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Anchorage film festival: Cold Alaska nights at warm movie theaters (+VIDEO)

Katie Medred
Magnolia Pictures

In Anchorage, daylight hours are dwindling, slowly melting off the weeks like the monotonous drips off icicles. Days feel over and done by mid-afternoon, when darkness envelops Alaska's largest city. By 5 p.m. on a Friday, some may be tempted to curl up in bed and call it a night. However, for the next 10 days, the team behind the Anchorage International Film Festival will attempt to lure them away from the draw of warm covers and into the glow of warm movie theaters.

The 12th annual Anchorage International Film Festival is set to open Friday at 8 p.m. at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub with the Alaska premier screening of Academy Award-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky's "Deadfall" (see trailer below) followed by an Opening Night Gala party.

The festival will run for 10 days, through Dec. 9, screening more than 100 films from 20 different countries. AIFF selections are made from a pool of submissions acquired over several months. This year, according to AIFF president Tom Sheppard, the festival received more than 300 submissions but selected only 140 for final screenings. Schedule's here.

Films are divided into six categories: short films, animation, super short films, feature narratives, documentaries and the festival's regular "Snowdance," which is exclusively for Alaskan-made films.

Snowdance offers local filmmakers the opportunity to compete amongst each other, but the productions are a mixed bag. The Alaskan grown films in competition range in length, from features to super short, and run the gamut from documentaries to animation.

If you're a local filmmaker who didn't get picked for this year's Snowdance, or perhaps aspire to be included in a future one, there's a chance to screen your film during the Alaska Film Forum's Open Projector Night at Chilkoot Charlie's, 7 p.m. on Dec. 6. Read more about Open Projector Night here.

Where to watch AIFF movies

Film festival movies will show at five different local theaters: the Bear Tooth Theaterpub, Alaska Experience Theater, Out North Contemporary Gallery, the Anchorage Museum and the Anchorage Loussac Library's Wilda Marston Theater.

AIFF tickets tend to go fast and they can be pricey. Fortunately, the film festival has a volunteer program: Two hours spent working the festival equals a voucher that's redeemable for one general admission film fest selection (More on AIFF volunteering).

If you're interested in attending tonight's Opening Night Gala tickets are $20, or $10 for AIFF ALL FILMS pass holders.

For more information on how to obtain AIFF passes, tickets and for a full listing of both International and Snowdance films visit the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Stefan Ruzowitzky's "Deadfall" screens tonight at the Bear Tooth in Anchorage.