By Amy Wells
The 2008 Athens International Film + Video Festival will screen more than 200 films and videos during its 35th annual observance April 25 to May 1.
Among the 24 feature films in this year's International Feature Film Showcase are "Taxi to the Dark Side," the AcademyAward-winning documentary about torture and the abuses of U.S. military power in Afghanistan; "The Band's Visit," an engaging tragi-comedy about an Egyptian band on tour that finds itself stranded in a small village in Israel; "Persepolis," the world-acclaimed animated feature based on a graphic novel depicting a teenager's topsy-turvy life in post-Shah Iran; and "Youth Without Youth," the latest film by legendary director Francis Ford Coppola.
A record number of 1,024 films were submitted for the festival, with about 150 selected for competition screening. The competition films have been organized for screening around themes such as cinematic poetry, comedies and animations, and American stories.
"The breadth and diversity of our competition films is deeply impressive," said festival director Ruth Bradley. "There were many, many more quality films than we had time to program, even with expanding our screenings into Baker Center, thus the competition films in this year's program represent a new standard for quality and creative excellence."
A committee that comprises artists, students and community members prescreens all entries, then vote to decide which films will be included for public screening. Guest jurors award decide which will receive cash prizes in four categories: documentary, experimental, narrative and animation. Awards will be announced during the final day of the festival.
In addition to the film screenings, the festival will welcome six of the feature filmmakers to present and discuss their films. Among them School of Film alumnus Igor Kovacevich, who co-produced "Downloading Nancy," one of 16 films nominated in the dramatic competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Screening venues include the Athena Cinema, Athena Grand, Baker University Center and Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville.
Tickets for shows starting after 6 p.m. at the Athena Cinema and the Athena Grand are $6.50 ($5.50 age 60 and older or 12 and younger). Admission to non-competition shows starting prior to 6 p.m. is $5. All shows scheduled at Stuart's Opera House and Baker Center Theatre are free, as are competition shows prior to 6 p.m. at the Athena Cinema.
Six-show passes may be purchased for $30. Advance tickets are available starting Monday at the Athena.
Under the Arts for Ohio initiative, Ohio University and local high school students with a valid student ID are eligible for free tickets to shows at the Athena Cinema while supplies last. (These tickets are not valid at the Athena Grand).
The Athens International Film + Video Festival is a project of Ohio University's College of Fine Arts. Additional funding comes from the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Athens County Visitors and Convention Bureau and individual donors.
Complete information is available on the festival Web site, and programs are available at many stores, cafes, libraries and other public places around Athens.
To speak with a media representative regarding this story, please contact College of Fine Arts Director of Communication and Marketing Amy Wells at 740-597-3213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.