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Athens International Film and Video Festival kicks off Friday

The Athens International Film and Video Festival is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for film connoisseurs during its 39th annual event, April 13-19.

Nearly 20 feature films and more than 60 competition films will air at the Athena Cinema at 20 S. Court St., in addition to one screening at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio.

The carefully crafted lineup includes a variety of thought-provoking productions that strive to impact the audience beyond the theater. Cash prizes will be awarded on the final day of the festival in four categories: documentary, experimental, narrative and animation.

This year's festival was moved up to coincide with the College of Fine Art's 75th Celebration Weekend, April 13-15. With its theme of "Inspiring Lives," the celebration of the college's 75th anniversary features open houses, receptions, performances and concerts.

According to Festival Director Ruth Bradley, this year's festival received 1,049 entries – a new record in the festival's history. Since last October, Ohio University students have been watching and evaluating entries for possible inclusion in the festival screenings.

Friday's kickoff includes a screening of The Source, directed by OHIO's College of Fine Art's alumnus Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos. The fictional account of an outlandish, Los Angeles-based commune set in 1972 will air at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema.

Other highlights of this year's festival include the "Let's Talk About Water" series, funded by a grant from the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Most of the film makers are coming with those films. So, Q&A and discussions will follow those films," said Bradley, who also serves as director of the Athens Center for Film and Video.

Before 5 p.m., all competition shows have free admission, and all feature films are $5. All shows that start after 6 p.m. are $6.50; $5.50 for seniors and children. Students currently enrolled with a valid student ID are eligible for a limited number of free tickets to shows at the Athena Cinema.

For more information on the Athens International Film and Video Festival, including a full schedule of film screenings, visit the festival’s website. Program booklets are available at the Athena Cinema, as well as local bookstores, coffee shops and uptown establishments.