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Arlington International Film Festival
Arlington International Film Festival Logo.jpg
Location Arlington, MA
Founded 2010
Festival date Annually, in October
Language International

The Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) is an annual nonprofit film festival dedicated to promoting and increasing multicultural awareness and showcases world cinema and independent films in their original language with English subtitles. Independent film producers, directors and actors within the US and abroad are invited to participate in engaging panel discussions and Q&A sessions after the screenings. Each year the festival greets more than 2,000 movie aficionados and shows about fifty films from all over the world with an impressive lineup of premieres. The Arlington International Film Festival also includes a year-round events such as poster contest competitions (the AIFF's logo was designed by Marley Jurgensmeyer, winner of the 2012 poster contest competition), pre-festival screenings and art exhibitions with local artists and performances by musicians, singers and dancers.


The Arlington International Film Festival was founded in 2010 by April Ranck and Alberto Guzman, in the aim of exploring and promoting the cultural diversity through the lens of independent films in a wide range of topics and areas. Jumping from 53 submissions the first year to over 142 the following year, the festival has been a significant success and attracts many enthusiast moviegoers. Hundreds of submissions are now watched by AIFF’s Selection Committee each year and many of the selected films have been nominated for Academy Awards, while others have been purchased by CNN, POV PBS and Nova. The festival was held during four consecutive years at the historic Regent Theatre in Arlington.
In 2015, the festival took place at the Kendall Square Cinema, Massachusetts.
In 2016, the annual festival returned to his home city in Arlington, and was held at the Capitol Theater Building, in Arlington, Massachusetts. The number of films submissions continues to increase with a strong participation of filmmakers as well as a growing audience.
For its 10th Anniversary, Arlington Int’l Film Festival, like many others, was hit by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. There was no red carpet to walk, but instead an Online Festival was held from November 5 to November 15, 2020 in partnership with the social-media marketing company HappsNow and the streaming platform In lieu of in person interviews, filmmakers were invited to make an introduction prior to their film being screened and more than hundred films, documentary and narrative features including shorts plus two programs of animation shorts were screened during the 2020 year’s festival. Once again, AIFF welcomed high school students. This program named: “Voices of Our Youth” wrapped up a collection of nearly 60 shorts films.


In 2014, the "Martin Luther King Community" awarded AIFF for spreading diversity and awareness of African-American culture, In 2012, the AIFF received the Year Award from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and in 2013, the McClennen Community Arts Award from Arlington Center for the Arts in recognition for building community, as well as the Gold Star Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for its 2013 poster contest. In January 2014, in conjunction with the Visual Art Department of the Arlington High School, AIFF brought artist Winfred Rembert for a 5-day residency. AIFF has also partnered with the Boston Environmental Film Festival, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Boston Irish Film Festival. In addition, AIFF worked with the filmmaker Alice Rotchild, of documentary Voices Across the Divide, which co-won the Boston Palestine Film Festival's ‘2013 Audience Award for Best Film. Two films: Botso: The Teacher from Tbilisi and Elena that were showcased at the Arlington International Festival in 2014 were among the 134 features nominated in the 'Documentary Feature' category at the 87th Academy Awards. For the 9th annual festival, AIFF launched a new award: "Audience Choice Awards , sponsored by Spy Pond Productions. These awards were named in honor of Fran Ranck Tood, who passed in the spring of 2019. He was a faithful supporter and ambassador of the AIFF.


The screenings include feature length and short films in narrative, documentary and animation categories. Showings emphasize multiculturalism. The Arlington International Film Festival is a juried festival. College and High school students are also included.

Festival awards

2020 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:
  • "The place that makes us" by director and producer: Karla Murthy. USA. Karla Murthy is an Emmy Award-nominated producer.
Official selections:
  • Woods Hole Film Festival, in Falmouth MA and won the price for Emerging Documentary Filmmaker.
  • River's Edge International Film Festival,Paducah, KY.
Best Documentary Feature:
  • "Sockeye Salmon. Red Fish". Filmmakers Dmitriy Shpilenok and Vladislav Grishin. Russian Federation.
Other Awards:
  • Award Excellence 2020 at the imdb Accolade Competition
  • Award of Excellence at The Indie Fest Film Awards, in California
  • Festival award at the Golden Door Film Festival, in New Jersey.
  • Best Documentary Feature at the Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival.
  • Best Documentary at Eurovision Palermo Film Festival, in Italy
  • Best Documentary Film at Florence Film Awards, in Italy
  • Best Feature Documentary at Los Angeles Movie Award
Best Narrative Feature:
  • "Omar and Us". Directed by Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er. Turkey.
Other Awards:
  • International Competition – Best Film, Best Script, Best Actor at South East European Film Festival, Paris, France.
  • Ecumenical Jury Award at Warsaw Film Festival (World Premiere), Poland.
  • Best Film & Best Director & Best Script Award at Malatya Int’l Film Festival, Turkey.
  • Best Film Award at Santa Cruz Film Festival, Argentina.
  • Dialog Award Nomination at Cottbus Film Festival, Germany.
  • International Competition at Kolkata Film Festival, India.
  • Best Actor at Fantasporto Film Festival, Porto, Portugal; Official Selection at Haifa Film Festival.
Best of Documentary Short:
  • "Marked". Directed and written by Henry Ogunjimi. Nigeria. New England Premiere.
Official Selection at Afrika Film Festival.
Other Awards:
  • Best Documentary at the Seattle Black Film Festival.
Best Animation Short:
  • "Mother And Milk"{ by Ami Lindholm. Finland. US Premiere.
Best Experimental Short:
  • "Floating World-Life" 1.0 by Dénes Ruzsa and Fruzsina Spitzer. Hungary.


Best of Festival:
  • "Sanctuary" by L-J Shen Filerman, Arlington, Ma, USA.
Best Documentary:
  • "The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative" by Grace Bright and Grace Joo, Troy Athens, Michigan. USA. Official selection in several film festivals around the USA.
Best Sci-Fi/Animation Documentary:
  • "Zoe" by Marta Krunić, Croatia.
Other Awards:
  • Best Film at International Children’s Film Festival Bangladesh.
  • First place winner at Highway 61 Film Festival, USA (category "Student Short").
  • Best cinematography at Garden State Film Festival, New Jersey, USA (category "Student Short").
Best Experimental:
  • "Unmasked" by Sophia Quigley, Raw Ats Works, Lynn MA, US. Boston Premiere.
Best Narrative:
  • "Rita" by Will Nordstrom, Palisades, California, US. New England Premiere.
Best Narrative-Experimental:
  • "Dimitto" by Riley Foulk, Jago Gould, J rea, Chloe Rodriguez, Gabriel Zakaib; Light house Studio, Charlottesville, VA, US. New England Premiere.
Special Mentions:
  • Best Script (Grand Jury Price):
  • "A Day with Officer Shawnie" by Aidan Sevens, Vancouver, Canada, USA.
  • Best lighting:
  • "Hold on" by Blue Ridge Detention Center, Light House Studio, Charlottesville, VA. USA.
  • Best Audio:
  • "The Dream Café" by Shuqian Lyu, Shanghai, China.
  • Best Creativity:
  • "Lac-Note Intolerant" by Nathaniel Sackson, Ana Burman, Chantrea Anderson, Emma Kaufman-Horner, Mallory Greene, Max Mongosso, Omara English, Ian Phillips, Yutong Dai, Ouyang Xuanjie, Sarah Apple | Light House Studio, Charlottesville, VA. USA.

2019 Festival Awards

The Audience Choice Awards for Best Feature:
  • "Danseur" Directed and Produced by Scott Gormley, New York City. USA.
Other Awards:
  • Grand Prize at Choreoscope International Dance Film Festival Choreoscope, International Dance Film Festival Barcelona; Social Relevant Film Festival New York Grand Prize Documentary Feature.
Best of Festival Feature & Academy Award Nominee:
  • "American Mirror: Intimations of Mortality" Directed by Arthur Balder. USA.
Other Awards:
  • Parajanov-Vartanov Awards (US) for Best Innovative Film, Best Cinematography and Best Composer: Mark Petrie.
  • Best International Documentary at Fabrique du Cinéma Award (Italy).
  • Best Art, Best Director and Supreme Jury Awardat Melbourne Documentary Film Festival nominated.
  • Audience Award and Best Director at Ierapetra Documentary Film Festival, Greece.
  • Golden Eagle Award for Best Film of 2019, Best Cinematography, Best Lead Actor and Best Original Score at European Cinematography Awards (Netherlands) nominated.
Best of Festival Festival Short:
  • "Lifeboat". Nominated for the Oscar for Best Short Documentary. Directed by Skye Fitzgerald. Germany.
Other Awards:
  • Best Doc Short at IDA (International Documentary Award).
  • Best Director & Best Short at the Social Impact Media Award.
  • Best Doc Short at the Woodstock Film Festival.
  • Jury Award at the Traverse City Film Festival.
  • Best Short at the Telluride Mountainfilm.
  • Special Jury Price at the BendFilm.
  • Best Doc Short at the Courage Film Festival.
  • The Act Now Award at the Crested Butte Film Festival.
  • Best Doc Short at the Dublin International Shorts Film Festival.
  • The Audience award at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival.
Best Documentary Feature:
  • "The Last American Colony" by award-winning director Bestor Cram and Mike Majoros. USA. With over thirty years of experience, Bestor Cram independent documentaries have premiered at different festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, Nashville Festival, the AFI’s Silverdocs Film Festival, and the Independent Film Festival of Boston and more. His previous documentaries have also been shown on different channels such as HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel as well as Museum such as the Smithsonian Museum.
Best of Festival Documentary Short:
  • "Imagining Future Cities" By Shugi Wang. USA Premiere.

Her previous documentary Awaken the Dragon for cancer survivors was screened as a finalist of HUA International Short Film festival in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and China. Shugi Wang's other works also have been featured on channels such as NBC.

Best of Narrative Feature:
  • "Thicker than Blood" by Anthony L. Williams. USA, New England Premiere.
Other Awards:
  • Best Director at the Newark international Film Festival.
Best of Narrative Short:
  • "Facing Mecca" Directed by Jan-Eric Mack. Switzerland. Boston Premiere.
Best of Animation Short:
  • "Los Emigrantes". Directed by Andrés Llugany. Argentina. USA Premiere.
Other Awards:
  • Best Animation Short, Press Award, Audience Award, and Best Screenplay at the Mirada Oeste National Film Festival (Argentina).
Best Experimental Short:
  • "Wamin (The Apple)". By Katherine Nequado. Canada. USA Premiere.
Other Award:
Festival du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand – Talent Tout Court Award, Quebec, Canada.
High Output Award to Local Filmmaker:
  • "Path of the Daff". Feature documentary by Michael Piscitelli. USA/Netherland. Boston Premiere. USA.
Other Award:
Best Documentary in Valley Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Rule Boston Camera Award to Local Filmmaker:
  • C"lass Of 84". Short animation by Alex Salsberg & Joe Andrade. USA.
Talamas Boston Award to Local Filmmaker:
  • "Artes Liberales". Feature documentary by Dr. Chen Cheng. USA. Canada Premiere.

Students Division Awards:

Best of Festival:
  • "Social Cinema" by Carolina Sánchez. Spain.
Best Short Documentary:
  • "Changing the narrative"by Christian Means, Deonte Johnson, JaQuavion Gaines, Juliani Robinson. Light House Studio. Charlottesville. VA. USA.
Best Short Narrative:
  • "A Wake-Up Call"By Alex Dekelbaum. Dallas. USA.
Best Short Animation:
  • "Margo"by Amelia Maxham, Libby Slaughter, Ben Clark, Summers Worthington, Johnny Krosby-Groner, Jhael J. Rasheed, Victoria Stiefvater, Conrad Heins, Nicholas Tennery, Jago Gould. Light House Studio, Charlottesville, VA. USA.
Best Short Experimental:
  • "Discoveries: Awakening" by Noah Semeria. Chicago, Illinois. USA.
Honorable Mention:
  • "A Journey to Acceptance" by Sami Dowd. Swampscott, MA. USA.
Honorable Mention:
  • "Shrink" by Kayla Jorgensen. Hyannis, MA. USA.

2018 Festival Awards

Best of Festival Feature:
  • "Skidrow Marathon". Directed by Mark Hayes & Gabrielle Hayes. USA.

The film has received 18 awards from 12 different film festivals.

Best of Festival Documentary short:
  • "Are you Volleyball?". Directed by Mohammad Bakhshi. Iran. This documentary won 21 awards.
Best Short Documentary:
  • "Whirlwind", An history of black Tennis in America. Directed by Samantha Smith. USA.
Best Narrative Feature:
  • "Die Best E Aller Welten" (The Best of All Worlds). Directed by Adrian Goiginger. This film is based on true events.
Best Short Narrative:
  • "Violin". Directed, produced and written by Konstantin Fam. Russia. This film is the final part of a trilogy about Holocaust history.
Best Short Animation:
  • "Good Boy". Directed by Rachel Beltran. USA.
Best historical Documentary:
  • "Crows of the Desert". A Hero’s Journey through the Armenian Genocide. Directed, produced and written by Marta Houske. USA. This documentary has received 12 awards and 4 nominations from different international film festivals.

Students Division Awards:

Best of Festival:
  • "Violence in Baltimore". Produced and directed by Emerson students: Brooke Anderson, William Coles, Katia Crawford, Marc Cruise, Jayla Elliott, Joelle Faison, Kailah Hall, Michelle Hill, Eric Hunter, William Mitchell, Sama Muhammad, Ade Ogunshina, Eva Ojekwe, Brian Thompson, Ayanna White. Baltimore. MD. Wide Angle Youth Media.
Best Short Documentary:
  • "Needles and Threats". Produced and directed by Emerson students: Alyssa Abreu, Moises Vargas & Anisa Hamilton. NYC. Maysles Documentary Center.
Best Short Experimental:
  • "Irony". Produced and directed by Perth Modern School & Curtin University student: Radheya Jegatheva. Australia.
Best Short Animation:
  • "Trejur" (pronounced: Treasure). Produced and directed by Emerson student: Thomas Kim. Concord MA.

Local Filmmakers & Next Generation Of Filmmakers Awards:

  • "Rule Boston Camera: Speak To Me". Directed by Nicolas Thilo-McGovern.
  • "Talamas Boston: Awaken The Dragon Together". Directed by Shuyi Wang.
  • "High Output : Yin Yu Tang". Directed by Vivianna Yan. Official Selection: HUA International Short Film Festival.

Microsoft Awards. Special Recognition to:

  • "The Art Collector". Produced and directed by Emerson student: Saoirse Loftus-Reid. Lexington, MA.
  • "Undocumentary". Produced and directed by Emerson student: Karla Cortes. Somerville, MA. World Premiere.

2017 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:
Best Narrative Feature:
  • "You Have a Nice Flight", Jimmy Dinh: Director. USA. The film has received 8 Awards, 21 Official Selections, and 17 Nominations. In July 2017: Shelley Dennis won an Actor Award for the Best Actress for the comedy: You Have a Nice Flight. The comedy has also received the Award of Outstanding Achievement at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival.
Best Documentary Feature:
  • "A Courtship", Amy Khon: Director. USA.
Best of Festival Short Film:
  • "Sisak", Faraz Ansari: Director, India. Winner Best International Film. Winner Best Overall Short, Best Film at Mosaic Int’l South Asian Film Festival, Mississauga, Ontario.
Best Narrative Short Film:
  • "Fist of People", Dong-ki An: Director. South Korea.
Best Documentary Short Film:
  • "Phil’s Camino", Annie O'Neil: Director. USA. This documentary has won 16 out of 25 festivals. World premiere at the SXSW Int’l Film Festival and Winner of the Best Short Doc at numerous film festivals. Officially submitted to The Academy for Oscar Nomination at the 89th Academy Awards.
Best Animation Short Film:
  • "Au Revoir Balthazar", Rafael Sommerhalder: Director. Switzerland. This animated short film won many international awards including: the Best of the World Award at Hiroshima International Animation Festival.

Students Division Awards:

Best of Festival Short Film:
  • "A Roll Call", Ben Reingold: Director. Sharon, MA.
Best Narrative Short Films:
  • "Rosa", Roni Rolsgrove: Director. Boston, MA. ICA.
  • "Loop", Stephen Gentry, Ryan Beard & Eli Hall: Directors. Charlottesville, VA. World Premiere.
Best Documentary Short Film:
  • "After Freddie Gray, What Now?", Victor Able, Tayvon Cole, Katia Crawford, William Mitchell, Niajea Randolph, and Kailah Hall: Directors. Baltimore, MD.
Best Animation Short Film:
  • "Washed Away", Madysen Yamamoto and Marina Kyle: Directors. San Francisco, CA.
Special Recognition Documentary Short:
  • "What Piano District", Annmarie Soba: Director. New York City. World Premiere.

2016 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:

  • "East LA Interchange", Betsy Kalin: Director. USA. East Coast Premiere. Winner of the Award of Excellence IndieFest Film Awards; Best Feature New Urbanism Film Festival; 1st place jury award Frozen River Film Festival; Best Doc Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.

Best Narrative Feature:

  • "Climas"", Enrica Pérez: Director. Peru. USA Premiere. Premiered at the Warsaw Film Festival. Official Selection of the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de Cuba; Epic Award for upcoming Filmmakers at the Festival de Cine de Lima.

Best Documentary Feature:

  • "Jiàoliàn [coach]", Esteban Argüello: Director. Official Selection of the Sebastopol Doc Fest; Ethnography Festival, Paris; D.C Asian American FF. Washington DC and Frozen River Film Festival.

Best Documentary Short Film:

  • "The time of the Luthiers", Jorge Guerrero: Director. Spain. USA Premiere.

Best Narrative Short Film:

  • "EDÉN Hostel", Gonzaga Manso: Director. Spain. New England Premiere.

Best Animation Short Film:

  • "The Day of the Bleeding Gums", Dimitar Dimitrov-Animiter: Director. Bulgaria. New England Premiere.

Official Selection at the Seattle International Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Festival.


  • "Attached At the Soul", William Leon: Writer/Director. USA, CA

Best Documentary Short:

  • "Todo tiene su tiempo/ Everything Has Its Time", Marylys Merida: Director. USA, MA.

Best Narrative Short:

  • "Teach Me Fish", Asa Minter: Director. USA, MA.

Best Experimental Short:

  • "I don't need U", Alyssa Peguero: Director. USA, MA.

Special Presentation from this year's Harvard College Film Festival:

  • "The Flag", Director: Tyler S.Parker. USA, South Carolina. Best Documentary - Best Direction (Documentary) - Best Editing (Documentary) - Best Sound Editing (Documentary) at Harvard College Film Festival 2016.

2015 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:

  • "Gabo: The Creation of Garcia Marquez", produced by Justin Webster. France.

Best Narrative Feature:

  • "How Not To Disappear Completely", produced by Stuart J. Parkins, Director. U.K. USA PREMIERE.

Best Documentary Short Film:

  • "A Chance To Dress", Produced by Alice Dungan Bouvrie. USA
  • Tashi & The Monk, produced by Andrew Hinton & Johnny Burke, Directors. MA, USA.

Best Fiction Short Film':

  • "Kresnik: The Lore of Fire", produced by David SIPOŠ, Slovenia.

Best Animated Short Film':

  • "Bendito Machine", produced by Jossie MALIS, Director. Spain, New England Premiere.

COLLEGE AWARDS 'Best of Festival:

  • "Adagio", Kevin Wolf, Director. CA.


  • "Jordan", Katie Russel, Director. Raw Art Works, MA

Best Experimental:

  • "Inhibited", Alexia Salingaros, Director, TX

Best Animation:

  • "Luminosity", Alexia Salingaros, Director, TX

Best Documentary:

  • "Picking up the Pieces", Joshua Tebeau, Director, Poland

Best Narrative:

  • "Queen", Arvonne Patterson, Director, MA.

2014 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:

  • "Elena" directed by Petra Costa and produced by Busca Vida Filmes.

Best Documentary:

  • "Botso": The Teacher from Tbilisi, directed by Tom Walters.

Best Narrative:

  • "The Forgotten Kingdom", directed by Andrew Mudge.

Best Narrative Short:

  • "The Man Who Fed His Shadow", directed by Mario Garefo.

Best Documentary Short:

  • "Not Anymore", directed by Matthew VanDyke.

2013 Festival Awards

Best Documentary:

  • "The Iran Job" directed by Till Schauder.

Best Narrative:

  • Clandestine Childhood directed by Benjamín Ávila.

Best Short:

  • Baghdad Messi, directed by Shahim Omar Kalifa.

Best Documentary - High School Division Awards:

  • La Lucha, directed by Tessa Tracy and Sophia Santos.

Best Narrative - High School Division Award:

  • The Shingles, directed by Malcolm DC.

2012 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:

  • All Me: The Life and Time of Winfred Rembert directed by Vivian Ducat.

Best Documentary:

  • Racing the Rez, directed by Brian Truglio.

Best Narrative:

  • Consent, directed by Ron Farrar Brown.

Best of Festival & Best Documentary -High School Division Awards:

  • La joie de vivre, directed by Jeremy Vassiliou.

Best Narrative - High School Division Award:

  • Molineux, directed by Jacob Sussman.

High School Division Awards Best Animation - High School Division Awards:

  • In Your Heart, directed by Raymond Caplin.

Best Experimental - High School Division Award:

  • The Crown of life directed by Real Junior Leblanc.

2011 Festival Awards

Best of Festival:

  • Zero Percent, directed by Tim Skousen.

Best Documentary:

  • We still live here directed by Anne Makepeace.

Best Narrative:

  • Fuerteventura, directed by Mattias Sandström.

Best Short Film - High School Division Award:

  • Nowhere Now Here, directed by Gaby Bruce.
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