ASHLAND, Ore. – The Ashland Independent Film Festival is getting ready for their 13th season with a nod to Hollywood’s biggest night.
About 200 people walked the red carpet as part of the festival’s Oscar Night Gala. The event is an annual tradition celebrating the spirit of cinema and ringing in a new season for one of the area’s biggest tourist events.
“It brings a lot of big names to this town, which obviously it’s a town that lives off of tourism so any events like that are always appreciated,” said gala attendee Tiazza Rose.
Inside, attendees soaked in the excitement of the awards, cheering on the night’s winners.
Of this year’s nominees, eleven will be featured in this year’s festival.
“This is the highest honor that a filmmaker can receive in the industry,” said Ashland Independent Film Festival Executive Director Anne Ashby. “And so for us, we love to be able to join into that.”
And the gala will set the stage in more ways than one. As one of two major events the AIFF holds each year, it brings in about a tenth of the festival’s revenue.
It also gives its members and volunteers a reason to get excited.
“This event really is about fun, it’s about kicking off the film season,” said Ashby.
And that season continues to bring more people to Ashland. This year the AIFF was rated one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world by Movie Maker Magazine.
And while it’s a whole different world from Hollywood, gala attendees say they feel closer than ever.
“We’re all part of that feeling of the Oscars, the Emmy’s, all that,” said attendee Tasha Schaal.
The Ashland Independent Film Festival officially kicks off the first weekend of April. The program contains 97 films, 11 of which are Oscar nominees.