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Ashland Independent Film Festival director of programming Richard Herskowitz has assembled an intriguing and illuminating array of international films for the September 30 to October 6 – 2016 Varsity World Film Week, co-sponsored by Coming Attractions Theatres.

“I watched over 40 new international films in July to hone down this wide-ranging schedule of truly exceptional films. I’ll be introducing many of the shows, and can’t wait to hear what people think,” said Herskowitz. Films range from the story of an Ethiopian boy and his quest to save his beloved pet lamb destined for slaughter, to a documentary of the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East.

The films selected for the 27th Annual Varsity World Film Week represent 12 countries, including Romania, Argentina, France, Peru, China, and the United States. In the narrative film “As I Open My Eyes,” a young Tunisian woman struggles to balance the traditional expectations of her family with her creative life as the singer in a politically charged rock band. The narrative film, “Icaros: A Vision,” explores the world of shamans in the Peruvian Amazon as they minister to a group seeking transcendence, companionship, and the secrets of life and death. Richard Brody of The New Yorker writes, “Directors Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi film [the movie’s] surroundings with an ecstatic stillness, and they capture the medicinally induced hallucinations with a visual imagination of rare specificity and fury.”

Sharon Jones

“Miss Sharon Jones!”, a documentary directed by two-time Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple (2014 AIFF Lifetime Achievement Award) follows Grammy-nominated R&B dynamo Sharon Jones during the most courageous year of her life. “It’s quickly apparent in the opening moments of Kopple’s latest film, “Miss Sharon Jones!,” that its titular subject is a supremely fitting addition to the director’s gallery of real-life heroines,”
reports film critic, Matt Fagerholm ( “Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame” chronicles the renowned champion cyclist and master bike craftsman, Giuseppe Marinoni, on his quest to set a new world record. And “London Road” is the film version of the British musical, which earned five star reviews at London’s National Theatre. The film documents events that occurred in the small town of Ipswich and the music uses the rhythmic speech patterns captured in recorded interviews to create this extraordinary work.

Also screening are: “Lamb” the first film from Ethiopia to be included in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar; Radu Jude’s (Best Director, Berlin International Film Festival) “Aferm!”; Christian Carion’s “Come What May”; “Paths of a Soul” from internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yang (Shower, Getting Home); a comedy from Argentina by award-winning director Daniel Burman “The Tenth Man”; and the documentaries “Speed Sisters” and “When Two Worlds Collide.”

Ashland Independent Film Festival - 2016 Varsity World Film Week

All films at the Varsity World Film Week will be shown between the hours of 12:50 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. from September 30 through October 6, at the Varsity Theatre, in downtown Ashland.

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