Community Conversations at AIFF

“We need to see ourselves projected in other members of our species to, in turn, understand ourselves. Cinema is that mirror. It is a bridge between the others and us.” ~ Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Director)

Have you ever wanted to have a place to discuss a film with others after watching it?

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is offering a unique, FREE program to provide just that, Community Conversations, hosted by moderators Kay Sandberg and Marla Estes.

Unlike the Q&A sessions with the filmmakers themselves, this is not intended as a discussion about the technical aspects, making or analysis of the film. Participants will be invited to explore how the film impacted them personally: emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually for some. We are not trying to come to a consensus about anything; this is not a debate, not about whose point of view prevails. This is a conversation where we can voice what’s true for us and hear what’s true for others.

Because we each perceive a film through our own unique “lens” based on our psychology and past experience, movies can act as a personal Rorschach test. In other words: what we say about a film says more about us than about the film itself. In this way of exploring, then, we are not trying to figure out what the director meant; like any other art form, value is to be found in our subjective experience. One person’s reaction can be polar opposite of another’s, with no one being “wrong.”

For the last ten years, I have facilitated post-movie discussions and workshops. There is a phenomenon I have seen happen over and over again. When a participant shares how a film impacted her, then listens to how it affected someone else, I often hear, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.” This level of exchange is a mind-opening experience. It can open us up to our blind spots. It can loosen our certainty that our way of seeing the world is objectively the only one. It can help bring understanding and compassion to others who seem different to us. “It is a bridge between the others and us.”

This year, we are so inspired by our diverse film picks:

~ City of Joy, heart-breaking AND uplifting, chronicling Congolese women’s journeys from horror and abuse to joy and empowerment.

~ I Am Another You, a first-hand study of a “traveler,” giving us new insights and understandings about a divisive issue so prevalent in Ashland.

~ Sacred, an overwhelmingly beautiful exploration of how sacredness is experienced and expressed around the world through religion and spirituality; how can this be the cause of so much strife?

Join us for our facilitated AIFF Community Conversations to talk about how a film impacted you and to hear its effect on others. Collective and personal insights and possible social action points will be our focus.

When possible, filmmakers and community partners will be in attendance.

All Community Conversations will be held at the Elks, 255 East Main (entrance on alleyway) from 5:15 to 6:45. Complimentary coffee and tea will be served; no-host bar available. No ticket required. For more information and to purchase tickets for the films themselves:

“City of Joy”

Screening Times:                          Thursday, April 6  3pm

Friday, April 7        noon

Community Conversation:         Friday, April 7        5:15pm

“I Am Another You”

Only Screening:                            Friday, April 7       3pm

Community Conversation:         Saturday, April 8   5:15pm


Screening Times:                         Friday, April 7        9:30am

Saturday, April 8   noon

Community Conversation:        Sunday, April 9       5:15pm





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