Founded in 1974, the AIFVF has been presenting the best in international film for 47 years. Known globally as a festival that supports cinema from underground and marginalized populations, the AIFVF represents the values that we share as a community. It is a champion of justice and provides a voice for underrepresented artists and viewpoints on a global level. For almost five decades, Athens International has embraced experimental, animated, narrative and documentary, short-form and feature length films from every corner of the globe, offering filmmakers a stellar platform for public exposure and an environment that values artistry above marquee names and industry relationships. AIFVF is recognized by the Academy® of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival in the short narrative and short animation categories.
*A Special note about our 2021 festival. Because of the global pandemic we had to reschedule our April 2020 festival to October 2020. Do to current travel bans and health information we again decided to reschedule the 2020 festival to coincide with the 2021 fest this coming April. All works that were chosen for the 2020 AIFVF (approximately 250 films) will now be presented along side new selections for 2021. The dates for the festival have also been expanded to allow for twice the number of films. As well, our jury will be awarding twice the number of cash awards. In short AIFVF 2020/2021 will have double the films, double the filmmakers, and double the fun!
Also, new this year we have added a Music Video Category.
The Competition Process
Each year, a Prescreening Committee comprised of artists, students, and community activists watch all the films and videos entered in the competition. After all entries have been watched, the pre-screeners evaluate all entries to determine films to include in public screenings.
Cash prizes of $1000.00 USD are awarded by guest jurors, in the following categories: Feature Documentary, Short Documentary, Experimental, Feature Narrative, Short Narrative, and Animation. There are two additional awards chosen by the jury: The Black Bear Award for best use of sound and The Film House Award for visionary filmmaking. Festival Jurors will be announced just prior to the festival and awards will be announced on the final day of the festival.
We are an Academy® Qualifying Festival in the Short Narrative, and Animated Short, categories.
Competition films are programmed around various themes that emerge from the films selected; our intention is to group films into shows that reflect a common thematic thread. For our 2019 competition 2,500 films were submitted. From these; around 240 films from 60 countries were chosen to screen over the week of the festival.
AIFVF is unable to provide screening fees for works in competition but we do our best to provide the best hospitality we can for visiting filmmakers.
The Athens International Film and Video Festival also sponsors guest artists screenings, that often include workshops and additional opportunities for artists to meet with audience members fellow filmmakers and members of our community.
All visiting filmmakers and their guests are provided with lunch everyday in our filmmaker lounge during the festival. In the past with help from our sponsors the festival has provided half the cost of hotel rooms for visiting filmmakers as a way to ease the costs associated with visiting Athens during the festival. AIFVF also provides free ground transportation from the Columbus, Ohio airport.
We host special workshops and talks for filmmakers by our guest artists. In 2016 Ed Lachman (academy nominated cinematographer of "Carol" and "Far from Heaven") and Charles Burnett ("Killer for Sheep", "To Sleep With Anger") led discussions and answered questions about their process and careers. In 2017 we moderated a panel discussion on Women and Comedy, had extended interviews with artist/activist Sabaah Folayan and photographer/media artist Martha Rosler and held special screenings including a screening of Harlan County U.S.A. followed by a special post-screening discussion with Jerry Johnson (one of the coal miners in the film). Previous festivals have included workshops, presentations and discussions with internationally recognized artists including multimedia artist Laurie Anderson.
Each year special jurors comprised of guest artists, and other professionals in the field award cash prizes in each category (Experimental, Short Narrative, Feature Narrative, Animation, Short Documentary, and Feature Documentary) as well as The Black Bear Award for best use of sound and the Film House Award for visionary filmmaking. Jurors give out over $20,000 in prizes and services each year.
1st prize winners in Short Narrative and Animated Short are Academy Qualifying.
Awards for each category:
1st prize: $1000 USD for each category (Experimental, Short Narrative, Feature Narrative, Animation, Short Documentary, and Feature Documentary)
Black Bear Award (for best use of sound): $750
Film House Award (for visionary filmmaking): $750
In addition to prize money awards may also include services and items from our sponsors.