AIFF's New 'Best of the Fests' Features Film About Local Firefighters

The weekend of September 21-23 will see the return of AIFF's most popular films—plus the premiere of 'Young Men and Fire,' a film about wildland firefighters in Grants Pass.

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 2:49 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 7:55 AM

ASHLAND, Ore. — The Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) plans to make a brief but triumphant return later this month with their new "Best of the Fests" series, featuring some of the most popular films from this year's festival and the premiere of a film about wildland firefighters based in Grants Pass.

The new series runs September 21-23 at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland and the Collaborative Theatre Project in Medford, but will continue with screenings at Eugene’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in October and November.

Opening "Best of the Fests" is Young Men and Fire, a film by Alex Jablonski about wildland firefighters in Southern Oregon.

Young Men and Fire was enthusiastically accepted into AIFF2018, but could not be completed in time for our April festival. I think now the film was waiting for its moment," said AIFF Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz. "This poetic and revelatory look at the lives of young firefighters working out of Grants Pass could not be more relevant after our summer of harsh wildfires in Southern Oregon.”

Organizers only plan for two screenings of the film—at 6:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. on Friday, September 21. Proceeds will benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and AIFF. Along with director Jablonski, members of the Grayback Firefighting Team have been invited to participate in the post-screening discussions.

Four of the most popular and critically acclaimed films from AIFF 2018 will screen over the weekend, including Symphony for Nature: The Britt Festival at Crater Lake and The Reluctant Radical—accompanied by the film's subject, Portland environmental activist Ken Ward.

Also screening on September 22 will be Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End, which will be followed by a Skype conversation with cartoonist Mr. Fish and director Pablo Bryant. The Medford programming will culminate on Sunday, September 23, with a program titled Best of the AIFF2018 Shorts, selected and introduced by Herskowitz and the Senior Programmer in charge of shorts programming, John Stadelman.

See below for the full schedule or visit AIFF's website for full descriptions and trailers.


Friday, September 21 at Varsity Theatre, Ashland
6:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. - 
Young Men and Fire with guest director Alex Jablonski
(Documentary, 76 min.) Meet a firefighting crew based in Grants Pass as they struggle with fear, loyalty, love and defeat over the course of a wildfire season. What emerges is a quietly powerful story of a small group of men—their exterior world, their interior lives, and the fire that lies between. Stay in your seats after the film for a Q&A with the film's director Alex Jablonski and members of the Grayback Forestry Firefighters. Proceeds from these screenings will benefit AIFF and The Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Tickets will be available online at catheatre.com or at the door.

Saturday, September 22 at Collaborative Theatre Project, Medford
1:00 p.m. - Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End featuring a Skype interview with Mr. Fish and director Pablo Bryant
(Documentary, 70 min.) This incisive documentary introduces us to an editorial cartoonist who opens our eyes to the hypocrisy of all political sides with his outrageous, taboo-breaking art. Mr. Fish struggles to stay true to his creativity in a world where biting satiric humor has an ever-diminishing commercial value. Tickets will be available at the door or online at ctporegon.org.

7:00 p.m. - The Reluctant Radical and Symphony for Nature: Britt Orchestra at Crater Lake with guest activist Ken Ward
(Documentary, 77 min. and Documentary, 27 min.) Lindsey Grayzel’s The Reluctant Radical follows environmental activist Ken Ward as he relentlessly pursues direct action against the fossil fuel industry. We are left to wonder: is he unbalanced, or is the rest of society delusional for not acting when faced with the unsettling evidence that we are collectively destroying the planet? Anne Flatte’s Symphony for Nature chronicles the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s Natural History, an original score performed by conductor Teddy Abrams and the Britt Orchestra at Crater Lake. Tickets will be available at the door or online at ctporegon.org.

Sunday, September 23 at Collaborative Theatre Project, Medford
1:00 p.m. - Best Of The AIFF2018 Shorts with AIFF programmers Richard Herskowitz and John Stadelman
(81 min.) Six of the finest short films from the 2018 Ashland Independent Film Festival will be introduced and screened by AIFF Director Richard Herskowitz and Senior Programmer John Stadelman. The documentary, narrative, and animated film selections touch on the subjects of immigrant labor, gender disguise, segregation of the disabled, and the spectacle of Donald Trump. Tickets will be available at the door or online at ctporegon.org.


Ticket Information
Tickets for the Young Men and Fire benefit screening at the Varsity Theatre will be $12 regular/$10 AIFF members, Students, and Seniors. More information on ticketing and films available at ashlandfilm.org. Ticket prices at Collaborative Theatre Project will be $10 regular, $9 AIFF members, Students, and Seniors.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 171398

Reported Deaths: 2446
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34320566
Washington23060229
Marion19838299
Clackamas14975202
Lane11295144
Jackson9709126
Umatilla792683
Deschutes679372
Linn403962
Yamhill403974
Malheur342158
Polk336351
Klamath329257
Douglas300865
Josephine298162
Benton267318
Jefferson204832
Coos194731
Columbia150525
Union140423
Lincoln128220
Wasco126428
Hood River110729
Morrow107115
Clatsop8768
Crook84619
Baker81213
Curry5829
Tillamook5692
Lake4127
Grant3464
Harney3036
Wallowa1565
Sherman560
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3706629

Reported Deaths: 60547
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122662723505
Riverside2968014504
San Bernardino2939254493
San Diego2737083623
Orange2684144849
Santa Clara1164362002
Kern1074341306
Sacramento1005871644
Fresno1002771633
Alameda848171447
Ventura80112990
San Joaquin711781334
Contra Costa66567777
Stanislaus600831020
Tulare49300824
Monterey43209348
San Mateo40920556
San Francisco35841506
Santa Barbara33736444
Solano31702238
Merced31105449
Sonoma29573311
Imperial27851717
Kings22723245
Placer21600281
San Luis Obispo20827256
Madera16174239
Santa Cruz15432203
Marin13815224
Yolo13510199
Shasta11570214
Butte11488193
El Dorado9662108
Napa961880
Sutter9245106
Yuba608343
San Benito594262
Lassen566624
Tehama539356
Nevada441875
Tuolumne405864
Mendocino397747
Amador360746
Humboldt356036
Lake338043
Glenn234925
Colusa218816
Calaveras204551
Siskiyou190920
Inyo141638
Mono12724
Del Norte12637
Plumas6886
Modoc4874
Mariposa4177
Trinity3985
Sierra1080
Alpine880
Unassigned500
Medford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Brookings
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 56°
Medford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 37°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Mostly sunny and warmer Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events