2018 Community Conversations

AIFF Community Conversations

AIFF Community Conversations

“We need to see ourselves projected in other members of our species to, in turn, understand ourselves. Cinema, is that mirror. It is a bridge between the others and us.” ~ Alejandro González Iñárritu (Director)

Have you ever wanted to have a place to discuss a film with others after watching it?

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is offering a unique, FREE program to provide just that, Community Conversations, hosted by moderators Kay Sandberg, Marla Estes, and Gilda Montenegro-Fix.

All Community Conversations will be held at the Elks, 255 East Main (entrance on alleyway) from 5:15 to 6:45. Complimentary coffee and tea will be served; no-host bar available. No ticket required.

Unlike the Q&A sessions with the filmmakers themselves, this is not intended as a discussion about the technical aspects, making or analysis of the film. Participants will be invited to explore how the film impacted them personally: emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually for some. We are not trying to come to a consensus about anything; this is not a debate, not about whose point of view prevails. This is a conversation where we can voice what’s true for us and hear what’s true for others.

Because we each perceive a film through our own unique “lens” based on our psychology and past experience, movies can act as a personal Rorschach test. In other words: what we say about a film says more about us than about the film itself. In this way of exploring, then, we are not trying to figure out what the director meant; like any other art form, value is to be found in our subjective experience. One person’s reaction can be the polar opposite of another’s, with no one being “wrong.”

For the last ten years, I have facilitated post-movie discussions and workshops. There is a phenomenon I have seen happen over and over again. When a participant shares how a film impacted her, then listens to how it affected someone else, I often hear, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.” This level of exchange is a mind-opening experience. It can open us up to our blind spots. It can loosen our certainty that our way of seeing the world is objectively the only one. It can help bring understanding and compassion to others who seem different to us. “It is a bridge between the others and us.”

Here are our Community Conversations films for this year:

  • Intelligent Lives focuses on three young adults with intellectual disabilities and challenges what it means to be intelligent.
  • First Reformed, the latest film by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), with its moral ambiguity, makes for a perfect post-film discussion.
  • Foreigner’s Home, featuring Toni Morrison, is a provocative and timely meditation on race, identity, foreignness, and the redemptive power of art.

Join us for our facilitated AIFF Community Conversations to talk about how a film impacted you and to hear its effect on others. Collective and personal insights and possible social action points will be our focus.

When possible, filmmakers and community partners will be in attendance.

-Marla Estes

2018 Community Conversations

Intelligent Lives 
One Screening Only: Thursday, April 12 at 6pm
Community Conversation: Friday, April 13 from 5:15pm – 6:45pm
Moderators: Kay Sandberg and Marla Estes

First Reformed
One Screening Only: Saturday, April 14 at 3pm
Community Conversation Saturday, April 14 from 5:15pm – 6:45pm
Moderator: Marla Estes

Foreigner’s Home 
Screening: Thurs, April 12, 9pm; Sat, April 13, 9:30am, Sun, April 15, 3pm
Community Conversation Sunday, April 15 from 5:15 – 6:45pm
Moderators: Marla Estes and Gilda Montenegro-Fix

All Community Conversations will be held at the Elks, 255 East Main (entrance on alleyway) from 5:15 to 6:45. Complimentary coffee and tea will be served; no-host bar available. No ticket required.