From October 7-11, 2015, the island of Aruba will once again host filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the world during its annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF). Sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority, the AIFF has helped strengthen the island’s position as a Mecca for tourism, art and culture.
The festival has also established itself as a key player in the Caribbean and Latin American film festival circuit. Since its inception in 2010, the festival has landed international coverage and acclaim from press outlets such as Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, BBC Europe, HBO Latino and Empire Magazine. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) quickly appointed the festival as the “must attend summer film event.”
For four years, local audiences and tourists alike were abuzz, as the AIFF welcomed film luminaries such as Oscar-nominated actor Richard Gere, multi-Oscar-winning editor (and long-time Martin Scorsese collaborator) Thelma Schoonmaker, Oscar-nominated actress Virginia Madsen (now a repeat visitor, earning her the AIFF Ambassador Award in 2013) and legendary Dutch writer/director Paul Verhoeven (of Robocop and Total Recall fame).
Looking to broaden Aruba’s touristic appeal, festival co-founder Jonathan Vieira and the management team – led by the programming director Aaron Hose, the industry events director Rebecca Roos and the chief financial officer Frits Israel – have elected to change the festival dates to October to make way for a brand-new component of the AIFF. Drawing from established institutions such as the “Marche du Film” at the Cannes Film Festival and the “Docs For Sale” at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam, the AIFF will introduce its inaugural International Film Market Aruba (IFMA).
This new market is one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean region. Visiting filmmakers will have the opportunity to revel in the sheer beauty and hospitality of the island, while pitching and selling their films to international sales agents and distributors in a relaxed, conference-style atmosphere. It’s the perfect balance of “work” and “play.” By welcoming its first core group of film industry professionals this year, the IFMA has the long-term potential of drawing hundreds of new “film tourists” to Aruba each successive year.
The festival will once again present a well-balanced program of high-quality films, while offering unique and engaging industry events (master classes, panel discussions) on varied filmmaking topics. Films selected to the AIFF will compete for jury and audience awards in narrative, documentary, short, Caribbean Spotlight and Aruba Flavor (local film) categories.