The Ashland Independent Film Festival – Part 2

So… where did I leave off?  Oh yes, Friday.  Friday and Saturday we saw lots of movies!  We started out with a beautiful narrative feature called Stranger Things, made by Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal.  Those two are NYC’ers also and we got to know them a bit at the Woodstock Film Festival back in October.  I thought the performances in their film were excellent – very restrained and honest.  I found it especially interesting to learn how the film was made.  Ron and Eleanor basically worked closely with the actors to develop the characters and their stories and then they only revealed the script to the actors piece by piece  as they were shooting, so the actors didn’t know what was going to happen.

After Stranger Things we shot over to another theater to catch the documentary film Hot Coffee, directed by a trial Lawyer from Ashland, OR named Susan Saladoff.  This movie really got me fired up and I think everyone should see it – just to become informed about our own rights in this country and how they’re being diminished.  It is an entertaining and rather disturbing film focused on the US justice system and how normal people like you and me rarely have the ability to get a fair trial in this country anymore.  Big corporations have pretty much taken over the justice system in the US (as well as everything else) – and some of the stories of how regular people have been affected were heartbreaking and infuriating.  I left the theater on a rampage (and needing a stiff drink).

After that film, we saw another documentary called The Big Uneasy, directed by Harry Shearer, which was about the flooding of New Orleans after Katrina, and how it wasn’t really a result of the force of the storm.  Instead, it was more about the faulty construction of the levies, politics and the ineptitude of the Army Corps of Engineers.   I wasn’t personally as crazy about this film. I was interested in the subject matter, but the way the story was told was not as compelling to me – especially after seeing Hot Coffee just before it, which had me completely engaged.

With all these movies – I didn’t have time to take many photos – but downtown Ashland is so beautiful, I was able to snatch a few in between screenings:

Photo 364 out of 365 – “Spring Has Sprung in Ashland”

"Spring Has Sprung in Ashland" - Settings: ISO 100, f/2.5, 1/6400 sec, 50mm lens

And here our view walking from the parking lot to the theater – not too shabby right?

Amazingly beautiful downtown Ashland, OR

We were supposed to see a fourth film that night but we were maxed out – so instead we just met up with the other filmmakers at the local hangout Black Sheep and had a couple drinks before turning in for the night.  Saturday was another day full of amazing screenings!

The Black Sheep - AIFF Hangout

On Saturday we we jumped right into screenings again after a most delicious breakfast (huevos rancheros!) at a local restaurant called Breadboard near our Bed & Breakfast.  Our first film of the day was another documentary called Hood to Coast.  This movie totally rocked!  And instead of a documentary that leaves me hating our country and feeling hopeless, this one was super inspiring and positive!  It’s about the largest relay race in the world called Hood to Coast, which takes place in Oregon.  Teams of twelve runners cover one hundred and ninety-seven miles from Mount Hood all the way to the Oregon Coast – overnight.  It’s insane and totally awesome!   We got quite friendly with the filmmakers (Christopf Baaden – Director and Anna Campbell – Producer) as well as one of the women featured in the film who completed the race – Rachel (she was completely hilarious).  In the film, she made one comment that totally stuck with me and made me love her.  The gist was… why not partake in a crazy event like that?  If it’s terrible, it’s only a weekend wasted… what really do you lose?  On the other hand – an experience like that has the potential to change your life – so why does it ever make sense to say no to experiences? I like that mode of thinking!

After Hood to Coast, we hit up ANOTHER documentary called Connected – An Autoblogography about Love, Death and Technology. Again, this movie really blew us away.  And again, this was an optimistic, inspiring film that left me feeling energized and uplifted instead of defeated and angry.  I like that type of documentary!  The movie is about shifting our thinking from looking at the world as full of independent things and people to looking at everything as interdependent.  Our environment, our resources, plants, animals, people – we are all connected in ways that we don’t realize – and we’ve been finding that out gradually as our actions turn out having negative effects that were initially unforeseen.  But the overall tone of this film was a faith in the human spirit and a belief that the technology, which now connects us all can be used to save our world and our species (yes, humans… scary stuff).

Whew… and now that I’ve written a book, I have to run out to a photography workshop!  So I’ll post this now and then return tomorrow with the outcome of the festival and…

drumroll please

the final photo of my 365 photo project!!

Actually, I sort of miscounted while I was away – so I have a photo 365 and then I have a photo 366 (for good luck), which I actually intended to be 365 until I realized my mistake!  Ha!

So come back tomorrow. 🙂

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9 thoughts on “The Ashland Independent Film Festival – Part 2

  1. the town looks really fantastic, like a dream with all those mountains and so lively!! and friendly.
    I guess that coming back to the big city is even more shocking
    Beautiful pictures!
    Picture 366 means that your project is finished or that you start again??

    • I’ll be writing a post about this… I do not think I’m jumping right into another 365 project (I have a few projects I’ve been neglecting that I now have a little time for!) – but I have every intention of doing more with nellsdish, redesigning, doing more projects, etc. Just need to spend a little time and organize my thoughts a bit! I’ve grown quite accustomed to chatting through my blog… and connecting with people like you! I have no intention of stopping now. 🙂 Thanks for all your support Ellen.

  2. congratulations to hello lonesome on the award! and congratulations on finishing your 365 photo project!! i will miss the daily photos — they are so great — but i’m excited to hear what’s next for you!

    • Thanks Kate! I definitely plan on continuing with photos… maybe just not every day! We’ll hopefully be moving to Brooklyn in the next couple months so I’ll have a whole new neighborhood to explore and new inspiration! Thanks for your support along the way. 🙂

  3. Hi Nell,
    Congratulations on the award! You and I met at Varsity Theatre and chatted about your visit to Oregon. Enjoyed the photos here, how come no coast pictures? Hope you come back soon. Donna, “How to Die in Oregon”

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