ORANJESTAD, Aruba – The island of Aruba will once again host filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the world during the fifth annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF), October 7-11.
Kicking off with a short film and Q&A session with actor Tyrese Gibson (from the Fast & Furious and Transformers franchises) and sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), 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.
“With more than 90 on-island nationalities, Aruba’s diverse culture lends itself as the perfect host for films of all genres,” said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of ATA. “We encourage guests to fully immerse themselves in Aruba’s dynamic and authentic culture, during this popular festival and all around our One happy island.”
For the past four years, local and global audiences were abuzz as AIFF welcomed film luminaries such as Academy Award-nominated actor Richard Gere; multiple Academy Award-winning editor and long-time Martin Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker; Academy Award-nominated actress and repeat visitor Virginia Madsen and others.
This year, 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. The line-up of feature films and festival events includes:
SHAME, screening before the Opening Night film The Driftless Area. This 23-minute exploration of a man who wants to do the right thing for his family was written by and stars Tyrese Gibson in addition to Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, and was produced by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. Following the screening, Gibson will conduct an audience Q&A session.
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.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM (NARRATIVE) Viaje / Costa Rica (Director: Paz Fabrega, Screenwriter: Paz Fabrega) 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 Gonzalez, Fernando Bolanos.
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.
Other titles include: La Tierra y la Sombra (Land and Shade); The Glamour and the Squalor, a revelatory documentary following the rise, fall and reemergence of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame radio personality Marco Collins; Salam Neighbor, by award-winning documentary filmmakers Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci (Living on One Dollar) on the Syrian refugee crisis. The international premiere of Margot Schaap’s Dutch indie drama Een Dag in ‘t Jaar (12 Months in 1 Day); Bombay Velvet, the new Bollywood film directed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma and lastly, the horror-comedy sensation 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 Andre Bennett, President & CEO of Canadian distribution company Cinema Esperança International. Titles include: The critically-acclaimed drama Liz en Septiembre (Liz in September); La Granja (The Farm), the fascinating new suspense-drama from Puerto Rican director Angel Manuel Soto; Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light) from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger (Sun Come Up); Sin Alas (Without Wings) by director Ben Chace, the first American feature film shot entirely in Cuba since 1959 and Deal With It, the gritty, award-winning documentary from Aruban director Shamira Raphaela.
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.