Elijah White, AIFF poster

UPDATED May 19: Creating the winning poster for the 13th Annual Arlington International Film Festival was Elijah White, a junior at Massachusetts College of Art.

In a news release from AIFF, he explained his artistry as follows:

"For this assignment, my approach was having a celebratory aesthetic, a physical, highlight reel of filmmaking. This is shown in the spectacle-like formation of the film reels, and the figure in the center. The design of the figure was to be the embodiment of international filmmaking, with the dress [the figure wears] being made up of flags of the many countries involved in the AIFF."

AIFF was invited to celebrate the May 5 poster reception at MassArt. Moderating this year's program was Rico St. Paul, and the guest speaker was Ken Field. The program featured two animated shorts by the late filmmaker Karen Aqua.

The contest connects visual and filmmaking arts and marks the official kickoff of the 13th film festival season.

See below for artist's statements and visit AIFFest.org to vote for your favorite poster. The Audience Choice Award will be announced on opening night of the festival, Nov 2.

The guest speaker May 5 was Ken Field, saxophonist, flautist, percussionist and composer. Since 1988, he has been a member of the electrified modern music ensemble Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. For 33+ years, Field has led the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, a New Orleans-inspired improvisational brass band. 

Field has played all around the world and has been composer-in-residence at the Ucross Foundation, Wyoming, the Fundación Valparaíso, Spain, the MacDowell Colony and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida. He has performed for President Bill Clinton, and with former J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf. Field is a member of The Vandoren Artist family that comprises some of the finest woodwind performers and educators from around the world. Field is an award-winning composer of music for animation, film and dance. His music is heard regularly on the popular internationally broadcast children's television program "Sesame Street" in collaboration with his late wife, animator Karen Aqua.


Rico St. Paul has a BA in Illustration from Mass College of Art & Design and maintains a practice as an artist, illustrator and maker, exploring the artistic fields of concept, game and floral design. St. Paul is the winner of the AIFF 2018 Poster Contest. Currently he is developing an eccentricity for psychologically abstract fine art works that connect the spiritual and psychological worlds of study. St. Paul says, “I feel an absence of sincerity destroys our sense of meaning amongst each other, our art and the natural world. I hope to foster a healing but critical trust and openness through my work.” https://ricostpaul.myportfolio.com

Karen Aqua (1954 – 2011) was studying illustration at RISDI when she fell in love with animation, thus making it her career. She created animated films that explored the themes of ritual, journeys, transformation and the human spirit. Much of her work reflected her interest in symbols, mythology, and prehistoric and tribal cultures, and included elements of rhythm, dance and music. Her award-winning films have been screened nationally and internationally, at film festivals, museums, and universities. Aqua’s animation appears regularly on “Sesame Street.”

     Taxonomy - The starting point for this film was a series of 100 small pastel drawings created in 2007. She later expanded these images from a two-dimensional realm to a time-based one, introducing the elements of movement, transformation and progression.

This film is rooted in the richness and immediacy of the drawing process, using the metaphor of transformation (both visual and conceptual) to explore the themes of impermanence, change and instability. It addresses relationships between the human-made and natural environment, inorganic and organic, blurring the boundaries between these realms. Seemingly permanent elements are presented in a state of constant flux, suggesting malleability, mutability and transience.

     Vis-à-Vis - An autobiographical fantasy, depicting the duality of an individual torn by conflicting desires. A reflection of the reconciliation between work and the creative imagination.

Special thanks to…

Watertown Savings Bank

Venue Partner: Mass College of Art & Design

 Provisions: ZA Pizza - Town Tavern - Trader Joes’s  - Stop & Shop  

Media Sponsor: Arlington Community Media, Inc.   

Artists' Statements 

Kayla Analambidakis - For this project I really wanted to just do things on the spot, I wanted stamps and I wanted it to be messy, but also very simple; it just felt right.

Kylie Balentine - This poster was made using various experimental techniques to give it texture and depth. The shape of Massachusetts was cut out and painted in the colors of the Massachusetts flag with an arrow pointing to a star where Arlington is located. The film reels at the top were cut and layered with different world flags in the holes.

Jenny Dolby - My goal was to capture the whimsy that can be found within open creative spaces; it is a unique atmosphere that can’t be replicated. This poster combines experimental techniques and a soft color palette to attempt to replicate the energy that can only be found at events like the Arlington International Film Festival.

Jackie Goebel - For my poster I wanted to show how film can connect communities from different cultures around the world, represented by a pathway made of film roll that leads from landmark to landmark. In a time when the world is so divided, the arts are more valuable than ever because of the way they show universal experiences and allow individuals to relate to one another across seas and cultures.

Izzy Jacobsen - My poster highlights the beauty of films as blooming visual narratives. Inspired by the flowers around me, I used imagery of filmstrips as the stems, collaged with second-hand stamps and film iconography to create the flora emerging from the Earth.

Josh Kim - My poster shows various animals from around the world surrounding a film camera, symbolizing the importance of the Arlington International Film Festival's celebration, and understanding of various cultures through the viewing of their diverse films.

Lea McCrillis - Inspired by the many images of Hokusai’s Great Wave that hang around Boston and its surrounding cities, I intend for this illustration to make a splash this year.

James Nation - For my poster I wanted to personify the lenses of an old-style film camera -- one into a big fish eye and the other a globe to represent all the international films shown. It is done on board with black and white acrylic gouache.

Katie Punchard - My poster shows the happiness movies/films bring to all kinds of people. Before most people watched films [in] the comfort of their own home, people enjoyed drive-ins. I wanted to include the nostalgic and timeless way to watch movies through making the screen a part of a film reel. The piece captures togetherness and different cultures through the landmarks presented as the film. I wanted to convey that films are impactful, inspiring and universal by using spherical symbols throughout.

Mylee Setzer - My poster features layers of texture, with the circular shape of the film reels echoing the shape of the globe. Circles are a fun and friendly shape, and I wanted my poster to feel warm and inviting.

Justin Whalen - For my poster I wanted to show the collaboration involved in this film festival by showing people from around the world collaborating with one another. They are all lifting the Earth as Arlington film festival uplifts artists to show off their creativity to the masses.

Elijah White - For this assignment, my approach was having a celebratory aesthetic, a physical, highlight reel of filmmaking. This is shown in the spectacle, like formation of the film reels, and the figure in the center. The design of the figure was to be the embodiment of international filmmaking, with the dress being made up of flags of the many countries involved in the AIFF.                                                                                            

2023 Community Sponsors

13 Forest Gallery - 48th Hour Film Project, Boston - Arlington Community Media, Inc - Arlington Council On Aging - Arlington Jazz Festival - Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture (ACAC) - Boston Rule Camera - Casa Esme - Cambridge Typewriter - David Lenoir, Real Estate Agent - FICIE, Elche, Spain -  FINACIES: Students Film Festival, Montevideo, Uruguay - Global Peace Film Festival, Florida - High Output - Irving House, Cambridge - Jose's Torta Mexicana - Ken Field, musician Lesley Ellis School - Little Kids Academy, Arlington - Mass Cultural Council - Mass College of Arts, Illustration Department - Omars World of Comics, Lexington - Peter Filler Motors, Watertown - Rena Lusin Bitmez, Armenian filmmaker - Roma Fashion Film Festival, Rome, Italy - Roasted Granola - Stop & Shop, Arlington - Talamas Boston - Town Tavern, Arlington - Trader Joe's, Arlington - UMATV, Malden - Watertown Savings Bank - Wed In Love, Madrid, Spain - ZA Restaurant, Arlington  


Deadline passes for film entries in 13th Arlington International Film Festival

The 13th annual Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) has issued its call for submissions, and the final deadline was Sunday, April 30, AIFF said.

Each year, AIFF provides a platform for indie filmmakers who are creating films that not only entertain, but that also invite viewers to consider contemporary issues via numerous genres.

AIFF also challenges gender imbalance and the lack of diversity in the film industry.

Visit FilmFreeway and submit your work >>

There is a special call to college student filmmakers: Program to Honor the Ukrainian Community.

College students are invited to submit short films, maximum10 minutes, on current humanitarian topics that relate to Ukraine.


A second special call is being made to high school student filmmakers: "Voice of Our Youth" is a film platform for your creativity. 

Waiver code: VoicesofOurYouth2023  

This news announcement was published Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, based on information from the festival. It was updated most recently on May 19, 2023, to reveal the winner of the annual poster contest.