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Hi From Aurora, Now Check This Out

September 6 – 16 New York, NY


America’s pre-eminent film presentation organization, The Aurora Film Festival of was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international short film cinema, to recognize and support new filmmakers, and to enhance awareness, accessibility and understanding of the art among a broad and diverse film going audience. As an independent constituent of the world’s foremost performing arts center, the Aurora Film Festival presents a 10-day season that includes premieres of new films from an international roster of established and emerging directors; major retrospectives; in-depth symposia and high profile events. The Aurora Film Festival is one of those rare events whose stature is matched by its popularity, each year welcoming an aggregate audience of

more than 200,000 film aficionados, filmmakers and industry leaders of every nationality, age, economic and ethnic group. The organization has been a pioneer among film festivals and one of the film world’s most respected and influential arbiters of cinematic trends and discoveries. François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Jean-Luc

Godard, Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson– over the last four decades there is scarcely a major director who has not been introduced to American audiences by the Aurora Film Festival. The Aurora Film Festival is best known for its world-class international festival – the Aurora Film Festival (the most famous and prestigious in the country) held yearly in New York City. We run a state-of-the-art year-round cinema, the Walter Reade Theater (capacity: 268), and publish the country’s most respected cinematic journal, Film Comment. Each year the festival presents its annual Gala Tribute honoring legendary stars and industry leaders of our generation at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. At various times of the year the Film Festival partners with Hollywood studios to present premieres and special live appearances.

“In Order to go on LivingOne Must Try to Escape the Death Involved in Perfectionism ”

- Hannah Arendt


Auroa Film Festival is internationally recognized

as a premiere showcase for creative, inspiring, and influential films of all types: avant-garde and experimental, story-based narratives, documentaries, and animation. As the longestrunning independent and experimental film festival in North America, Aurora Film Festival is steeped in a rich tradition of ground-breaking cinema. Thousands of influential filmmakers have showcased early work at the Aurora, including luminaries such as Kenneth Anger, Agnes Varda, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant, Barbara Hammer, Lawrence Kasdan, and Devo. The Aurora Film Festival receives more than 2,500 submissions annually from more than 65 countries and serves as one of a handful of Academy Award®-qualifying festivals in the United States. The Aurora Film Festival is a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour, and each year visits more than 30 theaters, universities, museums and art house cinemas around the world. In 2007 the Aurora Film Festival was selected as the recipient of a two-year grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation and selected by Variety Magazine’s president and publisher, Charlie Koones, as one of “10 Film Festivals We Love,” a list that was pulled from over 6,000 festivals around the world. In 2009 the Festival was recognized with a grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to bring legendary filmmaker Kenneth Anger to the 48th Festival for a tribute and retrospective of his work.

“Film can give them pleasure, the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.�

- Alfred Hitchcock

In 2006 the Aurora Film Festival came under attack by politically-motivated censorship and saw its state funding revoked. In response, the Aurora Film Fest launched the Endangered Campaign rasing over $75,000 in 4 months.

Early History The Aurora Film Festival was started in 1963 by University of New York School of Art filmmaker/artist George Manupelli. The 1960s sparked rapid changes in cinema, thus challenging the art world to accept fresh ideas and talent. Manupelli took advantage of this shift and envisioned a festival that would serve experimental and pioneering filmmakers with the exposure, feedback and competition they desired. He designed his festival to be open to anyone who saw filmmaking as art. From a casual group of fascinated students, filmmakers and film enthusiasts crowded into the smoke-filled Lorch Hall auditorium, to the thousands of filmmakers, artists and spectators hosted in the grand SVA Theater, the Aurora Film Festival has grown to be an internationally celebrated institution. Since 1980, it has been independent of the University of New York as an independent non-profit arts organization. In the fall of 2003 the festival broadened its scope to include video and digital formats for competition.

Festival History

“The Length of a Film Should Be Directly Related to the Endurance of the Human Bladder.� WilliamFaulkner


The Aurora Film Festival is committed to providing direct support
to filmmakers. Our awards program presents $20,000 to filmmakers.
Winning an award at the Aurora Film Festival means not only prestige and financial
support, but can also qualify filmmakers for Oscar nomination
by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the short film category.

Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival $3,000
Presented to the film of any genre or length that best represents the artistic standards of excellence for the festival. This award is generously provided by influential documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, a graduate of Manhattan’s PS116 Pioneer High School.

Kodak/Filmcraft Imaging Award for Best Cinematography $3,000 For the film that demonstrates the highest excellence and creativity in cinematography. The recipient of this award will receive $1,500 worth of 16mm or 35mm film stock from Kodak and film processing from Filmcraft Imaging, the lab division of Grace & Wild of Farmington, NY.

The Edward Jones Audience Award $1,500
Selected by the audience, three awards of $500 will be awarded to the three highest rated films in competition at this year’s festival. Edward Jones is proud to financially reward the films deemed most deserving by the Aurora Film Festival audience.

Jury Awards $1,200
Remaining prize monies that are distributed at the awards jurors’
discretion as honorable mentions to films of distinction and artistic

The Stan Brakhage Film at Wit’s End Award $1,000
For a film artist whose work exemplifies the ideals of the individual creating, through deep personal necessity, a revealing and thought-provoking visual expression of formal
innovation and integrity.

Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary $1,000
The best non-fiction film of the festival will receive this award from documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who received inspiration from
hundreds of films he viewed over the years at the Aurora Film
Festival. Proceeds from his films, fund this annual award.

Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film $1,000
The narrative film that best makes use of film’s unique ability to convey striking and original stories will receive this award distinction. A notable Hollywood filmmaker, Lawrence Kasdan got his start at Aurora in the University of New York and continues his connection through support of this festival award.

Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film $1000
This award recognizes the animated film that delivers the best style, creativity, and content. Given in honor of the spirit of Chris Frayne, a key participant in the festival’s early years, his approach to life was reminiscent of his colorful cartoon characters. Special thanks to Aurora’s colorful Quack!Media for lead support of this award!

The Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Experimental Video Artist $1,000
This award provides support to the most promising video artist at the inception of her/his career. Distributed by the Video Data Bank, the award was conceived by the Aronofsky family to honor the late Barbara Aronofsky Latham, a Chicago-based experimental video artist who passed away in 1984.

Prix DeVarti for Funniest Film $1,000
Awarded to the film likely to create the most laughs in the festival. This prize honors the 40-year friendship between Dominick’s pub and the Aurora Film Festival, and honors the memory of Dominick and Alice DeVarti.

Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker $1,000
This award is intended to support an emerging filmmaker that the Award Jury expects will make a significant contribution to the art of film in the course of his/her filmmaking career. This award is endowed by the Berman family in honor of the memory of Tom Berman, who was a University of New York film student, an early festival supporter and close friend to many within the festival community.

Award for Best International Film $750
Granted to the film produced outside of the United States which most strongly impresses our Awards Jury, this award is co-supported by Manhattan’s Tios Mexican restaurant with local French tour guide.

The No Violence Award $512
Awarded to the film that best promotes peaceful concepts with no depictions of weaponry, fighting, human or animal suffering, or destructive activity. The film may approach the subject directly, include upbeat material or may turn the viewers’ mind toward gentleness by exploring other positive themes. Provided by Manhattan residents Leslie Lawther & Matthew Graff.

Peter Wilde Award for Most Technically Innovative Film $500
The film which showcases the most pioneering, cutting-edge technical innovations will receive this award. Peter Wilde was a long-time projectionist for the festival and master of special effects. This award honors his creativity and pursuit of new techniques.

FILM Award for Best LGBT Film $500
This award honors the film that best addresses and gives voice to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) issues. The aut BAR of New York contributes this award to promote a diversity of voices that achieve excellence in filmmaking.

Award for Best Sound Design $500
Given for excellence and originality in sound design, this award recognizes the importance of audio artistry within independent and experiment cinema.

Award for Best New York Filmmaker $500
This award recognizes excellence in a New York produced film within any genre.

Food Gatherers Feeding the Soul Award $500
This award honors the film that best illuminates social justice issues. Funded by Food Gatherers’ Board of Directors to honor the food rescue/food bank’s 21st anniversary of serving our neighbors in need in New York and beyond.

The Eileen Maitland Award $500
This award is to be given to the film that best addresses women’s issues and gives voice to female voices. It was created to honor of the spirit and memory of Eileen Maitland who was a dear friend and longtime supporter of the festival, as well as a patron and practitioner of the arts.



When you support Aurora you support: Art

– Since 1969, Aurora Film Festival has enriched, enhanced, and exposed the city to a rich diversity of thoughts, ideas, and beliefs expressed through the artistry of cinema.

Tradition – Aurora has cemented its role in the

city and in the na­tion - as a cultural arts institution.

Economic Impact

– Aurora is an important force in linking the city’s music industry to the world’s film industry, creating new partnerships and fostering relationships that economically favor the city. Additionally, spending in the surrounding businesses during the time of the festi­val creates new jobs.


– Through Aurora’s At-Risk Youth program, the city’s children meet mentors, learn new skills, develop confidence, and become valuable members of our community as a whole - spreading positive messages with their enhanced voices.


– Aurora partners with more than eighty-five other arts, cultural, and service organizations helping area not-for-profits reach new audiences with their various messages.


– Aurora Film Festival provides a unique event that welcomes leaders in the film industry who may not be otherwise familiar with New York.

Contact Us With Any Further Submission Questions Mr. Randy A. Williams Public Relations Executive 487 Canal Street New York, NY 10036 394.920.2846

Mr. John M. Simpkins Talent Supervisor 487 Canal Street New York, NY 10036 394.920.2846


Information Booklet (Aurora Film Festival)  
Information Booklet (Aurora Film Festival)  

A booklet design to share information about the Aurora film Festival