With a thriving arts scene in Auburn, the Explore Auburn team felt a film festival was the next natural addition in the exciting lineup of yearlong fun Auburn events. So, this past August Lorraine Chachere reached out to Warren Etheredge. Together they collaborated to take the Auburn Adventure Film Festival (AAFF) from an idea, into reality.
“I was excited about the possibilities of a new festival with a very, specific focus from the very first moment we “met” over the phone this summer,” said Etheredge.
The AAFF’s unique film screening and adventure pairings bring Explore Auburn’s #ChooseYourOwnAdventure marketing campaign to life. “The [AAFF] is designed to showcase perspectives that will engage the audience by letting them be a part of the adventure before and after the film,” explains Chachere in her AAFF bio.
The inaugural AAFF opens tonight and runs through the weekend. Go to auburnadventurefilmfestival.org for a full schedule of film screenings and adventures, and to purchase tickets. Film fest-goers can attend individual screenings (priced per screening) or purchase a weekend festival pass ($75). Use code ADVENTURE at check out to receive 50% off your purchase.
Talking AAFF with Fest Producer Warren Etheredge
We chatted with AAFF producer Warren Etheredge to get a behind the scenes look at the AAFF.
Auburn Examiner: Why did you agree to work on the AAFF?
Warren Etheredge: I program films for many festivals, and sometimes there are movies I cannot program due to the constraints of the particular events. Another way to put it is this: there are a lot of great adventure films being made, and often they do not jibe with the programming needs of other festivals’ directives. Thus, the [AAFF], provided the opportunity to showcase some amazing movies in a forum in which they would best be appreciated.
AE: When did you begin putting the pieces in motion for the AAFF to become a reality?
WE: I was hired in August and hit the ground running in September. It’s a very quick turnaround, dare I say, an adventure in itself!
AE: How many submissions did you receive for the AAFF?
WE: We received many more submissions than most fests do in their very first year; I was actually astonished by the profile we’ve established for the AAFF in such a short span. That said, between the works submitted, titles I personally solicited and others that I have screened traveling to other festivals, we are talking many hundreds of movies, shorts, and features.
AE: Were there any films you sought out specifically to feature in the inaugural AAFF?
WE: I’m really proud to have the opportunity to showcase THIS MOUNTAIN LIFE on Saturday night. It’s a stupefying adventure, a documentary about a 60-year-old mom and her adult daughter who take six months to traverse the Canadian Rockies… for fun! (I’m not even crazy about taking a long road trip with my mother, let alone, risk life and limb over half a year.)
AE: If someone isn’t into outdoorsy activities, would they still enjoy the AAFF?
WE: Well, this seems like the best time to confess that I am not an outdoorsy type. I was born and raised in New York City and, for me, adventure was walking by a crackhouse or through Hell’s Kitchen in the 70s. I like to be near nature, not in nature. So, I was particularly stoked to program the AAFF for both the, shall we say, naturally adventurous AND for folks like myself who prefer to get their adrenalin rushes vicariously.
AE: If you could only choose one day to attend the AAFF, which would you recommend?
WE: Saturday. Tons of great films, even a World Premiere! Plus the aforementioned THIS MOUNTAIN LIFE.
AE: With streaming being so popular these days, do you feel film festivals will become obsolete?
WE: Heck no! Festivals offer several things streaming cannot. To wit, the 4 Cs…
1) Curated programming — I watch the dreck, so you don’t have to
2) Contextual programing — groupings of films provide the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
3) Community — sharing an experience beats cocooning, no matter how tempting the latter may be
4) Conversation — a movie isn’t a movie until we’re talking about it — with the filmmakers, the programmers and one another
AE: This isn’t your first film fest by any means. However, when launching a new film fest do you get nervous about the reception and/or success of the film fest?
WE: Absolutely. In fact, this is the most nervous I have been in about two decades. I feel like I am about to go spelunking, which is hands down the most terrifying adventure I can imagine that so many others enjoy. Still, it is a rush, and these launches always exceed my expectations. Know this, launching a festival is the opposite of the Mallory quote about climbing Everest — “Because it’s there.” — the real motivation is because it never has been there and now, finally, it will be exactly where it belongs.
AE: What are you most excited about for the AAFF?
WE: Honestly, I can’t wait for the Closing Night Skate Package and Gala at Auburn Sk8. I love the movies I’ve programmed for it — including ROLLER DREAMS, a tribute to roller-dancing phenomenon of Venice, California in the 80s — and I am eager to see the roller derby demonstration afterward. Heck, I may even don skates myself… for the very first time in my life.
AE: Any fun tidbits or behind the scenes info you’d like to share with readers to get them excited about this weekend?
WE: I consider the Surf Adventure the most gorgeous package of films throughout the AAFF. It tackles the idea of the water — the art and the sport of it — in ways that I find both mesmerizing and inspirational.
Now that we know the lineup, you’ve listened to the AAFF playlist, and we’ve heard from the producer – it’s time to Let The Adventure Begin!