Thursday, March 4-Sunday, March 7

It’s the first-ever Ann Arbor Film Festival Film Challenge! 

At various locations throughout downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll be challenged to create a mini film, all while following social distancing guidelines outside. Participants will be entered to win some fantastic prizes that range from AAFF tickets to gift cards donated by some of our favorite local businesses. Some of the locations have offers just for participating like discounts and goodie bags. We didn’t forget about our international friends. For film lovers who aren’t local, the provided film challenges will be similar and they’ll encourage participants to explore their hometown. The AAFF will be assembling submissions into a collaborative film that will premiere during the 59th AAFF. You can create the challenges yourself or with a team, it’s up to you! Participants are encouraged to be experimental and create mind-bending films of their own. Find the locations and rules below. 

The Film Challenge begins on Thursday, March 4, and ends Sunday, March 7. There will be tables set up in front of the Michigan Theater staffed by AAFF volunteers handing out  maps and merchandise between 3pm-6pm Thursday and Friday and 12pm-5pm on Saturday and Sunday



Submissions not filmed in Ann Arbor, MI will only be eligible to win tickets to the 59th AAFF and AAFF store credit. 


  • Entries must be submitted via this form, but we encourage you to tag us, follow us on Instagram @aafilmfest and use #AAFFfilmchallenge with your submission.

  • Each film challenge completed is considered an additional entry.

  • Participants who complete a minimum of six challenge prompts are eligible for the awarded prizes. 

  • All participants are expected to follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining 6-feet distances and following each location's COVID protocols

  • By submitting to the contest you are giving the Ann Arbor Film Festival permission to use your film in the collaborative Film Challenge video that will be shown during the 59th AAFF.

  • Submissions must be under 30 seconds.

  • The submission period ends Monday, March 15 at 11:59pm EST.

  • Winners will be notified by email two weeks after the contest. You must respond to the announcement within 5 days to claim your prize.

  • Submissions not filmed in Ann Arbor, MI will only be eligible to win 59th AAFF tickets and AAFF store credit. 

  • The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.


Participants who submit 6 or more challenges are eligible to win one or more of these prizes depending on the number of entries.


AAFF: 2 Tickets to any screening during festival week and a $30 gift card to the online shop


Zingerman's: Zingerman's townie basket


People's Food Co-op: $50 gift certificate 


Cherry Republic: Gift box


Destination Ann Arbor : $50 gift card to the Destination Ann Arbor online shop


Literati: Film books


Participants who submit at least one entry are eligible for one or more of these prizes depending on the number of entries (each submission is considered an additional entry).


Avalon: $25 Gift Card


Encore Records: Gift card


Frita Batidos: Happy Hour Experience for two


RoosRoast: Pound of Lobster Butter Love


AAFF: 2 tickets to any screening during festival week




Challenge: Create an experimental documentary on the origins of the orange facade at Avalon


Bon Bon Bon


Challenge: Standing in front of the Bon Bon Bon shopfront, create a film using only ONE word of dialogue, said THREE times.

Offer for participating: Free Bon with a purchase of any item, tell the cashier "Film Film Film"


Cherry Republic


Challenge: With Cherry Republic visible behind you, show us where your favorite place in Michigan is using your hand.

Offer for participating: 10% discount and free sample goodie bag, just let the cashier know you’re participating in the AAFF Scavenger Hunt


Encore Records


Challenge: Film a mini music video at Encore Records.

Offer for participating: Free gift with purchase while supplies last


Frita Batidos


Challenge: Film a little salsa dance (or your favorite kind of dance) outside of Frita Batidos and check out their new expanded space!

Offer for participating: Happy hour pricing


Graffiti Alley

Challenge: Leave your mark in Graffiti Alley and capture it on film.



Challenge: Perform a dramatic reading of any of the quotes written on the side of the Literati building

The Michigan Theater


Challenge: With the Michigan Theater marquee in the background, welcome viewers to the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Offer for participating: Popcorn!


People's Food Co-op


Challenge: Strike a yoga pose in the plaza with People's Food Co-op in the background, bonus points if you include some tasty and nutritious produce somehow!

Offer for participating: 10% discount



Challenge: Do a close-up video of what your eyes would look like after three shots of espresso from RoosRoast



Challenge: Pretend to be a tea sommelier and describe the tea with as many tasting notes as possible with TeaHaus visible throughout the "tasting"

Offer for participating: Free 12oz of tea (one coupon per participant-every coupon requires an entry). You can order tea at the pick-up window.


Challenge: Do an impression of your favorite uncle with Tios in the background

Zingerman's Deli


Challenge: From across either Kingsley or Detroit Street, use forced perspective (think Leaning Tower of Pisa tourist photos) to make it look as though you're eating the Zingerman's Deli like it was a delicious Reuben sandwich. You can imagine a Tempeh Reuben if you’re vegetarian.

Offer for participating: 15% discount at Enter code FILMFEST at checkout

In The Screen! Installations viewable from the street


  • U-M Institute For Humanities | For Your Eyes Only by Yasmine Nasser Diaz

  • 111 South 4th Ave. | One Man’s War by Li Binyuan 

  • Ann Arbor Art Center | An Undue Burden by Jex Blackmore

  • Ann Arbor Art Center | The Well by Deb Todd Wheeler


Locations are suggested to help guide your Film Challenge

Do a close-up video or picture of what your eyes would look like after three shots of espresso in front of your favorite coffee shop.


Show us your favorite dance.


Use forced perspective (think Leaning Tower of Pisa tourist photos) to make it look as though you're eating your favorite deli or cafe!


Do a dramatic reading of found writing. It could be graffiti, from a billboard or sign.


Strike a pose in front of your local grocery store


In front of your local theater welcome viewers to the 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival in your language of choice.


Film a mini music video at your local record shop.


Using a sign with your town name visible behind you send greetings from where you are.


Create a film using only ONE word of dialogue.

Shoot a film in black and white

Shoot a film in slow motion

Make a mini stop motion video