren Chuan: martial art - East Arlington Business Association 

This news announcement was published Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, and updated Oct.  29.

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