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Existential Binge-Watching: Preview of Athens International Film and Video Festival

After multiple delays due to the pandemic and even some talks about possibly shifting to an online format, this past weekend officially kicked off both the 47th and 48th installments of the Athens International Film and Video Festival. Now that the nearly 50-year-old festival is back and bigger than ever, more than 500 films have been and will be screened throughout the 10 day weekend to the weekend event.

From experimental shorts to animated blocks, to feature-length narratives and documentaries, AIFVF has a little something for everyone with films that come from all around the world. And one of the best parts? Ohio University students can get in completely for free as long as their student ID is shown at the table parked out in front of the Athena. So, truly, there’s no reason not to make a little bit of time to see a couple of showings. Just be sure to also bring your vaccination card - or at least a clear picture of it - or a negative Covid test within the last 48 hours and, of course, a mask.

With four days left and still plenty to see, now is the best time to get out and watch some films before the festival comes to an end this Sunday. If you ask the existential binge-watcher, of course, I’d say to clear your schedule as much as possible. If you don’t quite have the time for that, though, or maybe feel a bit overwhelmed by the options available, here’s a few recommendations from each of the remaining days to at least get you started.

Thursday: Bill Brown in-person special event at 7:30 p.m.

One of a handful of visiting filmmakers, Brown will be attending this showing of four of his films that play around with ideas of landscape and its interpretations in relation to things like memories and dreams. If you’re looking for some animated shorts even later in the night, Squiggles, which starts at 9:15 p.m., is also a great choice.

Friday: Tuscaloosa, 2021 feature, at 7:00 p.m.

Devon Bostick - yes, the older brother from Diary of a Wimpy Kid - and Natalie Dyer, who you may recognize from a little show known as Stranger Things, star in this drama about a boy who falls in love with a girl from the local mental institution all set to the backdrop of 1972 and the peak of Vietnam war protests and racial issues. Or, if you’re looking for another visiting filmmaker, Sabine Gruffat will be in person during her showing of films at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday: Lil Squiggles, 2021 shorts, at 10:00 a.m.

As you can tell from the name, this one is geared more toward the younger audience, but what better way to relive your childhood than with some Saturday morning cartoons? If you’re looking to get back to adulthood and think a little bit about masculinity, definitely head out later to see the Cock Block shorts at 9:15 p.m. Don’t be too afraid of the name.

Sunday: Queer Genius, 2020 feature, at 1:00 p.m.

This documentary intimately explores the lives of five different critically acclaimed queer female artists: Barbara Hammer, Eileen Myles, Black Quantum Futurism, Moor Mother and Dynasty Handbag. And, of course with Sunday being the final day of the fest, definitely stick around for Best of the Fest at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

These are all really just a tiny bit of what’s left to be played. Be sure to check out the rest of the schedule to see what else might pique your interest. It’s been a while since we’ve had the AIFVF and so many people have put in so much time to finally bring it back to Athens and our beloved Athena. 

So make some time for at least a showing or two, you won’t regret it. And if you need an added perk to really get you out to the fest, remember, students get in for free. Now go see some films while you still can.

Jackson Horvat is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.

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