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Ashland Independent Film Festival

HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff (Available April 24-25) It is not a Hollywood movie pitch: “A chamber-rock opera about the intersection of finance and spirituality.” And, oh yeah, at the center of the story is disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and his decade-old con job. Perhaps not a

HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Teddy, Out of Tune (Available April 26-27) Noted for its gentle assessment of individuals on the fringe of the American west, the feature film Nomadland has received far-reaching applause and accolades—and a few Oscar nods. Teddy, Out of Tune deserves just as much. A film that is

Anchor Point (Available April 19-20) The tone for Anchor Point is not incendiary, although the subject-matter is: Fighting forest fires and, more specifically, the challenge of two women to fit in—or not—to the male-dominated culture and policies of the U.S. Forest Service. To examine those (burning) questions, the documentary shadows

Impact (Available April 26-27) One of the strongest features for this year festival is exploring local issues and individuals—and this film is no exception: At the core of Impact is Medford-based Troy Wohosky, who was once a top junior boxer in the country (as in, number three, and an Olympic

HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: American Gadfly (Available April 27-28) When first reading the briefing for this film, I assumed it was the premise for a Seth Rogen comedy: A group of daring teenagers recruit an 89-year old sharp-tongued former U.S. Senator out of his mothball retirement for an underdog bid for

Stalking Chernobyl: Exploration After Apocalypse (Available April 28-29) Chernobyl, Ukraine, was a town that was expected to last for millennia, especially due to the nuclear power station installed there in 1977 by the Soviet Union. The nearby town of Pripyat, Ukraine, was supported by the station, and the people of

2040 (Available April 16-17) Written as a letter to his young daughter, 2040 is an entertaining documentary by Australian writer/director, Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film), envisioning his hopes and dreams of a better planet for her in 20 years. Instead of bombarding viewers with a lot of dystopian-ish drama, this

In the Same Breath (Available April 16-17) A man widely opens his mouth, pressing so hard against his mask that indentations remain. He strains to say, “no oxygen,” while slowly asphyxiating, but health care workers cannot hear or help him. Later, the documentary cuts to a scene where the Chinese

Trammel (shown as part of the “Short Stories & Documentaries: Outsiders,” available April 15 – 29) “Trammel” both means to restrict one’s freedom, and also can refer to a tool that consists of two fixed points. It is also the title to a short film about one man, Dale, and

Bug Farm (14 minutes, Available April 15) Opening with the soothing tones of the harp, Bug Farm’s soundtrack quickly clashes into the sounds of crickets calling and various bugs skittering. Director Lydia Cornett says in her Director’s Statement that she hopes “Bug Farm offers a deeper look at the disparate