Standing logo for AIFF

The Arlington International Film Festival, or AIFF, brought a wide variety of films from around the world to Arlington’s own Capitol Theatre Nov. 3 through Nov. 5, say its organizers, Executive Director April L. Ranck and Founder J. Alberto Guzman.

The AIFF began 13 years ago with its initial screening at the Regent Theatre, but for the past dozen years has been at the Capitol in East Arlington.

For details, such as schedules and descriptions, including a day-by-day listing, go here>>

To see a sample of the festival’s recent work, go here:

“We are proud to have screened films that have been recognized world-wide, chosen to tour internationally with the State Department, official selections of the Cannes, Locarno, Berlin, San Sebastian, Toronto Film Festivals, purchased by HBO and PBS and nominated for Academy Awards,” Guzman told YourArlington earlier this month via email.

He added that AIFF is honored to be a platform for many of the world’s best independent films and filmmakers. He noted that AIFF has a concentration on documentaries dealing with topics such as the arts, social justice, environmental issues, and African American and LGTBQIA+ stories. 

Prices are as follows: full-access festival pass, $95; six-film package, $45; ticket to a sole film, $12; ticket to a sole film for a student or a senior citizen, $9. After the Thursday premiere, films are to run Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight; Saturday from noon to 11:45 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 8:30 p.m.

'Dreaming of a Free Press'

Things began at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, with the 10-minute "Dreaming of a Free Press," by Joe Gosen, in its New England premiere. The website says, "A free and responsible press is the cornerstone of a strong and healthy democracy, but global declines in press freedom demonstrate that it remains a fragile institution. The short film examines the state of journalism from the perspective of emerging Tunisian and American journalists, who represent the future of the field."Poster for 2023 AIFFWinning poster for 13th festival by Elijah White, a junior at Massachusetts College of Art.

It was followed by the feature-length "Against All Enemies," by Charlie Sadoff, in its Boston-area premiere. The website says, " Against All Enemies explores the roots of political radicalization and its impact on democracy. Going deep inside violent extremist groups in America, with members of the Proud Boys, 3 Percenters and the Oath Keepers, we learn that they are organized and led by highly-trained, highly-motivated military veterans – posing a great threat to the United States today. And while most veterans are successful in their transition to civilian life, after the longest wars in our nation’s history an increasingly radicalized element has been drawn into the insurrectionist movement. Against All Enemies is a powerful film that encourages us to consider our responsibility and how we can safeguard our democratic systems and prevent the spread of extremist ideologies."

Something of note to younger viewers may be "Voices of Our Youth, slated for noon Saturday, Nov. 4, co-sponsored by YourArlington, with 22 different films created by young people. Nearly two dozen films, each between the running times of 2 and 10, minutes, total 117 minutes, including the longest one -- "The Messenger" -- by Natalie Choroszej of Minuteman Regional Technical Vocational High School, in Lexington, attended by some 200 Arlington teens.

Information is also available on this version of the Capitol's website >>

Partnership with 13Forest

This year, AIFF is working with another Arlington arts entity, the 13Forest art gallery, nearby the Capitol Theatre in the Capitol Square area of East Arlington on Mass. Ave.

In an email to YourArlington, the gallery stated, “13Forest Gallery is pleased to invite you to a special event hosted in partnership with the Arlington International Film Festival. Following the New England premiere of the film "Dear Memories" at the Capitol Theater on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2:45 p.m., the public will be invited to a post-screening discussion at the gallery from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with two nationally recognized photographers and educators, Lisa Kessler and Larry Volk.

 “Written and directed by Nahuel Lopez, Dear Memories is a journey with the legendary German Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker. One of the most important living photographers worldwide, Hoepker's pictures became icons of photojournalism. After a 2017 diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, he embarks on his last big dream -- a road trip through the USA with his wife, Christine. Hoepker. The man whose art has become part of the collective memory, is now losing his own memories; all the while he continues to see life through his unique eyes and captures his visions on film for us to see.”

AIFF in its email said it wished to thank these backers, several in Arlington (in bold) and many others from around the state, country and world; others are listed on the "carousel" on the website.

Other supporters

ACMi, Havery Yee, Mass Cultural Council, Natick Cultural District, M&T Bank Foundation, Watertown Savings Bank, Irving House Cambridge, 13Forest Gallery, KUMON Arlington, Social Equity  Access Foundation, Vinotta Restaurant, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Network for Social Justice, Lesley Ellis School, UMA TV in Malden, The Home Depot, Robbins Library, Old Schwamb Mill Museum, The Lexington Venue, Maynard Fine Arts Theatre, Medford Film Collaborative, FICIE: Festival de cine independiente de Elche in Spain, Unified Filmmakers in Germany , FENACIES: Students Independent Film Festival, Boston Palestine Film festival, Boston Irish Film Festival, CINEFest Latino Film Festival, Decentralan Film Festival, Massachusetts Immigrant Collaborative, Massachusetts Immigrant Coalition, The Roasted Granola, WGBH, SCATV in Somerville, Cambridge Trust Bank, Big Apple Film festival, The Documentarian and Animation Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif., ROAM Fashion Film Festival in Italy, STK International Group in London and YourArlington.

Oct. 30, 2022: 12th Arlington International Film Festival held

This announcement was published Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, based on information from the Arlington International Film Festival, and updated Monday, Nov. 5, to indicate that the festival has concluded for this calendar year.