As The Anchorage International Film Festival embarks on its 18th season, we want to thank our incredible community for all of the support we have received over the years. Anchorage, and Alaska as a whole, is a melting pot of culture and talent that is unrivaled.

Before I became involved with AIFF, I had very little idea how this festival impacted so many lives. From our local student filmmakers, to our seasoned professionals and visiting filmmakers, AIFF has become a great resource to share ideas, knowledge and network with the creative community. AIFF has always been and will continue to be an advocate for our independent film community, which has grown significantly over the past several years.

It is no secret that Alaska is a magical destination, and because of that, it brings people together in unexpected ways. In the dead of winter, AIFF offers a bright light for 10 days every season. During our festival, we are fortunate enough to welcome several filmmakers from all over the world, creating lasting memories and friendships.

As the film industry changes, it is becoming more important than ever that we support independent film, and the surrounding community. The Anchorage International Film Festival is looking forward to sharing the work of so many talented storytellers this season and for years to come.  

Thank you very much for your support and patronage. Gather up your friends and families and join us for 10 days of amazing stories from around the globe while we celebrate Films Worth Freezing For.

Jessica Kaiser, Festival Director

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Documentary [clear filter]
Saturday, December 1


We Up - World Premiere
Forty years after hip-hop was born in the South Bronx, it's being re-imagined in fresh ways by young Indigenous artists of the North— from Athabascan villages in Alaska, to the capital city of Greenland, to reindeer-herding towns of northern Finland. WE UP profiles the rising stars of Circumpolar Indigenous hip-hop, exploring shared themes in their work, like decolonization, language revitalization, community, and spiritual connections to homeland.

The film also documents the Circumpolar Hip-Hop Collab, a groundbreaking mainstage performance at the 2018 Riddu, Riđđu Indigenous peoples' festival in Olmmáivággi, Norway.

Saturday December 1, 2018 8:00pm - 9:45pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
  • Director David Holthouse
  • Buy Tickets Anchorage Museum
  • Q&A or Presentation w/ Film Q&A w/ Director and talent
  • Country of Origin USA
Sunday, December 2


The Cleaners
When you post something on the web, can you be
sure it stays there? Enter a hidden shadow industry of
digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what
it doesn‘t like. Who is controlling what we see… and
what we think?

Sunday December 2, 2018 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Wednesday, December 5


Exit Music
Exit Music is a documentary film that travels the intimate and complex path of terminal illness. Ethan Rice was born with Cystic Fibrosis, an incurable genetic illness that eventually leads to respiratory failure. At their home in a small upstate New York community, Ethan and his family live in constant uncertainty as the disease takes more and more away from them. While medical interventions continue to keep him alive well beyond his prognosis, 28-year-old Ethan questions day-by-day how long he is willing to fight and what his absence will mean to those he leaves behind.

With stunning access, the film closely follows Ethan’s final months, weeks, days and hours and is witness to death’s transformative influence on a family. Home video footage trace the bond between Ethan and his father Ed, a Vietnam veteran with PTSD who withdrew from the world to become a stay-at-home dad. Ed immersed Ethan in a world of art, creativity, and imagination and documented it all on camera, a hobby that provided relief from the fear of his son’s ominous prognosis and his own painful past. These archives show the progression of Ethan’s illness over time and reveal Ed’s obsession with preserving his son’s memory. Even during his final days with Ethan, Ed had a camera in hand.

Interweaving home movies with Ethan’s original music and animation, his story is an unflinching meditation on loss and invites the viewer to experience Ethan’s transition from reality to memory. In a culture that often looks away from death, Exit Music demystifies the dying process a universal cornerstone of the human experience.

Wednesday December 5, 2018 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA


Five Seasons - The Gardens of Piet Oudolf with Pre Screening Mixer at Muse
Tickets at the Door : 5$ Suggested Donation
5:30 - 6:30 Pre-Screening Mixer (Cash Bar and Appetizers by Muse)
6:45 - 8:00 Film Screening
8:00 - 8:30 Post-Screening Mixer

Piet Oudolf, responsible for New York's High Line and other iconic urban spaces, is the most influential and celebrated landscape designer of the last 50 years, in overwhelming demand for his visionary ideas of what gardens, and particularly public space, can be, and do. But most fundamentally, as with all great visual artists, he completely upends the way we see the world. Five Seasons is a mesmerizing immersion into the life and work of this Dutch master that will change the way we think about, and ultimately see, beauty itself.

Wednesday December 5, 2018 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Anchorage Museum at Rasmusen Center 1110 W 8th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
  • Official Website http://fiveseasonsmovie.com
  • Director Thomas Piper
  • Buy Tickets Alaska Design Forum
  • Q&A or Presentation w/ Film Yes
  • Country of Origin USA


The Interpreters
‘The Interpreters’ follows the lives of Iraqi and Afghan military interpreters who worked with US forces on the ground. In many cases, interpreters face danger in their countries because of their affiliation with the US war effort. This is the story of how they are rebuilding their lives, told through the personal experiences of three individuals: a chain-smoking Iraqi codenamed "Phillip Morris" who was able to make it to the US with the help of an American soldier he befriended during his deployment, an Afghan called Malik who is still working as an active interpreter at the US base in Kabul despite threats to his life, and another Afghan named Mujtaba who fled with his family as refugees to Turkey in search of passage to a better life in Europe.

Wednesday December 5, 2018 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
  • Official Website http://www.interpreterdoc.com
  • Director Sofian Khan
  • Buy Tickets Alaska World Affairs Council
  • Q&A or Presentation w/ Film Margaret Stock
  • Country of Origin USA


Afghan Cycles
Afghan Cycles is a feature documentary about a generation of Afghan women who are pedaling their own revolution, aggressively challenging gender and cultural barriers using the bicycle as a vehicle for freedom, empowerment and social change.

Wednesday December 5, 2018 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
  • Official Website https://www.afghancycles.com
  • Director Sarah Menzies - In Attendance
  • Buy Tickets Bike Anchorage and the TREK Store
  • Q&A or Presentation w/ Film TBD
  • Country of Origin USA
Thursday, December 6


This Mountain Life
The awe that mountainous landscapes evoke is universal, yet few of us ever venture into true wilderness. Living amongst us is a special breed of people. They are undefined by age, gender, profession or background, but for them, the draw of the mountains is so strong that their lives must revolve around it 
Martina and her 60 year-old mother Tania embark on a 6 month, 2300km journey to Alaska through a relentless mountain wilderness; a group of nuns inhabiting a mountain retreat to be closer to God; a photographer is buried in an avalanche; an impassioned alpinist; a focused snow artist; a couple who has been living off grid in the mountains for nearly 50 years. What is it that leads these adventurous people to sacrifice everything – comfort, family, personal safety – for a life in the mountains? Shot in cinematic detail, This Mountain Life is a riveting portrait of human passion set high in the peaks of the Coast Range.

Thursday December 6, 2018 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Friday, December 7


Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Rise of Broadcast News
If you watch a newscast today, listen to the radio or a podcast then you are benefiting from the work of Lowell Thomas.

Lowell Thomas was more famous than any American journalist has ever been. As the swashbuckling adventurer -- he took American audiences with him on the radio and in newsreels, establishing personality driven journalism and reporting from around the world. During the First World War, Thomas traveled to the Middle East and discovered T.E. Lawrence, making him the celebrity, 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Thomas was the role model for intrepid foreign correspondents today. His stories shaped American knowledge of the world and influenced foreign policy. His legacy came in the 1930s as he set the standard for reliable, non-partisan broadcast news. Later he managed to slip into Tibet, where he interviewed the Dalai Lama just before the Chinese invaded. His enterprising zeal led him to found Capital Cities, which eventually bought ABC before being sold itself to Disney for 17 Billion dollars .

Lowell Thomas’ journalism is the journalism today described– sometimes bitterly, sometimes reverently – as “mainstream journalism.” He was the original deep voiced omnipotent journalistic narrator: the first “voice of god.” But his journalism was not always traditional. This documentary will tell the story of its creation. Today as main stream news is brand an “enemy of the people” it is important understand how it evolved and appreciate how it underpins democratic society.

Friday December 7, 2018 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Anchorage Museum at Rasmusen Center 1110 W 8th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA


Don't Be Nice
A team of young New York City Slam Poets finds its voice as it competes for the National Championship during the summer of 2016.
Mentored by a demanding coach who encourages them to push past their personal boundaries and write from a place of vulnerability, pain and honesty, the poets break down, break through and compose their best work ever. Timely and difficult, their spoken word slays—but will these soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd- pleasers for the title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat? An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity and sexual politics in America today, Don't Be Nice is both an absorbing competition doc and a vital writer's workshop that proves once and for all that winning hearts and minds is the ultimate prize.

Friday December 7, 2018 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA


Rodents of Unusual Size
The residents of Louisiana never know what will attack them next: floods, hurricanes, even monstrous swamp rats. Gigantic orange-toothed nutria are eating up the coastal wetlands, destroying the landscape, and threatening the very existence of the human population. This invasive South American species breeds faster than the roving squads of hunters and trappers can control them. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who let their land—and their livelihoods—recede into the Gulf without a fight. Meet fisherman turned bounty hunter Thomas Gonzales and a pack of colorful diehards as they defend their land, culture, and way of life against the unforgiving forces of nature. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win.

Friday December 7, 2018 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Saturday, December 8


The Cleaners
Enter a hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers”, among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley, whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts.
Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an unlegislated space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.

Saturday December 8, 2018 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA


American Relapse
AMERICAN RELAPSE is a feature documentary about the ripped-from-the-headlines heroin epidemic and the corrupt underground rehab industry that has sprung up around it in Southern Florida. This, on-the-ground documentary follows the day-to-day struggle of recovering addicts Allie and Frankie attempting to place addicts in treatment, but can they stay clean themselves?

Saturday December 8, 2018 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA


In "hillbilly" directors Sally Rubin and Ashley York show the evolution of the uneducated, promiscuous `hillbilly' stereotype in film and television, linking it with corporate exploitation of Appalachia’s natural resources and the outcome of the recent presidential election. The film seeks to illuminate the experience of white rural voters and to expand cultural understanding of the region, showcasing the African-American Affrilachian Poets workshop and the Appalachian Media Institute at Appalshop, where queer young adults find community and refuge. “hillbilly” aims to challenge viewers perception of Appalachia and to offer folks within the region a cinematic portrayal of which they can be proud, ultimately creating dialogue between urban and rural America.

Saturday December 8, 2018 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Alaska Experience Theatre 333 W 4th Ave #207, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA