Ashland Independent Film Festival Announces 2018 Juried and Audience Award Winners

Ashland Independent Film Festival Announces 2018 Juried and Audience Award Winners

ASHLAND, Ore. – The Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) announced the highly anticipated juried and audience award-winning films for work screened at the 17th annual festival, April 12-16, 2018. “120 films made it into our program this year, and 15 of them are receiving the added recognition of a jury or audience award,” said festival director Richard Herskowitz. “I want to congratulate the makers of all 120 of our films for the delight and excitement they brought to our enthusiastic audiences.”

The festival presented its coveted Rogue Award to actor Chris Cooper and director Lynn Shelton. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Cooper has given several notable performances in feature films, including as a union organizer in Matewan, the first of five films he appeared in directed by John Sayles. His performance as the eccentric plant collector John Laroche earned him an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor in Adaptation (2002). Cooper also served as executive producer and narrator of AIFF2018’s opening night film, Intelligent Lives, which explores how our society’s narrow views of intelligence have led to the segregation of people with intellectual disabilities.

Lynn Shelton, proudly based in Seattle, had her first feature-length film, We Go Way Back, win the Grand Jury Award at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival.  After her acclaimed My Effortless Brilliance (AIFF2008) and Humpday, she was honored with the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in 2010. Your Sister’s Sister (AIFF2012) won Best Ensemble Performance at the 2012 Gotham Independent Film Awards. In recent years, Shelton has built a successful career as a television series director alongside her feature filmmaking.  Her latest film, Outside In (AIFF2018), starring Edie Falco and Jay Duplass, screened at AIFF2018 and is being released by The Orchard.

This year’s Pride Award was presented to Zackary Drucker. Drucker is an independent artist, cultural producer, and trans woman who breaks down the way we think about gender, sexuality, and seeing. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMA PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Zackary is an Emmy-nominated Producer for the docuseries This Is Me, as well as a producer on the Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winning Amazon series Transparent.

At the conclusion of the Awards Night Ceremony, Herskowitz was joined by Richard Blue, chair of the James Blue Alliance, for an announcement of AIFF’s new James Blue Emerging Filmmaker Award, which will offer a substantial cash award to a social justice filmmaker beginning in 2019. The specifications for this award will be announced in September in advance of the posting of AIFF’s next call for entries.

On the heels of the 17th annual festival, MovieMaker Magazine has named the Ashland Independent Film Festival one of the Top 50 Films Worth the Entry Fee. This is the third time AIFFhas been awarded this recognition (2014 and 2015). “We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this prestigious list,” said Herskowitz.

The complete list of award-winning films follows:


Special Jury Recognition:  Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End

Minding the Gap
Special Jury Recognition: Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Fort Maria
Special Jury Recognition: Wild Honey

Fort Maria
Special Jury Recognition: The Last Hot Lick

Commodity City
Special Jury Recognition: The Last Honey Hunter

So Much Yellow
Special Jury Recognition: Game



Varsity Audience Award: Narrative Feature: For Izzy

Rogue Creamery Audience Award: Feature Length Documentary: Liyana and Skid Row Marathon (TIE)

Jim Teece Audience Award: Narrative Short: Game

Audience Award: Documentary Short: Little Potato



Rogue Awards: Chris Cooper and Lynn Shelton

Pride Award: Zackary Drucker

Indie Institutions: Milestone Films and International Documentary Association


About Ashland Independent Film Festival

The Ashland Independent Film Festival screens 100-plus independent documentary, narrative, animated, and short films at the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, and the Ashland Street Cinema each April. Praised by filmgoers for the intimate access they have to filmmakers, and by filmmakers for the warm and intelligent reception they receive, the Ashland Independent Film Festival was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2016. The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Endowment for the Arts have each twice awarded AIFF with rare festival support grants. The 18th annual festival will be held April 11-15, 2019.