AIFF holds Oscar night gala

Local film aficionados have a chance to dress up in their finest and walk the red carpet Sunday for the Ashland Independent Film Festival Oscar Night Gala.

"We try to bring a little bit of that Hollywood excitement to Ashland," AIFF Executive Director Tom Olbrich says.

Seven of the films nominated for Academy Awards are on the slate for this year's Ashland Independent Film Festival in April. The films are in the documentary, short and animated categories. Those that win Oscars will mean a bigger draw for AIFF, Olbrich says.

"When we are all watching there as a group, it adds an extra excitement for us," he says.

Held in the Historic Ashland Armory on Oak Street, the gala begins with a red carpet entry leading people to dinner and dessert provided by Helena Darling Fine Catering with artisan coffee from Noble Coffee Roasting. The libation brigade is headed by Organic Nation, which will bring specialty organic cocktails. Beer comes from Stella Artois and regional wines will be available from South Stage, Troon, Velocity, Weisinger and Wooldridge Creek wineries.

Attendees will watch the Oscars on two 30-foot screens with professional quality sound.

"The incredible concert sound combined with huge screens really fills the room," Olbrich says.

Two Oscar-nominated Best Documentary Feature films, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" and "Burma VJ," will be featured at the ninth annual AIFF in April. Two Documentary Short Subject Oscar nominees, "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" and "Music by Prudence," and the Oscar-nominated short film "Kavi" also will be shown this year at the AIFF. Another short film and an animated short round out the AIFF Oscar hopefuls.

Three Oscar-nominated documentary feature films, "Food, Inc.," Werner Herzog's "The Cove" and the multi-nominated feature "The Hurt Locker," were presented by the festival as part of its monthly film series at the Varsity Theatre last summer. "Food, Inc." also was included in last year's annual film festival.

Olbrich credits the AIFF programming team, led by Director of Programming Joanne Feinberg, with finding Oscar-caliber films for the festival each year.

The gala, which costs $60 a person, is one of the AIFF's primary fundraising events each year. A raffle and silent auction at the event provide about 10 percent of AIFF's annual funding.

The gala will be emceed by actor John Stadelman. For information, see the Web site or call 541-488-3823.

Membership passes for the 2010 Ashland Independent Film Festival, which runs April 8-12, are available now. Tickets go on sale to AIFF members beginning March 16 and to the general public March 21. The full festival lineup will be available at on Tuesday.

Reach reporter and editor Myles Murphy at 482-3456 ext. 222 or

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