Cult films, special guests and electrifying debates at the 6th American Independent Film Festival

11 April, 2022

American Independent Film Festival returns between April 15-21 at the Elvire Popesco Cinema and the Peasant Museum Cinema, in Bucharest. The festival will also have a warm-up in Cluj, between April 16-17, at the Victoria Cinema.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of E.T., Steven Spielberg’s beloved film that has encapsulated cinematic magic for generations. The festival’s visual identity celebrates this event and is meant as a tribute to the film.

Moreover, the special guest of this edition is none other than Steven Spielberg. On Friday, April 15th, after the screening of West Side Story, the American director will join the audience via Zoom and answer filmgoers’ questions in a debate moderated by film critic Andrei Gorzo.

If you want to ask the director a question, you can do so by filling out this form after purchasing a ticket.

Since its first edition, AIFF has chosen to direct all ticket proceeds to support a social cause. This year, the proceeds will go toward Ukrainian families who either continue to live in war-torn settlements or have taken refuge in Romania.

As the 11th edition of the American Independent Film Festival Kyiv, which was supposed to take place on March 10-16, was canceled due to the Russian invasion, AIFF.6 decided to include part of the Ukrainian festival selection in its Bucharest programme. 

Mike Mills’s most recent film C’mon C’mon, in which actor Joaquin Phoenix plays a journalist traveling the country for a new project with his young nephew, as well as a series of Ukrainian short documentaries, grouped under the title AIFF Kyiv Indie Lab, will be available to viewers in Bucharest. The latter are made by emerging filmmakers who participated in Indie Lab, a film lab for young Ukrainian artists working on their first or second documentary film project.

The AIFF Kyiv festival team will introduce the films and will be present online for a discussion with the Bucharest audience. Ukrainian viewers will have free access to the two screenings.

Also part of the program is Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary Maidan, which follows the massive anti-government demonstrations in 2013 and 2014 in Kyiv’s central square that eventually led to the overthrow of the then political regime. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Sorin Ioniță (Expert Forum Association) on the current situation in Ukraine.

Opening the festival is the unconventional indie Red Rocket (dir. Sean Baker), starring Simon Rex in a magnetic performance. The film follows Mike Saber, a fallen ex-porn star who returns to his small Texas hometown where no one missed him.


Other must-see films at AIFF.6 are:

The Outfit (dir. Graham Moore), in which a high-end tailor must confront a dangerous group of mobsters to survive one fateful night.

Land (dir. Robin Wright), a woman’s poignant search for self as she isolates herself in the vast, harsh American wilderness, following a tragic event.

Flee (dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen), the Oscar-nominated documentary recounts through vivid animation the story of Amin, who feels compelled to reveal his long-hidden past now that is to be married.

The French Dispatch (dir. Wes Anderson), the film is a love letter to journalism and revolves around an American newspaper in a fictional French town in the 20th century.

West Side Story, the famous musical returns to the big screen as an explosion of color, music and electrifying dances in this new adaptation by Steven Spielberg.

AIFF.6 will also host two important masterclasses: Advertising vs. Cinema, presented by Sebastian Strasser, one of the top five advertising directors in the world, and Script Consulting, held by Răzvan Rădulescu, director, screenwriter and script doctor.

The finalists of the 4th edition of the Write a Screenplay for… competition, organized by the Cinemascop Association with the support of HBO Europe, will be announced at the festival in Bucharest. This year, screenwriters have been invited to write for actress Ioana Bugarin.

Tickets are available on For more details, visit the AIFF website and Facebook page.

Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.