Rogue Valley On Film: Locals Only at AIFF
The Ashland Independent Film Festival is known for showcasing innovative films that span a wide breadth of genres, and the Locals Only category this year is no exception. Whether practicing yoga in schools or wandering the forests of Cascadia in a dream-come-to-life, these filmmakers are pushing the boundaries and telling untold stories of our special little corner of the world.
Nine films made the cut in the Locals category. Some are as short as three minutes, and most can’t be found on Youtube, and the Locals screening is free to attend—all compelling reasons to check out the productions created by your friends and neighbors. Here are some highlights:
Loose Ends, created by the Pixel Bros—also known as Jacob Dalton, Chris Lawruk and Liam Boehning—is a suspenseful alt-western with some fun local shout-outs. Watch two best friends duke it out on a grassy hillside with familiar views of the Rogue Valley behind them, and meet their scary crime boss at a formerly innocuous Grants Pass pizza joint.
Best friendship is not an unfamiliar subject for Dalton and Boehning, who have been making films together since the 7th grade. This is their first submission to AIFF, and, as Dalton puts it, “jumping out of the three-minute YouTube category.” With twenty action-packed minutes, Loose Ends far transcends internet entertainment.
Female to Male: Transgender also finds its genesis in YouTube, where producer Dade Barlow posted four years’ worth of video documenting his transition from female to male. After seeing too many comments based in misunderstanding of transgenderism, Barlow says, “I wanted to give people a window into the private thoughts of a transgender person who is transitioning.” With Barlow’s roots in Jacksonville, the message hits closer to home than ever before. “A lot of people assume they don’t know a transgender person, but they do,” he says.
YoMind/AHS is the brainchild of yoga instructor Libby Edson, who for the past three years has been putting students into shivasana at Ashland High School through their innovative YoMIND program.
“Kids were coming up to me expressing how grateful they were for having yoga in school,” says Edson, and she says getting them on camera was the next logical step. With the professional filmmaking skills of fellow yoga instructor Todd Wilson, the result is an inspiring short documentary with some young faces you might recognize!
Also showing: Dear Future Self, written and directed by Ray Novato Robison, and The Settling, which Robison produced for his friend Brad Douglas. The Settling was shot in Klamath County and deals with themes of family and fidelity.
Dear Future Self shows what happens to a woman who uncovers a time capsule recording she made for herself fifty years prior and is shocked by hearing her own racism. “I think it’s going to appeal a lot to people, especially older people, who are aware of how our society has evolved,” says Robison.
Another Locals Only film on the theme of aging is Cat Gould’s short documentary Bernardina, which profiles a local woman who realizes that she’s not getting old, she just is old. Locals Only audiences are also sure to enjoy the Cascadia forest romp The Giantess, produced by Philip Kumsar of Jacksonville along with several friends from Arcata. As I Am is an experimental dance/art film created by Amirah David of Ashland. Last but not least, we have Cyle Ziebarth, an AIFF veteran, with his animated short Climb of Competence.
Locals Only screening times are available on the AIFF website, AshlandFilm.org.