Metal, waves, cows, honey and pure madness, from September 14 at the American Independent Film Festival

The festival is donating the proceeds to OvidiuRo Association – tickets are available from September 4

The 4th edition of the American Independent Film Festival, held between September 14 and 20, 2020, is one of the richest in premieres. From September 4, tickets are on sale on and the complete program can be consulted on the website

Inspired by the thematic courage and social charge of independent American films, the Festival donates all proceeds from watching AIFF films (MNAR-Auditorium Hall, Peasant Museum Cinema and Mercato Kultur) to reading programs for disadvantaged children organized by the OvidiuRO Association. Maria Gheorghiu, co-founder and president of the Association, explains this initiative: “Children have the capacity and, especially, the desire and curiosity to learn. It is our duty – parents, teachers, the education system -, to ensure that all children have access to early education, thus giving them a chance to a better future. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not attend kindergarten or school, or drop out too early. We, the OvidiuRo team, together with volunteer teachers from poor communities, work with these children, we teach them to write and read, we offer them books and other educational materials and, above all, we open their minds and hearts to the beauty inside books.”

Contemporary American cinema is rich and diverse. But it’s hard to see this just by looking at the multiplex chains’ offer. Beyond the super-productions of big studios, the world of independent American film seems a remote area and hardly accessible to the Romanian public. AIFF is a rare opportunity to get in touch with one of the most vibrant North American art scenes and discover how easy it is to get enthralled by it. To love indie films means to love passion, creativity, courage. It means entering the field of those who want to tell unconventional stories and take thematic and stylistic risks. But you don’t have to take our word for it: you can convince yourself by watching this year’s selection. AIFF brings you, again, award-winning films that have made history at major festivals such as Sundance, Telluride or Toronto, arresting dramas, but also extraordinary comedies that attest to the vitality of a cinema located outside the conventions of Hollywood.

RESIDUE (Merawi Gerima)
Giornate degli autori, Venice 2020

Written, directed and produced by Merawi Gerima, the son of the famous Egyptian director Haile Gerima (a legendary figure of the L.A. Rebellion film movement), Residue is an inventive and powerful story about identity, gentrification and the difficulty of returning home. The film, selected at the Venice Film Festival, is a poetic reflection on deeply personal and universal themes. “Residue is a delicately calibrated film that explores conversations from often invisible angles.”

GIVE ME LIBERTY (Kirill Mikhanovsky)
Sundance 2019, John Cassavetes Award – Independent Spirit Awards 2020

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker via Skype.

The American indie scene gave us some of the most atypical and frothy comedies of the last decades (from Little Miss Sunshine, to Juno or 500Days OfSummer). The title of best indie comedy of the year may go to Give Me Liberty, directed by Russian emigrant Kirill Mikhanovski, about a driver and a passenger traveling in a van through Milwaukee. Manohla Dargis writes in the New York Times: “ Give Me Liberty is a jolt of a movie, at once kinetic and controlled. It’s an anarchic deadpan comedy that evolves into a romance just around the time the story explodes. With its contrasting modes and moods, it pushes and pulls you, rocking you back and forth like like one of the van’s passengers, causing you pleasant insecurity. Mikhanovsky turns out to be a virtuoso of chaos. When he plunges you into a whirlpool, he seems to be screaming in your ear: isn’t this disaster we call life glorious?”

SOUND OF METAL (Darius Mader)
Toronto FF 2019, Deauville FF 2020

Director Darius Marder has established himself as a strong voice right from his debut, in which a heavy metal drummer (Riz Ahmed) begins to lose his hearing and is forced to reevaluate his place in the world. ”Cinema is an art of sound and vision, but it’s the rare film that explores both with equal vitality. In a remarkably assured feature debut, Darius Marder finds a cinematic language that’s perfectly matched to this story of a man fighting to hold on to what defines him. Marder and his team do groundbreaking work to convey that subjective sonic experience, while Ahmed is simply brilliant and fully immersed in his character.” –

THE CLIMB (Michael Angelo Covino)
Un Certain Regard – Prix Coup de Coeur, Cannes 2019. Audience Award – Deauville FF 2019

Kyle and Mike are best friends who share a close bond – until Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancée. The Climb is about a tumultuous but enduring relationship between two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak and rage. It is also the story of real-life best friends who turn their profound connection into a rich, humane and frequently uproarious film about the boundaries (or lack thereof) in all close friendships.

”Covino shows truly impressive formal control… allowing time, space and rhythm – in short, the foundations of cinema – to play as equal participants in the comedy.” (TheWrap) ”Life is an uphill battle says The Climb, a film that gets better as it goes, even if life often does not.”, Globe and Mail

WAVES (Trey Edward Shults)
Telluride FF 2019

The emotional journey of a suburban African-American family, as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. Film nominated for Best Picture at the Gotham Independent Film Award. ”Still, even in the face of grievous misfortune, the characters created by Schults exude a tenderness that allows this achingly intimate drama to move past sorrow and hit you like a shot in the heart.” (Rolling Stone)

FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt)
Telluride FF 2019, Berlinale 2020

Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is also her latest critical triumph. First Cow, a free adaptation of Jon Roymond’s novel The Half-Life, once again gives her the opportunity to look patiently at the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking 19th-century life. From a simple premise, the director constructs a disturbing question about the American way of life and describes like no other the strange rhythms of everyday life and the unsettling calm of rural America. ”But there’s something about the delicacy and modesty of what Reichardt is doing here that feels unique, even as she’s transporting you back to a primordial, partially untapped USA.” (Rolling Stone) ”First Cow, a quiet story of friendship on the American frontier, is one of the best movies of the year so far.” (The Atlantic)

HONEY BOY (Alma Har’el)
Special Jury Prize, Sundance 2019

Early exposure to celebrity has caused many child stars to go crazy over the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Honey Boy tells the story of Otis, a former child actor, now an alcoholic adult, who is sent to rehab after several confrontations with the police.

”With this drama, LaBeouf has created performance art so daring, shocking, and heartrending that you won’t be able to forget it.” (Common Sense Media)

”omewhere between a primal scream, a self-acceptance and even a forgiveness of sorts, this is an utterly unique bit of autobiography. Brave, bold, and a little batshit.” (Empire)

The complete program oand news about the films and events of the festival will be updated on, on the Facebook page of the American Independent Film Festival and on Instagram (@AmericanIndependentFilmFest).

For National Museum of Art – Auditorium Hall, Cinema Peasant Museum Open Air and Mercato Kultur tickets will be available starting with September 4 on and in the Eventbook network. Tickets for Event Park Snagov are available via its own network. Access to the Deschis Gastrobar and Cinema drive-in Militari Shopping is free upon prior reservation. Detailed information about reservations and ticket purchase :

Details about access and health and safety measures that must be observed during the events of the festival can be found here:

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