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Anchorage International Film Festival Introduces New Leadership and 2 New Categories (Exclusive)




The Anchorage International Film Festival has announced four new appointments to its leadership team along with two new competitive categories.

Pat McGee and Adam Linkenhelt will be the new festival directors, with Kim Walsh as the new director of operations and Caroline Pessoa Murphy as director of development. The two new categories for the film competition are the Real-World Impact category and the Explorer’s Achievement Award. They will be played for the first time at this year’s festival, running from December 6-14 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Together, McGee and Linkenhelt have over a decade of collaborative documentary filmmaking experience. Among the powerful, character-driven films they’ve made are american relapse, Prisoner of the Prophet, CAL BRAND, Bernie Blackout, The deportedand From the Hood to the Holler, which won the Audience Award at AIFF 2022.

Their projects have been featured on National Geographic, Hulu, Vice, A&E, Discovery, Max and Peacock.

As operations manager, Walsh brings with him experience in event management and operations. Previously, she has worked at Sundance and the Key West Film Festival.

As head of development, Murphy has over thirty years of experience as a producer and casting director for television and film. Having worked with major networks and streaming services, her leadership in fundraising and building partnerships will help advance the festival’s growth.

Read also: Coronado Island Film Festival sets jury for first screenwriting competition

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Pat McGee and Adam Linkenhelt as Festival Directors for AIFF,” said Rich Curtner, AIFF Chairman of the Board. “Their extensive experience in filmmaking and their passion for telling impactful stories align perfectly with our mission. We look forward to seeing the innovative direction they will bring to the festival. A special thanks to John Gamache and Ida Myklebost, the outgoing festival directors, who led us through an earthquake-affected festival and the Covid-19 crisis.”

The Anchorage International Film Festival has been featured in MovieMaker’s 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World and 20 Film Festivals for First-Time Filmmakers.

This year, AIFF plans to create a festival experience that not only entertains but also inspires and empowers filmmakers and audiences.

“Over the past few years, Adam and I have had two of our features programmed at AIFF. We know firsthand that it is a special festival. We look forward to continuing the excellence that outgoing festival directors Gamache and Myklebost brought to AIFF. We wants to lift the festival to new heights, says McGee.

“AIFF has been a hidden gem on the festival circuit, but after being named one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world, I think the word is out. We’re expecting even bigger things this year!” said Linkenhelt.

See the descriptions for the two new categories below, courtesy of AIFF.

New categories are being added at the Anchorage International Film Festival

Real impact on the world

This competitive category will feature documentaries and scripted films that strive to change the world through powerful narrative and impactful storytelling, highlighting pressing social issues and inspiring action. Emphasizing work from young and emerging filmmakers, this category aims to showcase and support independent storytelling that engages with important causes such as LGBTQ+, climate justice, racial justice and mental health.

Explorer’s Achievement Award

Celebrating the incredible achievements of explorers and adventurers who push the limits of the human spirit, this category will showcase films that document physical journeys as well as explore the emotional and philosophical dimensions of adventure. Curated by Explorer’s Club filmmaker Gregory Taylor, these films will inspire audiences and honor the courage and curiosity that drive human exploration.

Main image: Pat McGee and Adam Linkenhelt courtesy of the Anchorage International Film Festival.

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