The Anchorage International Film Festival (AIFF) is the largest film festival in Alaska. It was founded in 2001 in order to bring independent and international films to Anchorage, and to showcase the quality independent films made in Alaska. Our mission is to develop, promote, and sustain a film festival that supports new media and independent filmmaking in Alaska and around the world, while enriching cultural and entertainment opportunities for Alaskans.

The AIFF is a cosmopolitan film festival that strives to reflect the diverse character of Anchorage by screening captivating and well-crafted independent films from all over the world. The AIFF also provides a forum for the work of independent Alaska filmmakers and opportunities to network with fellow filmmakers. In the past, several films receiving jury awards from the AIFF have gone on to win Academy Awards and awards at major film festivals, such as Hot Docs, Tribeca, Sundance, South by Southwest, the Sheffield Doc Fest, and the Seattle International Film Festival.

The AIFF programmers look to program a wide variety of quality, independent films as colorful as the Northern Lights themselves, in categories of: Features, Documentaries, Shorts, Super Shorts, Animation, and films Made in Alaska. In addition to this, we also have our beloved LGBTQ (Gay-La) events, youth and family programming and our Screenplay competition.

If you've been here before, you know Alaska's an intriguing place. About half of the population of Alaska lives in Anchorage (2013 population 300,950), a modern city with differing lifestyles and independent spirit. Situated between the striking Chugach Mountains and the stunning Cook Inlet, Anchorage is known for its outstanding natural beauty. The city is only a short drive away from glaciers, downhill ski resorts, and unparalleled cross-country skiing, hiking, and bike trails. Anchorage has a vibrant arts community, is home to two universities, and hosts the world-class Anchorage Museum. Anchorage is also a culturally and ethnically diverse city. In 2014, as many as 99 different languages were spoken by students enrolled in the Anchorage School District.

The AIFF encourages filmmakers to attend our festival and experience the beauty of an Alaska winter. AIFF attracts filmmakers from all over the world, who spend ten days in Anchorage together, watching films, going on excursions in the winter wonderland and making life-long friendships.
We love to have filmmakers attend the festival so much that we happily help out with travel assistance and sometimes even some stipends.

The enthusiasm, sophistication, and passion of the AIFF audience often impress visiting filmmakers, and the AIFF has received uniformly positive feedback about the care and attention visitors receive from the festival staff. We are the warmest festival in a cold climate!

Our main host venue is the 400-seat Bear Tooth Theatre, a brew-pub where movie-goers are able to enjoy a drink and delicious food while watching films. A variety of other excellent exhibition venues around Anchorage host films and events during the festival.

We encourage you to submit your films and come join us in December, a time when the winter weather creates a dramatic and impressive beauty all its own and where you can discover “Films Worth Freezing For.”

The AIFF-award categories are:

Narrative feature
Documentary feature
Animation feature
Made in Alaska narrative feature
Made in Alaska documentary feature

Narrative short
Documentary short
Animation short
Made in Alaska narrative short
Made in Alaska documentary short

Screenplay (feature-length)

The 2020 AIFF is open to any film that has premiered after January 1, 2018, regardless of content, subject, or origin. The film must not have screened or be scheduled to screen on cable or broadcast television in Alaska or any other U.S. state prior to December 1, 2020. Submitting your film to the 2020 AIFF is not a guarantee of selection.

A film will only be eligible for the 2020 AIFF jury competition if fees and forms are submitted with the film by the September 15, 2020 extended deadline. We support independent film and encourage all genres to enter.

The AIFF will not refund any fees if the filmmaker fails to submit the film in the correct category. Films submitted without the correct fees or proper submission media may be deemed ineligible at the discretion of the AIFF programming director or executive director. The AIFF will not refund any fees if the filmmaker fails to submit a suitable exhibition copy in an acceptable format.

Once a film is accepted and becomes an official selection in the festival, AIFF WILL NOT consider screening fees of any kind. If accepted to the festival, the applicant grants the 2020 AIFF the right to show the submitted film publicly in Alaska until December 31, 2020, UNLESS written notice is provided to AIFF. If a selected film is chosen for an outdoor screening, AIFF has the right to play film audio over necessary radio channels. Failure to submit film in the correct category and/or non-payment of submission fees could disqualify film for selection at the discretion of the programming director.

If film is selected, exhibition media MUST BE IN THE REQUESTED FORMAT and should also be clearly marked with the tracking number, film title, director, and exact running time.
AIFF will ONLY return EXHIBITION MEDIA if the proper packaging with correct postage is provided by the film submitter at the time the film is submitted.

AIFF WILL NOT RETURN OTHER MATERIALS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, i.e. posters, postcards, director statement, or press kits. Send only the type and number of other materials requested by the programming director. Failure to follow any of these guidelines could lead to disqualification of the film, at the discretion of the programming director. Films must be insured by the film submitter. The AIFF is not responsible for damaged or lost media during shipping.

The AIFF is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The film submitter/director/producer shall indemnify and hold harmless AIFF from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening media entered.

Unless negotiated with the festival programming director, all shipping fees are the responsibility of the filmmaker. Any other arrangements must be agreed to in writing by the programming director. Acceptable presentation formats: AIFF will no longer accept 35 mm film prints. Preferred formats are DCI 2K digital or Blu-Ray for the main venue. For films selected for this venue we will accept compatible digital files or Blu-Ray. All other venues will accept only Blu-Ray or digital files. If a film is accepted for the festival, the filmmaker will be informed well in advance on the type of exhibition media to provide.

Questions should be directed via email to the AIFF Programming Director at

Overall Rating
  • Joshua Branstetter

    God. I love this festival. The team is engaging, and you feel that they really care about getting to know the filmmakers, helping you make connections, and ensuring you have the best programs possible. People from all over the world come to Alaska just for this festival, and I can see why. Can't recommend it enough.

    April 2020
  • Kim Jansson

    Such a great film festival! I'm very happy I got to show my film at the 2019 edition, and that I had a chance to attend!

    February 2020
  • Curtis Matzke

    Some festivals you go to for the programming, some you go to for the networking, some you go to for the experience. Anchorage has all three and more. Highly recommended.

    February 2020
  • Exceptional festival... thoughtful, rigorous and warm committees. Terrific audience!

    January 2020
  • Thank you AIFF!
    It's hard to imagine that traveling all the way to Anchorage in the dead of winter would result in one of my favorite film festival experiences, but here we are! My second time screening in Anchorage (formally there in 2015 with SCARY LARRY), AIFF 2019 was filled with wonderful talent, amazing films, and a festival staff who sought to provide us with incredible experiences. 10 out of 10!

    Communication from AIFF was terrific and timely from the moment I was accepted right up to the end of the festival. Filmmaker Relations' John Gamache kept me in the loop, responded to questions quickly, and helped me navigate a new city. Amazing.

    In my four days in Anchorage I saw a variety of excellent films from around the world. The devoted cinemas have very good digital projection quality and comfortable seats. My film GLASGOW looked terrific and sounded great, which is so often not the case. I am very grateful for that.

    The best part of any festival for me, of course, is the networking. What a lovely gathering of filmmakers and festival staff! I made friends and future collaborators that I'd never have met otherwise. Programmer Ida Theresa Myklebost made certain that we grew to be a unit of artists, and had Alaskan experiences that brought us together. There were brunches, bars, bingo, and the unforgettable, awe-inspiring Matanuska Glacier expedition with Greatland Adventures! Once-in-a-lifetime memories for which I am so grateful.

    Thank you Anchorage International Film Festival! I will always submit my work to you, in hopes of returning to your amazing festival.

    Greg Ivan Smith


    January 2020