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10th film festival: Sale deadline passes

The Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) is celebrating its 10 year in 2020. 

Biana Bova with winning poster.

The founders of the Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) plans to launch its 10th annual event virtually from Nov. 5 through 15, expecting double the number of film screenings by streaming online:​​​​​​​

April Ranck and J. Alberto Guzman said the changes from the Capitol Theatre are because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Passes now on sale:

$85 - Full Festival Passport to All Films

$45 - 6 Ticket Film Pass

$12 - Single ticket

The festival has named the winner of its annual poster contest, Rayna Walters, but the public voting continues (see below).


While AIFF's winning poster was unveiled in May, for the first time, the public can vote on the design.

Regardless of distance, you have the opportunity of viewing the poster submissions and casting  your vote until Nov. 4, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

The audience-choice winner will be announced on opening night of the festival, Nov. 5.

Vote via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the AIFF website. The winning design student will receive a cash prize of $200.

Learn more -- and vote -- here >>

More about the winning poster

Using topographical maps of Arlington to construct a vintage camera, Walters achieves the goal of visually and conceptually illustrating ‘Where Arlington and the World Converge’ by way of international film. Her image is at right. Walters, a senior majoring in Illustration at Massachusetts College of Art & Design is the winner of this year’s poster competition. Her design was one of 16 submissions open exclusively to professor Robert Maloney’s Experimental Illustration class.

The assignment challenged students to create an experimental/mixed-media illustration for the festival. Maloney asked that his students consider utilizing the experimental vocabulary of mixed media, collage and use of 3D elements to visually and conceptually illustrate an image that would be based around the broad theme of international films and would ultimately become the face of this film festival.

Participating artists were Caroline Barlow, Allison Cashins, Sy Corso, Elizabeth Derby, Sierra Escobales, Dakota Gillies, Sara Li, Nicole Lyczynski, Sara Micciche, Madeline Peck, Isabella Penney, Pauline Pitts, Jackson Schleicher, Emma Sudak, Walters and Kayleigh Zimmerman. 

Poster submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges with expertise in composition, design, public relations and marketing. They are David Ardito, Biana Bova (last year’s poster contest winner), Jennifer DesAutels, Marc Gurton, Erica Licea-Kane and Niloufer Moochhala. Entries are assessed for visual appeal, content, and marketability. Beginning in 2020, the previous year’s winner will be invited to participate in the judging of the current year’s competition. Of the chosen design, the judges commented:

David Ardito: “It meets the professor’s criteria of experimentation with different media including a 3D aspect and the use of maps of Arlington gives the sense of locality as well as a rich, high resolution texture to the design.” 

Jennifer Des Autels: “The designer successfully layered images to create a subtle yet meaningful and textured backdrop that nicely complements the intricate raised paper mechanism. The motif of a film reel camera is a common one for posters, but this one is a very well-done rendering that can engage the viewer with its sheer technical beauty. It appeals to a recently trending aesthetic that celebrates physical mechanisms and what goes on inside the box, and at the same time demonstrates masterful paper sculpting technique.”

Biana Bova: “What can I say, that sculptural film reel camera made out of maps is clever and is such a visual treat. I think it hits the experimental nail on the head. I like that although the image is predominantly just a camera (which you all undoubtedly have seen a thousand times), this one is a genuinely unique take that doesn't feel nearly as cliched as some of the other entries. I also enjoy the blue, blurred out flags in the background—there's something about how they've been treated that reminds me of pixels on an old TV or computer screen.”

The selected poster design becomes the face of the Festival for 2020, appearing in various forms; i.e. posters, postcards, banners, program books, lanyards, covers of news media, electronic ads, social media, bulletin boards, locally, nationally and internationally. The cash prize of $500 is offered through the generous support of Watertown Savings Bank, sponsor of this year’s poster contest.

Walters on her design: The Arlington International Film Festival connects all aspects of international filmography and I strived to depict this in the poster, while also emphasizing its location in Arlington. The vintage film projector at the center is made with cut paper shapes from a topographical map of Arlington and the surrounding area. In the background is an abstracted pattern of international flags to represent the collection of the creative minds who make these films and the festival possible. The film strip that wraps around the composition allows a space for a title, dates, and other important information.”

April Ranck and Alberto Guzman, organizers of AIFF said of the contest, “it provides a direct connection between graphics, film and movie lovers. We are proud to be celebrating our 10th year of this very special project, giving voice and recognizing young talented artists and we look forward to celebrating our 10th year of bringing the best of local, national and international indie films to you in November.”   

 The festival's poster contest was held Thursday, May 28, from 7 to 7:45 p.m.  It was a virtual event. 

We gather to celebrate creativity in illustration and design through our on-going partnership with professor Robert Maloney of Mass College of Art & Design’s Illustration class. We congratulate all of the art students on their designs and look forward to unveiling the winning poster.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Watertown Savings Bank who will award the winning artist with a cash prize of $500.

This year’s guest speaker is Fabio J. Fernandez, artist, curator, teacher, and arts administrator. Arlington, MA Poet Laurate, Steven Ratiner will recite a poem created to commemorate this occasion.

AIFF recognizes its voluntreers

We will start with Siobhan Fanning from the Iris Film Festival, Walter Locke, Susan Green, Sean Snyder, Jeff Munroe, Brian Fiore, David Gilliman, Dr. Elisa Adams, Nancy Brooks, David Ardito, Dave Moore, Nilou Moochhala, Alan Manoian, Cheryl Hamilton, Pam Endo, Charles H. Shuerhuff, Elizabeth Tyler, Ray Bernoff, Ed Gordon, John Kusiack, John Vocci, Julie Land, Nicole Lebrasco, Adriac Arch, Steve Kassos, Eliaj Cohen, Paulette Kely, Angela Schatz, Michael Rosse, Brendyn Snyder, Susan Rothschild, Linda Yee, Harvey Yee, James Milan, Eric Stage, Barbara Costa, Alice Bouvrie, Bob Kuhn, Dorothee Van Thong, Alex van Thong, Nicolle Renick, Ted Peluso, Angela Olszewski, Judy Wembierg, David Garret, Saoirse Loftus-Reid, Shuyi Wang, Erica Jones, Linda Shoemaker, Ananda Thiagarajan, Zoe Kouyman, Jennifer Cheng DesAutels, Erica Licea-Kane, Marc Gurton, Margaret Moody, Mona Mottadi, Jennifer Atwood, John Dellano, Pam Shanley, Michael Mahin, Kevin Duffy, William Turville, Sarah Burks, Neil McGarry, Cesar Perez, Michael Armanious, Betty Athanasoulas, Allison Betts, Joe Mansfield, John Budzyna, Daniel Fox, Teresa Vasquez-Dodero, Anand Kumar, Carter Long/Museum of Fine Arts (MAF), Anne Wayne, Eileen Murphy-McNamara, Sandra Mayo, Malden TV Center, David A. Fechtor, Emily Snyder, Mike Oliver, Robert Maloney, Robins Library, Fox Library, Athena Pandolf, Chris LeGare, Koyla Shield, Alice Markowiktz, Amy Currul, Anya Miller, Apo Ashjian, Armen Varadian,  Bernadette Garden, Bernice Schnieder, Marga Varea, Bob Nesson, Carl Romero, Carol Patton, Carolina Marion, Carter Long, Chico Colvard, Kend Field, Gayatri Sundar and many more


AIFF 2020 RAFFLE: Drawing held July 4 

The winner was Bruce Lederer.

Raffle proceeds benefit AIFF

Thanks to Home Depot for their generous support of 2020 AIFF 

Looking back over 10 years

"We hope this message finds you, your family and friends safe and in good spirits. It is certainly trying times for all and we all have our own unique ways to abide, ours is watching captivating independent film," the cofounders wrote.

"Approaching its 10th year of production in November 2020, AIFF reflects back on the privilege it has had to serve an ever-increasing film audience, while building strong community partnerships in Arlington, throughout greater Boston and around the world. The success and popularity of the past nine years is a tribute to AIFF’s programming and showcasing topics that are relevant to current day society.

"It is precisely this strength and popularity that has driven us to embrace change and overcome the obstacles that Covid-19 has presented. Due to potential health concerns that may still be lingering in November, we are announcing the 10th edition of AIFF will be launched virtually with double the number of film screenings. Considering the safety of all concerned, we are convinced that our decision to take the Festival online is the right one. It is our choice to look at this decision as a unique opportunity of expanding our viewership; thus, we have partnered with a marketing agency specializing in the arts as well as a streaming service that services film festival communities.

"Opportunities abound, and we hope you are on board with us to support the 10th anniversary of AIFF as we continue to foster appreciation for one another through independent film. As an arts institution, we believe that our work at this moment is especially important, coming together to bring meaning and pleasure to people as we offer a range of views from local filmmakers to those across the globe.

"Honoring our past nine years, we embrace this challenge while reimagining AIFF for our 21st-century viewers. We remain dedicated to bringing the excellence of film we are known for and we recommit to our focus on the community in which we live. Over the next few weeks, we will be in touch with each of you, assisting you in your choice of a creative sponsorship package that will promote your business/organization and continue to support the mission and vision of AIFF."

AIFF announces 2020 selection committee 

Shahrzad Dadgar is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer from Hamedan, Iran. Dadgar earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in urban engineering from Azad University in Hamedan, Iran before pursuing a film career. As an artist, Shahrzad's work focuses on promoting understanding of women's empowerment, and women who have suffered from sexual issues. Shahrzad has received the coveted Golden Gazzale from the Persian Int’l Film Festival in Australia, the Best Inspirational Women in Film award from the Festigious Film Festival in Los Angeles, and Best Script award from the Cervaignano Film Festival in Italy. Dadgar is now attending Jacksonville University’s College of Fine Arts in Florida on a talent scholarship grant and continues to make independent films.

Sandip Pratihar is an independent filmmaker from the small village of Tajpur in India. He enjoys working on surreal subjects, dramas, and documentaries. Sandip is also a screenplay writer, having written eight feature film scripts. He believes that film is a medium where people can enjoy time together, where they can discover both their joys and sorrows. His continuing endeavor is to make the kind of films where the lost and unwelcome voices of our world will reach the people.

Belal Taheri is an Iranian independent filmmaker and content distributor professional at Cineport media, an online submission platform that assists filmmakers and festivals. Belal has been a jury member for more than 56 international film festivals, Edinburgh, Oaxaca, Jaipur, Euro, Ethnografilm, Mediterranean, and the Cannes Film Festivals to name a few. He is also the founder and director of the Cineport International Film Festival.

Judges that will continue with us this year are:

Akasa Stephe Angba is an African filmmaker, producer, director, and editor from Nigeria, with over 15 years of experience as an independent film practitioner, film teacher, and consultant. He studied film at the National Film Institute Jos, where he earned a professional diploma before moving ahead to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, all in film production. He was technical director for the Africa Movie Academy (the parent body of AMA Awards) and has coordinated and lectured on film across the continent of Africa through the Film in a Box-training Program organized by the Africa Film Academy. These training have been held in South Africa, Malawi, and Nigeria amongst other countries. He has also worked with the Nigerian government through the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure a violent-free 2015 national election using audiovisual content. He has complete productions for renowned NGOs like Action Aid and Saves The Children International, producing documentaries/audiovisual campaigns against child malnutrition in northern Nigeria. Over the years, his work as an independent filmmaker includes documentaries, feature films, short films, television films, and series, add campaigns and music videos. He has worked on projects like ‘GRA Women’, a popular television series in Nigeria produced by PMO Global, ‘DAISY’, a feature film starring Nigerian and Ghanaian leading actors, and music videos like ‘FOR YOU’ by the famous gospel musician Dorcas Bentu. Akasa is a man passionate about culture and art, most importantly the business of it all.

Lawrence Benedict is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, has studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, and is a veteran of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. He has performed on stage in over 42 full Equity productions, and in TV and film in both United States and Canada. In Los Angeles, he founded “Angus Lake Productions” where he learned most behind-the-camera disciplines while producing promotional videos for studios such as Universal and directors such as Steven Spielberg. He has edited Disney trailers and a full-length feature he edited, "Forgiving the Franklins," became a Sundance Selection. Lawrence has taught at Banff School of Fine Arts, UCLA Extension and Screen Actors Guild. He is author of “The Video Demo Tape” – published by Focal Press, and “How to Shoot Better Camcorder Videos; Help from the Hollywood Pros.” Lawrence currently performs improv with “The Playground.”

Kate Bernhardt is an accomplished, innovative and creative marketing and communications professional with deep experience in content creation and management, marketing innovation, brand strategy, broadcast and Internet media, marketing campaigns, client and stakeholder management, event planning, team management and development, and translating industry best practices to build brands and drive business success. A consensus-building leader, Kate has an energetic work style, strategic as well as tactical and a unique ability to successfully blend industry knowledge with management and content expertise. Kate is the Communications and Media Consultant for KB Media & Marketing and lives in Arlington, MA.

Alice Bouvrie brings over 20 years of experience in the film industry to her role as documentary Producer and Director. She holds a Master’s Degree in Film Production from Boston University, a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and is a graduate of the DGA Producers Training Program in New York. She is an active member of the Director’s Guild of America, and an active member and former board member of Women in Film & Video/New England. In 2005, she was a Filmmaker-In-Residence at WGBH, Boston, and in 2011 won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship. Bouvrie worked as an Assistant Director on feature films, TV series and specials, commercials and industrials for seven years before producing documentaries as an independent in 1993, forming Mineral King Productions. Alice resides in Arlington, MA.

Barbara Costa is a freelance project manager and multimedia producer of predominantly science subjects for online courses, websites, public television documentaries, educational videos and museum programs, and exhibits. She has produced interactive computer-based exhibits for the Louisville (KY) Science Center and Science City in Kansas City, MO. For nine years, Costa worked in documentary production at the NOVA series (PBS). Barbara is currently overseeing development and marketing for Spy Pond Productions and lives in Arlington, MA.

Paul Dervis has been teaching drama in Canada at Algonquin College as well as the Theatre Conservatory Ottawa School of Speech & Drama for the past 15 years. Previously, he ran theatre companies in Boston, New York, and Montreal. He has directed over 150 stage productions, receiving two dozen awards for his work, directed six films, and written over two dozen plays.

Elizabeth DiNolfo graduated with a degree in journalism from Boston University and has worked professionally for over a decade as a documentary filmmaker. She served as an assistant camera person, writer, producer, and director while working for Northern Light Productions in Boston, DBA Television in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and freelance in New York City. Liz had the opportunity to work on a documentary, educational and commercial projects in Europe, Africa and across the U.S. Her work is credited in numerous films and videos including, “Eyes on the Prize,” “There But for the Grace…,” “Lily Tomlin: In Search for Signs of Intelligence,” ”Heart on the Line,” and “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues.” She lives in Arlington with her husband and two daughters, has been active with the Arlington public schools, and currently works at Brandeis University.

Alice Markowitz of Arlington, MA is currently consulting in communications, visual storytelling, and social marketing for mission-driven companies and non-profit organizations. A three-time Emmy Award winner, Alice’s career began in broadcast journalism--producing, directing and writing PBS documentaries for national broadcast on multiple series including NOVA, Blackside's This Far by Faith, and Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers. Alice earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar and a Master’s in Education from Harvard before becoming a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar in Asia.

Nuno Sá Pessoa is from Lisbon, Portugal. He began his studies in cinema and television at Universidade Moderna, Lisboa and went on to graduate from the European Film College in Denmark. Nuno directed his first independent work with two feature-length documentaries following, in which he did both cinematography and editing. He has worked in California where he edited a total of three feature-length documentaries directed by Kenneth Payton. Having moved back to his native Portugal, Pessoa co-founded Skookum Films.

Phil Pritchard was born in Epsom, Surrey, England and graduated from Mountview Theatre School in London. He appeared in the title role 'A Kitten for Hitler' (2007) directed by the legendary British Film director Ken Russell and in 'The Scouting Book for Boys' (2009) directed by Tom Harper and ‘Woman in Black: Angel of Death’ starring Thomas Turgoose & Holiday Grainger. On stage, he appeared in the West End production of 'A Little Night Music' directed by Trevor Nunn at The Garrick Theatre and as Henry Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. After UK national tours of 'Lark Rise to Candleford' and 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' (York Theatre Royal), he was cast in the International Tour of Beatles Biopic 'Backbeat' (2013) written by Ian Softley (Trap for Cinderella) and Stephen Jeffries (The Libertine, Diana) and directed by 5-time Tony Nominee David Leveaux. Produced by Karl Sydow and Paul Elliot the West End show toured to Toronto & Los Angeles. In the USA he appeared in the film 'Tattooed Love' (2015) with Edy Ganem (Devious Maids) Laura Flannery (American Horror Story), Marlon Moreno (El Capo). Pritchard serves on several film festival selection committees.

Bernice Schneider is an award-winning documentary film editor. She received her Master of Science in Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab under the direction of Richard Leacock. Bernice has edited numerous films for PBS’s American Experience, Frontline, Nova Science Unit, American Masters, and Independent Lens. She edited the feature-length independent documentary film, Rebel, about the politics of national memory as viewed through the lens of the secret life of a Latina confederate soldier. Another feature, Angkor’s Children, focuses on a grassroots movement to reinvigorate the arts in post-genocide Cambodia. Angkor’s Children has screened nationally and internationally, including within Cambodia at the Bophana Film Center. She edited Alice Bouvrie’s film A Chance to Dress, winner of the Arlington International Film Festival’s Best Short 2015. She also completed A Perfect Crime: the Leopold and Loeb Story for American Experience in 2016Most recently, she completed the editing of Laurel Chiten’s documentary, Just One Drop which premiered in London in 2017. Her films have screened at prestigious museums, both nationally and internationally. Bernice also worked in the field with national correspondent Charlene Hunter-Gault for PBS’s NewsHour in Kenya, South Africa, Haiti, and Somalia, where she edited stories on political and cultural change in the developing world. She has received honors and awards for her work including a Wallis Annenberg scholarship for women filmmakers, a CINE Golden Eagle, the Biographical Video Award, and an N.E.A. Regional Fellowship. Bernice also teaches editing at Emerson College and lives in Cambridge, MA.

Eric Stange, executive producer and founder of Spy Pond Productions in Arlington, is a writer, director, and producer of documentary television programs on history, science, and technology. His work has appeared on PBS, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the BBC. He specializes in both short and long format projects that combine rigorous research with innovative visualization techniques and imaginative storytelling. Eric has been a recipient of the Charles Warren Fellowship in American History from Harvard University. He is a member of the board of Common-Place, the leading academic website for studies in early American history, writes a column for American Heritage magazine on the history and new media, and is a visiting fellow with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Before becoming a filmmaker Stange was a print journalist and wrote primarily about art and culture for newspapers and journals including the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Chronicle of Higher Education and other national publications.

Marga Varea of Arlington, MA is the founder and lead impact producer at Twin Seas Media, an outreach and distribution agency for independent documentary films and film festivals. With 20 years of experience in the film and television industries, Marga has a deep understanding of the filmmaking process from concept to distribution and a deep love for non-fiction. Marga develops creative outreach, engagement and communications strategies that raise the visibility of independent documentary films. She designs and implements multi-platform, thorough impact and distribution campaigns for non-fiction media that questions the status quo and illuminates some of the most important issues of our times.

Yahia Zakaria is a Film/TV Producer and Project Manager with a Bachelor’s in Cinema Directing from the Art Academy in Egypt. Yahia has more than ten years’ experience as a filmmaker and has supervised production and post-production for feature films, documentaries, TV commercials, TV shows, short films, and video clips. His last job was Head of Production at Era Media (Digital Agency) in Kuwait. He established and supervised Era Media’s Cairo office where he is currently freelancing and looking for new challenges.

Judges for the high school student submissions are:

Anya Miller

The festival announces the selection committeefor the 2020 AIFF Student Film Program.

They will be viewing all the submissions and will select the shorts that comprise this year’s program as well the winners.

The film judges are: Anya Miller (left) who works in the marketing department of the Regent Theatre, runs sound and video for film events and is a freshman at Emerson College; Jonathan Vogel, an Arlingtonian and a junior at Boston University College of Fine Arts; Lia Kornmehl, of Newton, is a freshman at Bowdoin College, studying government and religion; Padriac Farma, a filmmaker from South Boston, is a multimedia editor/producer for Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee. 

The student program is a major component of the festival at large and supports the mission of nurturing the next generation of filmmakers. Given the global nature of this competition, students as well as adults have the opportunity to explore the world through the eyes of young, creative folks and better understand their interpretation of the world.

AIFF 2020 Partners

‘Celebrating the Best of Humanity and 10-Year Anniversary’

The Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF), now celebrating its 10th anniversary, announces its partnerships and programming schedule for 2020, featuring partners from as far away as China and Scotland to numerous screenings as close as Greater Boston.

AIFF is proud to take its place among the ranks of extraordinary collaborators dedicated to working on behalf of their communities to recognize and honor the many cultures among us via the arts. You are invited on a journey this year as AIFF continues to foster ways in which to connect with people across economic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds, bringing together people and communities.

AIFF and have entered into a cross-promotion deal where the AIFF Call for Entries is posted on their website in China. is China's first film and television resource platform that integrates film production services, legal services, and derivative services, allowing entry into the Chinese market in the most ideal state, facilitating international linkage and breaking the information barriers.  

WoFF: World of Film Int’l Festival in Glasgow, Scotland, UK - October 8 - 11

A cross-promotion deal was struck between AIFF and WOFF with dialogue ensuing as plans come together for the AIFF Kick-Off scheduled in October. WOFF is an annual film festival based in Glasgow, Scotland and currently in its seventh edition. They focus on promoting independent international cinema and new talent from Scotland, the UK and beyond with an aim to bring Scottish audiences together with filmmakers, producers, artists and cinema enthusiasts from around the world, discovering new talent, showcasing their work and generating ideas for future projects. WOFF is a non-profit organization bringing audiences a step closer to international independent cinema and giving voice to young artists.

This announcement was updated Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, and updated Aug. 30, 2020. 

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