The 5th Annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) – the island nation’s largest film event of the year, and an essential stop for the international film community on the Caribbean and South American film festival circuit – will be held from October 7-11 this year, with a lineup of over 60 diverse feature and short films from across the globe, highlighting important stories the world over.
A lot to chew on here, with a few titles I’m familiar with, but many that are foreign to me which I’m looking forward to discovering – several of them Caribbean and international premieres.
As usual, I’ll return with individual profiles/highlights of titles that grab my attention.
In the meantime, learn more about this year’s festival event via press release below:
The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) has announced their feature film and documentary competition programs, opening and closing screenings, short sections, and Caribbean films. The fifth annual festival will be held from October 7-11 on the exotic Caribbean island of Aruba. Sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority, this world-class event is filled with international and regional premieres of feature-length and short films from around the world, special tributes, master classes, panel discussions, and more.
A jury of industry professionals and acclaimed filmmakers will be presenting awards to competition films in the following categories: International Features, DoxNfocus, Caribbean Spotlight Series, Aruba Flavor and International Shorts.
OPENING NIGHT FILM (NARRATIVE)
The Driftless Area / U.S. & Canada (Director: Zachary Sluser, Screenwriters: Tom Drury, Zachary Sluser) Based on the novel of the same title by Tom Drury, Sluser’s neo-noir, metaphysical romance centers on a budding love affair that causes a ripple effect in a quiet town.
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel, John Hawkes, Alia Shawkat, Frank Langella, Aubrey Plaza, Ciarán Hinds
CLOSING NIGHT FILM (NARRATIVE)
Viaje / Costa Rica (Director: Paz Fábrega, Screenwriter: Paz Fábrega) After meeting at a party, Luciana and Pedro spark up a spontaneous rendezvous. Eschewing the fraudulent nature of traditional relationships, the pair embarks on a spur of the moment journey together that takes them on a path of personal exploration.
Cast: Kattia González, Fernando Bolaños
International Features and Documentary (DoxNfocus) Highlights:
Countries from across the world are spotlighted in this year’s International Features program, and current news-gripping stories are brought to the screen in DoxNfocus. The jury members for these categories include, among others, Belize International Film Festival director Suzette Zayden and American film producer Steve Stabler (Dumb & Dumber).
The Caribbean premiere of the Cannes Film Festival award-winning (Jury Prize) sci-fi-comedy The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz.
The beautifully lensed Colombian drama La Tierra y la Sombra (Land and Shade), a 4-time award winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (Camera d’Or, France 4 Visionary Award, SACD Award, Grand Golden Rail).
The Glamour and the Squalor, a revelatory documentary following the rise, fall and reemergence of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame radio personality Marco Collins.
Shedding light on the current Syrian refugee crisis is Salam Neighbor, by award-winning documentary filmmakers Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci (Living on One Dollar).
The international premiere of Margot Schaap’s Dutch indie drama Een Dag in ‘t Jaar (12 Months in 1 Day).
The Martin Scorsese-inspired mafia epic Bombay Velvet, the new Bollywood film directed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma.
The international premiere of the horror-comedy hit The Final Girls, starring Nina Dobrev, Malin Ackerman, Taissa Farmiga, Adam DeVine, Alia Shawkat and Alexander Ludwig.
Caribbean Spotlight Series Highlights:
The festival’s popular Caribbean Spotlight Series competition returns with its strongest program to date. This category will be juried by, among others, Oscar-nominated actress Virginia Madsen (Joy, Sideways) and André Bennett, President & CEO of Canadian distribution company Cinema Esperança International.
The critically-acclaimed drama Liz en Septiembre (Liz in September) from Venezuela, directed by Cannes Camera d’Or winner Fina Torres (Oriana) and starring supermodel/actress Patricia Velasquez (Scorpion).
The international premiere of La Granja (The Farm), the fascinating new suspense-drama from Puerto Rican director Angel Manuel Soto.
The intimate documentary Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light) from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger (Sun Come Up), about the lives of three blind Cuban women in search for independence in present-day Havana.
The nostalgic drama Sin Alas (Without Wings) by director Ben Chace, the first American feature film shot entirely in Cuba since 1959.
Deal With It, the gritty, award-winning documentary from Aruban director Shamira Raphaëla.
Industry and Special Events:
This year, the festival will host master classes and panel discussions with attending filmmakers, on-camera talent and special guests, on topics such as acting, documentary filmmaking, marketing and distribution, and gender equality in the film industry.
For the complete festival lineup, go to: http://aiff.aw/films