Asmara Indie Film Festival (AIFF) is a traveling showcase of independent films with groundbreaking, diverse representations in visual storytelling. Born from the human experience of duality, our motto [You are here...You are from here] is inspired by countless narratives from diaspora journeys, and more broadly applies to that indescribable pursuit of finding one’s place in the world. We pride ourselves in sharing films that ignite provocative thinking and highlight unique narratives, especially those that come out of the diaspora experience-- defined as the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an ancestral homeland. Our logo shows two disconnected red dots and a slight break in their separation to represent the possibility, no matter how slim, for them to reconcile. Below is a complete list of AIFF editions to date:
WHERE IS ASMARA?
Asmara is the east African capital of Eritrea. Inspired by a shared vision to connect with parts of their identity through film, AIFF was founded in 2018 by Eritrean American filmmakers Sephora Woldu and Elilta Tewelde. AIFF will travel to a new host city each year to engage audiences in the various destinations of “here”, with the ultimate goal of the Asmara Indie Film Festival being held in Asmara.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
Sephora Woldu is an Eritrean American writer/filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her films have won acclaim with audiences including the American Film Institute, New Orleans Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, Marfa Film Festival, Oslo Independent Film Festival, Columbia University, Museum of African Diaspora, and Eritrean community centers from Philadelphia to San Jose. Sephora received the Craig Brewer Emerging Filmmaker Award (Indie Memphis), Balalaica Filmmaker Award (Moscow Indie Film Festival), and the Special Jury Prize for Bold Innovation (RiverRun International Film Festival) for her Tigrinya/ English debut feature length narrative film, Life is Fare. Sephora also studied graduate architecture and currently works with the global design firm IDEO because among other things, she is full of surprises.
Elilta Tewelde is an Eritrean filmmaker based in Oakland. She received her BA in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University. She was a social worker for over 10 years serving in predominantly African-American communities. In 2009, she established her first project, Drum Beat Journey. This project took a group of Chicago bucket drummers to Senegal in 2012 and resulted in a feature length documentary, Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey (2015). Her documentary premiered at 10 film festivals within the U.S. and Canada: San Francisco Black Film Festival, The Black Harvest Film Festival, Montreal International Black Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and awarded Best Documentary Film at The Indie Chicks International Film Festival.