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Athens Film Festival to celebrate 40th anniversary

Film Fest to run April 12-18

The Athens International Film and Video Festival will celebrate it’s 40th anniversary this year and will run from April 12-18.

The festival received more than 1,000 entries submitted this year and selected 250 shorts and feature films to be shown at the festival. In addition to Competition Films, the Festival also screens an “International Feature Film Showcase,” with the best in global cinema that represents highlights from world-wide art cinema. All of the films will be shown at the Athena Cinema, located at 20 S. Court St.  

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.

“Our Festival has taken a remarkable journey for the past 40 years,” said festival director Ruth Bradley. “When I think of the films and filmmakers that have participated its really quite breathtaking. All Athenians should be really proud that our community sponsors and celebrates this renowned event. There are only a handful of film festivals that have thrived for as long as we have.”

Entries have been received from around the world, from India to Senegal; from Norway to Mexico, from New York City and even from Athens County. The programs are constructed along thematic ideas, so that in one show, an animation, a short narrative, and perhaps a longer documentary will be screened as a group, all swirling around a central idea, question, or issue.

Among this year’s most anticipated events are guest artist presentations. Su Friedrich, a New York City based independent filmmaker, will be screening her new film (which most recently played at the Berlin Film Festival), “Gut Renovation,” an examination of the gentrification of her home neighborhood in New York. Holly Fisher, an acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker, will present two films, “Deafening Silence,” an elegiac essay about Burma, and “A Question of Sunshine,” a portrait/essay film about the after effects of historical trauma and catastrophic history. Finally, Terence Nance, director of “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” will present and discuss his film, which has been a highlight of the festival circuit.

A very special event is “Eco-Acoustics/Sound/Image Explorations,” a music and multi-media performance feature composer Matthew Burtner and the No Brow Music Collective. This presentation will take place in the Recital Hall of Glidden Hall on Sunday, April 14, at 4:00 p.m.

And, local activist and professor Jenny Nelson, from Ohio University’s School of Media Arts and Studies, will share her project “A Whole Lotta Shakin Going On: The PD/MS Narrative Project,” a thought-provoking look at what’s going with people with Parkinson’s Disease in our area.  

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 select films and screenings at the Athena Cinema sponsored by Arts for Ohio.

For a complete schedule of films and more information about this event, please visit www.ohio.edu/orgs/athensfest. Printed program booklets are available at the Athena Cinema, as well as local bookstores, coffee shops and uptown establishments.