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62nd AAFF SCHEDULE

The 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival will take place March 26–31, 2024 (online March 26–April 7). Each program is different. Films are not rated. All programs are intended for mature audiences except for Saturdays Almost All Ages (6+) program. Some films have imagery of a stroboscopic nature.

 

Passes are on sale now, and gain you access to many or all of our programs, depending on the type of pass. Tickets to all individual programs are now available.

WHAT DO ALL THESE PROGRAM TITLES MEAN?

We show a LOT of moving image art during the week of the festival. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate everything we have to offer!

 

  • Films in Competition: short film programs built from films submitted to our festival this year. Short films are all less than 60 minutes (usually less than 20 minutes), and each program will have anywhere from 6-14 films.

  • Features in Competition: programs that either consist of a single feature film (60 minutes or longer), or a feature and a short film that were submitted to the festival this year (if a program includes a paired feature and short, the films may relate to each other, but have not been submitted together by the same filmmaker).

  • Special Programs: specially curated programs of films that have not been submitted for award consideration this year, but instead were curated around a thematic idea by friends and artists of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

  • Off The Screen! (OTS!): new media, video, live performance, and art installations that are either ongoing during festival week or happen at a specific time.

  • Speaker Series: panel discussions, workshops, and presentations by friends and artists of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

TUESDAY

TUESDAY 3/26 OPENING DAY! 

Reception
Off the Screen installations 

North Quad Space 2435 | 4–6pm | free

Grafica Harmolodica
Off the Screen Performance by David Olson

North Quad Space 2435 | 4:30pm | free

Opening Night Party
With drinks and food generously provided by Ann Arbor area businesses

Michigan Theater Grand Foyer | 6:30–8pm | $

Opening Night Party Ticket Prices:

$75 - General Admission

$50 - Seniors / AAFF and MTF Members

$45 - Students

$14 - Online Screening only ($9 Seniors / AAFF Members) ($8 Students)

Opening Night Party included with the purchase of In-Person or Combo Pass

Films in Competition 1
Opening Night Screening

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 8:15pm | $

SPONSOR

U-M Arts Initiative

Projector and Audience Calibration Film 

Steve Wood

Chicago, IL | 2023 | 5 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

When the 16mm format was in wide distribution, there were test films that could be used to calibrate your projector. This composition imagines a test film that includes calibration for the audience, using sounds created by patterns on 16mm film as they pass through the optical sound system. These are edited into musical rhythms and melodies, with every sound accompanied by its pattern on the screen, adjusting the viewer’s brain for the best possible cinematic experience.

 

Intersextion

Richard Roger Reeves

Creston, BC, Canada | 2022 | 4 | digital file

Two abstract energies fall in love, unite as one, then disappear into a vanishing point. Intersextion expresses a symbiotic interplay between two cosmic energies, contrasting the intersection of reality and self expression. A film without words. No camera or musical instrument was used.

 

Welcome to the Enclave

Sarah Lasley

Eureka, CA | 2022 | 12 | DCP

Two Texas sisters fight to rescue their digital utopia, the Enclave, from obscurity. Owner Moni Calvioni’s crowdfunding campaign invites an onslaught of Reddit trolls who unravel the delusion at the heart of the Enclave’s pursuit for a white, suburban ideal, exposing the baggage we bring to online spaces when we don't fix our very real IRL problems.

 

Really Good Friends

Adam Sekuler

Detroit, MI | 2022 | 10 | digital file

In a hotel room, a woman in her sixties shares a surprising and provocative story of longing and unlikely connection.
 

Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War

Leah Loftin

New York, NY | 12 | DCP

A woman in Kherson navigates the horrors and absurdities of daily life during the initial weeks of Putin’s war on Ukraine. An experimental nonfiction film adapted from Olena Astaseva’s personal accounts from the front lines, Dictionary of Emotions in a Time Of War is an expressionistic portrait of the highly personal and nuanced side of war that is rarely represented.

Waterpark

Ross Malo

Dublin, Ireland | 2023 | 4 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

Waterpark is an experimental film that stimulates us to the extents of our perceptions. Its tactile imagery generates hallucinatory colors and contrary momentums.

 

Midnight Rising

Aileen Ye

London, UK | 2023 | 8 | DCP

This world-within-a-world is instantly familiar—filled with ambitions, desires, and yearnings that reflect the joy and resistance of today. Midnight Rising is an intimate portrait of London’s East and Southeast Asian clubbing community, a world in which the allure of raving, fashion, and hyperpop becomes an affirmation of love, acceptance, and joy.

 

This Is a Story Without a Plan

Cassie Shao

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 8 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Two people, and an explosion. This Is a Story Without a Plan envisions two characters witnessing a constant explosion in different fragments of their lives.

Tuesday After Party
Featuring the Jon Hammonds Trio

Knight's | 600 East Liberty Street | 9:30-11:30pm | free

WEDNESDAY

WEDNESDAY 3/27

New Voices, Coffee, Bagels, and Film Jam
Salon

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 10am–12pm | free

Juror Presentation: Deanna Morse
Move-Click-Move
 

State Theatre 1 | 1pm | free in-person ($5 online)

 

SPONSOR

Washtenaw Community College

 

Move-Click-Move is a diverse program of 18 animated and experimental films by Deanna Morse. From Sesame Street to the Odessa Steps to the Everglades and the computer lab, Morse has created at least one film poem each year since college. This work explores materials and techniques, shifting time and space by considering what is between the frames as we celebrate seasons, people, change, and nature. Collaborating with children, musicians, and puppeteers using pioneering computer animation techniques, time-lapse, kinestasis, or simple cutouts, her visual poems are like postcards. A postcard message that says, “Wish you were here,” often sharing common surroundings. Move, click, move.

 

How Animation Works: Move-Click-Move

Deanna Morse

Grand Rapids, MI | 2001 | 2 | digital

The introductory signature video for the award-winning retrospective DVD Move-Click-Move, published in 2001. An interactive journey through the artist’s cluttered desktop.

 

Help! I’m Stranded…

Deanna Morse

Spartanburg, SC | 1981 | 5 | digital

Help! I’m stranded… in a Spartanburg motel room with: 1. a broken TV, 2. some note cards, and 3. a red crayon. It’s a true story. A rubbing film, a sound-image guessing game.

 

Container Loss

Deanna Morse & Jane Flint

San Francisco, CA | 2022 | 3 | digital

Climate crisis, gyres, garbage patches, natural phenomena, human response, hope, loss, optimism, equanimity, integrity, awareness, and responsibility. Reminders. Cutout animation and time lapse. Animated with Jane Flint. Music by Chris Gagnon.

 

Sandpaintings

Deanna Morse & Jane DeKoven

Palo Alto, CA / Chicago, IL / Grand Rapids, MI | 1992 | 8 | digital

Two Navajo-inspired figures explore symbols and their meaning. Piano music by VR inventor and philosopher Jaron Lanier. A pioneering film using VPL DataGlove motion tracking to animate the sign language hand. Art is not to be feared.

 

The Gift 

Deanna Morse 

Grants Pass, OR |  2019 | 2 | digital

Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, and his poem “To a Certain Cantatrice.” This multigenerational female family reading honors Whitman’s point that basic needs belong to everyone. Food, nature, creative expression, art. Yes, they belong to everyone. Original music by Edie Herrold. 

 

A Mother’s Advice

Deanna Morse 

Lake Forest, IL / Grand Rapids, MI |  2000 | 8 | digital

Body images and a rite of passage. Based on a story by Beth Isacke, inspired by her hair. Created during an artist residency at Ragdale Artists Colony, Illinois. Sound design by Edie Herrold.

 

Skin 

Deanna Morse 

Everglades National Park, FL | 2012 | 5 | digital

Thick skinned, thin skinned. The first line of defense. A surface archive. Created as an artist-in-residence at the Everglades National Park, Florida. Trees. Many trees. Mosquitos, too. Sound design by Edie Herrold.

 

Breathing Room 

Deanna Morse

El Mojacar, Spain | 2009 | 4 | digital

Examining nature through the lens of time. Light sweeps languidly across the tiles in a room. Outside, the flowers erupt in a riot of color. Created at Fundacion Valparaiso, an artist colony in Mojacar, Spain. Music by Edie Herrold.

 

Whispers of the Prairie

Deanna Morse 

Grand Rapids, MI | 2013 | 4 | digital

The first American Iawn: prairie. Back to our roots, to the medley of native flowers that thrive in our forests and our sustainably landscaped lawns. In contrast, manicured green unsustainable turf grass. Music by Edie Herrold.

 

August Afternoons

Deanna Morse

Charleston, SC | 1985 | 5 | digital

Sunlight and shadows whisk through time. Optically printed from Super 8 footage. Charleston, SC, with Randy Buggs and Ray Harvey.

 

Lost Ground 

Deanna Morse 

Chicago, IL / Grand Rapids, MI | 1992 | 3 | digital

A modern love story. Michigan to Chicago by train in 1992, early 3D animation. 

 

Plants 

Deanna Morse 

Oakville, ON, Canada | 1989 | 4 | digital

A lifelong obsession revealed. Created with NeoVisuals Software at Sheridan College, using clunky code (keypad entry—before menus, trackpads, and the mouse). Plants can’t walk. Plants don’t talk. Plants can’t see. Plants don’t have legs. Music by Jim Barfuss with Chloe Willey.

 

Monkey’s T-shirt

Deanna Morse & Rose Rosely 

Grand Rapids, MI | 1991 | 2 | digital

Animated short for Sesame Street. An embedded figures puzzle, animated by Deanna Morse and Rose Rosely. Sound by Billy Vits. Look! The animals are hiding! Can you find them?

 

Night Sounds: Imagination 

Deanna Morse & Rose Rosely 

Chicago, IL / Grand Rapids, MI | 1992 | 1 | digital

Animation for Sesame Street. A little girl is so scared by the night sounds, and she is not the only one! Animation by Deanna Morse and Rose Rosely, with sound by Billy Vits.

 

Dejeunez, Mon Amour

Deanna Morse & Mark Henriksen 

Ames, IA | 1970 | 3 | digital

Close-up vision of American consumption. Before tattoos were all the rage, filmmakers Mark Henriksen and Deanna Morse had a vision. And some food. And some stock music. One of my earliest films, student-produced at Iowa State University.

 

Forced Perspective: Odessa 

Deanna Morse 

Russia / Ukraine / Grand Rapids, MI | 2007 | 5 | digital

My visit to the real steps at Odessa was affected by the Odessa Steps sequence from Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Media images have power. They shape our real-life experiences. 

 

Postcards from My Backyard 

Deanna Morse 

Grand Rapids, MI | 2007 | 5 | digital

An exploration of a single space over two years’ time—the seasons of Michigan. Incorporating time-lapse footage, motion graphics, and my own musical soundscape, this video poem considers growth, decay, and transformation. 

 

Charleston Home Movie 

Deanna Morse 

Charleston, SC | 1980 | 5 | digital

Memories and images of Charleston, South Carolina. Rotoscope animation of significant friends and moments. Film is represented in several collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Music by Keith Jarrett, used with permission. 

Screening Groups Roundtable
Salon

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 3–4:30pm | free

Visions from Colorado 
Special Program

State Theatre 1 | 5pm | $

SPONSOR

U-M Film Television and Media Department

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Mothlight Microcinema

DONOR

Ruth Bardenstein & Jim Roll

 

Visions from Colorado

Curated by Erin Espelie and Jennifer Peterson

The intensity and quality of light in Colorado led visionary artist Stan Brakhage to experiment over several decades with film, editing, and evocation of place, from high in the mountains down to the plains. In turn, other Colorado-linked filmmakers—friends, colleagues, mentees, admirers, examiners—entered the same conversation with light and vision. They have found singular entry points into landscapes and interior microscapes, where boundaries erode between matter and spirit, glacier and seawater, poetry and prose, surface and the subcellular. Ten films, all touching the Rocky Mountain backbone, talk to one another across the stones and meltwater, as they track the ripples across layers of time.

 

Song 27, Part 1: My Mountain

Stan Brakhage

Lump Gulch, CO | 1968 | 18 |16mm

With an elevation surpassing 13,000 feet, Arapaho Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado served as a compass point for Stan Brakhage, who filmed the summit in all seasons over the span of two years.

 

Jane Brakhage

Barbara Hammer

Lump Gulch, CO | 1974 | 10 | 16mm

For her graduate project, Barbara Hammer looked to the ways Jane Brakhage was awake to the wildlife around her, from trees to seedpods to canines, tangibly distinct from cinematic theory or exclusively cerebral ideas.

 

The Girl’s Nervy

Jennifer Reeves

New York, NY | 1995 | 5 | 16mm

In an ecstatic extension of the topography of the film emulsion, Jennifer Reeves carries the image to new heights and down darker chasms of mountainous terrain.

 

Night Hikes—Ethereal Shore

Christin Turner

Berlin, Germany | 2022 | 5 | HD file

Working with performance artist Leonor Beutler, Christin Turner (who received her MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder) wades into the shamanistic rituals that coincide with our understanding of time as expressed in the natural world.

 

Dark Enough

Jeanne Liotta

New York, NY | 2011 | 7 | HD file

In a text collaboration with poet Lisa Gill, Jeanne Liotta parses the difference between text-as-image and text-as-text, as well as the variables of machine-made sound with elemental vibrations.

 

Corn Mother

Taylor Dunne

Franklin, NY/ Boulder, CO | 2012 | 5 | 16mm

Borrowing from the Wabanaki creation myth of the first woman, also known as the Corn and Tobacco Mother, Dunne captures her mother’s last visit outside her home to her garden.

 

Phantom Canyon

Stacey Steers

Boulder, CO | 2006 | 10 | HD file

Growing up on the mesas near Golden, Colorado, Stacey Steers has long looked to the natural world for imagery to dissect frame by frame. In Phantom Canyon she explores memories of a journey through the past, from the past.

 

The Sea Seeks Its Own Level

Erin Espelie

Boulder, CO  | 2013 | 5 | 16mm

“They are coming, waves, white-maned seahorses, wind brindled… music everywhere. No, that's noise… The earth convulses in all its glory.” In a distillation of references to the sea in James Joyce's Ulysses, Erin Espelie travels from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The material effects of an aging Super 8 camera act in concert with the vocals of Marika Borgeson. 

 

Tattva

Kalpana Subramanian

Buffalo, NY | 2018 | 5 | HD file

In 2015 Kalpana Subramanian earned a Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship to conduct research in Colorado, where she began making autoethnographic films that inquire into the material nature of our being. Her title, Tattva in Sanskrit, means “thatness”—the material manifestation of all matter and organic life.

 

How a Sprig of Fir Would Replace a Feather

Anna Kipervaser

Durham, NC  | 2019 | 8 | 16mm

Nomadic in her search for domiciles, Anna Kipervaser lived near Jamestown, Colorado, drawn by the quality of light in the canyons. Here she presses the landscape of animal bodies in the river of shadows of the filmstrip. 

 

Erin Espelie is a filmmaker and an associate professor in the Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is co-editor of Deep Horizons: A Multisensory Archive of Ecological Affects and Prospects (Amherst College Press, 2023). 

 

Jennifer Peterson is a professor in the Media Studies program at Woodbury University. She is the author of Education in the School of Dreams: Travelogues and Early Nonfiction Film (Duke University Press, 2013).

Mum 
Feature in Competition 
presented with Short in Competition Falling

State Theatre 2 | 5:30pm | $

 

SPONSOR

a2Tech360

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Copernicus Center for Polish Studies

DONOR

Birkhill Family Foundation

 

Falling

Anna Gyimesi

Budapest, Hungary | 2023 | 16 | DCP

North American Premiere

To get on with her life, Els, a mother in her forties, has to accept her adult daughter’s decision to ask for psychiatric euthanasia.

 

Mum

Joesef Ouarrak

Warsaw & Mazowieckie, Poland | 2023 | 70 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

After seven years, Donata finally returns to her daughter Anna’s cabin house, but the reunion turns sour when her daughter Iza is distant. Donata’s already fragile state is pushed to the brink when she experiences blackouts and panic attacks, only for Iza to vanish into thin air. As the search for Iza intensifies, Anna accuses Donata of being responsible, triggering a chain of events that will uncover a web of hidden family secrets.

What Are Words For?
Special Program

State Theatre 1 | 7pm | $

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Department of English Language and Literature

COMMUNITY PARTNER

AMP!

DONOR

Deborah Bayer & Jonathan Tyman

 

What Are Words For?

Curated by Darrin Martin

 

What Are Words For? considers ways in which an array of artists, most of whom identify in some way as disabled and/or D/deaf, redefine the tropes of accessible media accommodations. By activating unexpected usages of open captions and/or audio description, these works transcend notions of disability access as an afterthought by building worlds beyond the scope of translation. Narrative, performance, communication, misinterpretation, and play are unexpectedly nuanced and call upon the potential of language and text to bridge intersubjective experiences. In the work of Christine Sun Kim and Liza Sylvestre, captions are transgressed through poetic reinterpretations of their conventional purpose. In Charles de Augustin’s film, layered audio description and open captions create rich modes of storytelling, while in her film Alison O’Daniel adds another layer to the two by including American Sign Language (ASL) to complicate narrative devices. Louise Hickman and Shannon Finnegan’s collaborative endeavor makes transparent the work and human relationships behind live captioning over the ubiquitous technologies of Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), Zoom, and screen-sharing. Finally, Malic Amalya and Darrin Martin use very different methods to restage or reimagine past film works, whether they be iconic underground gems or educational films, through both staged and improvised modalities. 

 

Captioning on Captioning

Louise Hickman & Shannon Finnegan

London, UK | 2020 | 7 | ProRes HD 

In Captioning on Captioning, Louise Hickman and Shannon Finnegan, in collaboration with a real-time writer named Jennifer, unveil invisible labor and care required in speech-to-text translation work and producing access.

 

Mission Drift

Charles de Augustin

Brooklyn, NY | 2023 | 13 | ProRes HD

Mission Drift follows a nonprofit art gallery worker who tries to stay afloat when a horny, sadomasochistic philanthropist infiltrates the organization. Through this story of subjugation, the film links insufficiencies across commercial, nonprofit, state, academic, and DIY institutions to the broader American disdain for public services.

 

Song for Rent, After Jack Smith

Malic Amalya 

USA | 2019 | 7 | 16mm

With Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” looped in the background, experimental filmmaker Jack Smith starred as Rose Courtyard—a drag character based on Rose Kennedy—in his 1969 film Song for Rent. In this adaptation, Barbarella Bush joins Rose in a campy exploration of the tensions between queer assimilation and denunciation of US nationalism. 

 

[Closer Captions]

Christine Sun Kim

Berlin, Germany | 2020 | 8 | ProRes HD

Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim thinks about closed captions a lot. And she lets us in on a not-so-well-kept secret: they suck. Christine shows us what closed captions could be, in a new story featuring original footage she captured and captioned herself.

 

The Tuba Thieves—Scene 61: The Kaleidoscopic Window

Alison O’Daniel

Los Angeles, CA | 2018 | 6 | ProRes HD 

Deaf artist Christine Sun Kim signs the story of Nyke, the main character of The Tuba Thieves, skinny-dipping with her boyfriend, Nature Boy. Three narrative versions are encountered: the written screenplay in yellow, ASL, and a voiceover by hearing composer Steve Roden, captioned in blue, reciting a translation of the ASL into directly translated (but not interpreted) English.

 

Clouds and Perception

Darrin Martin

Irvine & San Francisco, CA | 2012 | 14 | ProRes HD

Produced at a residency investigating the potentials of building accessibility into artwork at their very inception, where the residents themselves are tethered together by a 16mm natural science film. Two cameras pan the length of it as the subjects describe the sections they are holding. A moving greenscreen fabric frames them, haphazardly keyed with the film in question.

 

Captioned: Channel Surfing 

Liza Sylvestre

Champaign, IL | 2017 | 12 | ProRes SD 

When films fail to include access methods such as captions, I do not have full access to them, so I add my own captioned interpretations. My captions shift from visual observations, plot assumptions, and the thoughts that cross my mind as it wanders due to the boredom and strain of the event.

 

Darrin Martin is an artist who works with video, sound, sculpture, and installations that engage the synesthetic qualities of perception. Concerned with the process of translation as mediated through both obsolete and novel technologies and influenced by his own experiences with hearing loss, his projects consider the use of tactility, sonic analogies, captions, and audio descriptions. Martin occasionally curates exhibitions and screenings and is a professor and the chair of Art Studio at the University California, Davis.

Expanded Cinema Performances
Special Program

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 7:30pm | $

SPONSOR

The U-M James and Anne Duderstadt Center

COMMUNITY PARTNER

iFFY

 

Music In the Air 

Scott Stark

San Francisco, CA | 2023 | 15 | two 16mm projectors with spinning shutter mechanism 

 

In a live double-16mm projector performance, Scott Stark feeds gorgeous Kodachrome found footage from a 1950s promo doc about a fabled teen music camp near Stockton, CA, into his propeller-driven system to generate a transformative visual spectacle. Using two reels of film, the on-screen image alternates between the left and right projectors, transposing objects onto bodies, landscapes onto buildings, sidewalks onto swimming pools, and subtle musical movements onto frenetic explosions of color.

 

Scott Stark has made over 85 films and videos, as well as numerous moving image installations, live performances, and photo-collages. His work has shown nationally and internationally in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Cinematheque, International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Tokyo Image Forum, and many others. 

 

Lass That Has Gone 

Laura Conway

Denver, CO | 2023 | 20 | performance with sound and image

 

A desktop performance about failed film projects and the relational quicksand I have created for myself doing this thing called cinema. I dig through forgotten hard drives to uncover the place where poor file management meets stunted emotional maturity. Come for the oversharing, stay for the live score by Denver’s favorite Fourth World duo, Fragrant Blossom.

 

Laura Conway is a filmmaker, DJ, and performance artist based in Denver, Colorado. Laura’s politically grounded films flirt with nonfiction, erotica, absurdity, and performance to grapple with the complexities of life in late capitalism. Her films have screened at Slamdance, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Antimatter Media Arts Festival, Lucca Film Festival, and Chicago Underground Film Festival, among others. She currently teaches filmmaking at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts.

 

kino lau: many bodies 

Rachel Makana’aloha O Kauikeolani Nakawatase, Ryan Betschart, Melissa Ferrari

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 20 | live music and magic lantern performance

 

kino lau: many bodies is a performance of live music and projections that aims to bridge the ancient and the contemporary, the tangible and the ethereal, creating a multisensory journey that resonates with diverse and modern audiences. This immersive experience is a harmonious convergence of two distinct artistic forms: magic lantern projections and ambient drone metal merged with traditional Hawaiian chants.

 

Rachel Makana’aloha O Kauikeolani Nakawatase is an Indigenous filmmaker and musician from Los Angeles. Her work has screened at Chicago Underground Film Festival, Indie Memphis Film Festival, Moviate Underground Film Festival, Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, and others.

 

Ryan Betschart is an Ashkenazi artist and programmer from Los Angeles whose films have screened and been awarded at Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Indie Memphis, Slamdance, and others.

Anqa
Feature in Competition
Presented with Short in Competition A Dreaming Angel

State Theatre 1 | 9pm | $

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies

COMMUNITY PARTNER

What the F Magazine

DONOR

Constance Crump & Jay Simrod

 

A Dreaming Angel

Phoebe Gloeckner & Aliyah Mitchell

Ann Arbor, MI | 2024 | 20 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

A cartoonist’s fever dream digs in on her relationship and memories with the Chavez Caldera family of Colonia Anapra, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, through an archive of media spanning over ten years.

 

Anqa

Helin Çelik

Vienna, Austria | 2023 | 91 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Anqa is an intimate portrait of three women who decide to stand up and speak out, who declare that they exist despite the threat of death. It is an exploration of a woman’s inner life and, in its most extreme, of the painful traces memory carries when the outer world is at an impasse. Although the film places emphasis on the inner conflicts of the women, the socio-political climate of the era they live in is also tangible. The narration subtly ties together the crisis of thought in confrontation with misogyny and systemic, patriarchal violence, revealing the inextricability of political and social life from the life of the individual.

Films in Competition 2

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 9:30pm | $

SPONSOR

College for Creative Studies

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Department of Middle Eastern Studies

COMMUNITY PARTNER

MEMCO

DONOR

Martha Darling & Gil Omenn

 

From Our Side

Simone Massi

Pergola, Italy | 2022 | 5 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

History flows, the darkness wets our clothes.

 

I’m Outside

Nina Alexandraki & Eleftherios Panagiotou

Brussels, Belgium | 2023 | 49 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Confined in a small room on the eighth floor of a half-abandoned building, Jamal searches for the words that would solve the labyrinth of life and existence. The voices of his North African friends, imprisoned in detention centers, come from the mountains around the metropolis of Athens.

 

I Can Feel It Coming

Karin Fisslthaler

Vienna, Austria | 2022 | 8 | DCP

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

Air is visible only in the things that it moves: wafting curtains, billowing meadows, swaying trees. Supported by Susanna Gartmayer’s bass clarinet compositions, Karin Fisslthaler composes an abstract experience from dynamic images that make the wind visible, audible, and perceptible in its essence—as a warm wave, as swirling chaos, as an icy, whistling storm. 

 

After Bed

TT Takemoto

Daly City, CA | 2023 | 3 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

Pulsing flashbacks from the Summer of Love reawaken a queer California classic.

 

Immortals

Mark Durand

Gaspé, QC, Canada | 2023 | 5 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Immortals is an experimental documentary short film shot in 8mm that explores the introspection of an artist, Bettina Szabo. The film delves into her relationship with her sense of belonging, her body, her imagination, and nature. Sometimes one must lose oneself to find oneself better, and burn everything down to start anew on a solid foundation.

 

Survived from Illusions

Qi Zhuang

London, UK | 2023 | 5 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Accompanied by rhythmic music and traditional Chinese opera singing, this work describes a state of mind that struggles with the world of dualism. Like all dualisms, “hope” corresponds to “despair,” or “hopelessness,” and the appearance of hope must be accompanied by a chaotic, complex journey. The feeling of hope is like looking for a glass of water in a desert or a sea of fire, which may be an illusion, or the sea of fire is an illusion, or both.

 

de-composition

Laura Kraning

Buffalo, NY | 2023 | 3 | digital file

A textural macro collage of a rust belt landscape—scratched, splattered, dripping, cracking, and bursting to the surface. Photographed and meticulously edited over one year in Buffalo, NY, the reverberant tones of the New York Central rail line provide the rhythmic pulse to a rapid cascade of multihued material decay and metallic de-composition.

Wednesday After Party
Tíos

401 East Liberty Street | 10:30pm-1am | free

THURSDAY

THURSDAY 3/28

Coffee & Bagels: Meet the artists of Dope Women in Media and Detroit Narrative Agency
Salon

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 10–11:30am | free

Juror Presentation: Su Friedrich
She, Her, Hers

State Theatre 1 | 1pm | free in-person ($5 online)

SPONSOR

U-M North Quad Programming

 

She, Her, Hers 

Su Friedrich

 

This program comprises one film by Su Friedrich and four others by women who have informed her filmmaking, though not necessarily directly. These films deal with aesthetic and technical concerns which are somewhat or sometimes different than her own. But each shares a fierce spirit that inspired Friedrich when she first saw them, and the inspiration continues to today. Whether using analog video to create otherworldly worlds, putting a little girl through some strange paces, “rewriting” a video game, or sharing playful moments with some young women, these films are admired by Friedrich because they are made from the hearts, minds, eyes, and bodies of some very observant, thoughtful, clever, and playful women.

 

Hand Tinting

Joyce Wieland

New York, NY | 1967 | 6 | digital

A study of poor Black and white girls at a Job Corps center, brought from rural areas to be “educated” in typing. Here you see displaced creatures… swimming, sitting, and mostly dancing, who express what’s happening to themselves through their bodies, their hands, and their faces.

 

The Drift of Juicy

Ursula Pürrer

Vienna, Austria | 1989 | 10 | digital

The Drift of Juicy looks like it was made with high-tech digital effects—but Pürrer made it in 1989 with analog video. It was unique then and is literally inimitable today. Whether it takes place in outer or inner space, is dystopian or utopian, is for you to decide.

 

Jennifer, Where Are You?

Leslie Thornton

New York, NY | 1981 | 11 | digital

In Jennifer, Where Are You? a girl sloppily applies lipstick while an unseen man repeatedly calls out her name. Her image is intercut with black leader, bursts of light, and meditative shots of domestic spaces. With “Jennifer” hiding in plain sight, Thornton presents a carefully structured comment on the formation of female identity.

 

She Puppet

Peggy Ahwesh 

New York, NY | 2001 | 15 | digital

Re-editing footage collected from months of playing Tomb Raider, Ahwesh transforms the video game into a reflection on identity and mortality. Moving beyond her implicit feminist critique of the problematic female identity, she enlarges the dilemma of Lara Croft’s entrapment to that of the individual in an increasingly artificial world. Courtesy of Peggy Ahwesh and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

 

Seeing Red 

Su Friedrich 

New York, NY | 2005 | 28 | digital

In Seeing Red, three elements run parallel, overlap, diverge, lock horns, and in various other ways give voice to the notion that a color, a melody, or a person has multiple characteristics that cannot be grasped by, or understood within, a simple framework.

Dope Women in Media: Honoring the Women of Film in Metro Detroit
Reception and Panel

Ann Arbor Art Center | 3–5pm

BIO_DOT_BOT: Lynn Hershman Leeson Shorts 
Presented by Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 5:30pm | free

 

BIO_DOT_BOT: Lynn Hershman Leeson Shorts 

Curated by Julia Yezbick

 

As part of the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival, this special program will showcase a curated selection of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s short films, followed by a conversation. Filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson will join remotely, and curator Julia Yezbick will interview her from the Michigan Theater’s stage.

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s work cannot be contained by any one medium. Her practice is voracious; consuming both traditional artistic media (installation, painting, and video) as well as interactive LaserDiscs and synthetic DNA. Responding to the social and scientific technologies of the day, Hershman Leeson’s work anticipates the quandaries into which we will be collectively thrown. Her performance piece as Roberta Breitmore (1973) underscored the gendered contours of personhood as defined by the state, laying bare the ways in which we reproduce ourselves as ephemeral simulacra according to these superstructures. She was working with chatbots (Agent Ruby, 1998 – 2002) downloadable to a Palm Pilot decades before chatGPT had broken into public consciousness, questioning the role that artificial intelligences will play in our lives. This program of her short film and video works highlights her long-held fascination with reality, selfhood, and technological reproduction, prompting us to question whether it is at all possible to disambiguate ourselves from our tech-saturated worlds. Her short films shown here distill the impetus of her decades-long work: a quest for freedom from the many constraints imposed on us by society and the potentialities as well as the pitfalls presented by the ongoing technological augmentation of our lives. 

 

Commercial for Myself

Lynn Hershman Leeson 

1978 | 2 | video

In this short ​“portrait” of the artist, Leeson directly addresses the camera and begins to ask the audience the questions that she is still asking today: what is it really, that makes us human?

 

Seduction of a Cyborg

Lynn Hershman Leeson 

1994 | 7 | video

Before social media, Leeson questions the logical end to our media-saturated lives. A cyborg is seduced by images and sounds of the world. Her addiction to the simulacra degrades her body as she helplessly witnesses the tragedies of history ultimately submitting to an existence solely within the cage of mediated reality.

 

Logic Paralyzes the Heart 

Lynn Hershman Leeson

2021 | 14 | digital video

The first Cyborg, forged in war, now 60 years old, reflects on her life and her complicities with human tragedies. She wonders about the possibility of breaking free from her own programming and the human+cyborg liberation that might be possible with different directives.

 

Lynn Turning into Roberta 

Lynn Hershman Leeson 

1978 | 6 | 16mm

In this documentation of the artist transforming into Roberta Breitmore, a persona of her performance art in the 1970s, we hear the camera operator commenting offscreen on the framing and giving voice to the technological encapsulation of Brietmore’s becoming. Roberta Brietmore became the platform that fed into much of Leeson’s work on identity and the many extensions of our personhood beyond the reach of our bodies. 

 

Test Patterns 

Lynn Hershman Leeson

1979 | 10 | digital video

An intervention of ​“aesthetic emergency,” this parody of a television talk show interviews ​“test patterns” about their life and images as a televisual device. The test patterns answer with psychopathic numbness, unveiling the narcissism within and warning that our media is only, and can only ever be, a mirror of all of humanity’s triumphs and flaws. 

Cyborgian Rhapsody—Immortality

Lynn Hershman Leeson

2023 | 12 | digital video

FILM IN COMPETITION

Part four of the Cyborg installation series, this piece was written and narrated by Sarah, a ChatGPT‑3 chatbot. Sarah predicts human’s ability to survive if only they can get past their biggest obstacles: hatred and discrimination, but she cries at the thought that she was not programmed to love.

 

Julia Yezbick is a filmmaker, artist, programmer, and anthropologist. She received her PhD in Media Anthropology and Critical Media Practice from Harvard University. Her audio and video works have been exhibited at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the New York Library for Performing Arts, Station Arts Space (Beirut), the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Broad Underground Film series (Lansing), the AgX Film Collective, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit. Yezbick’s works of experimental nonfiction are grounded in feminist responses to social issues such as housing and urban transformations as well as commentaries on gendered labor, identity, and movement and the body. She is a 2018 Kresge Artist Fellow for film, the founding Editor of Sensate: a journal for experiments in critical media practice, and co-directs Mothlight Microcinema in Detroit. Yezbick is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Black Infinitude
Special Program

State Theatre 1 | 7pm | $

SPONSOR

Edge Hill University

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Museum of Art

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Ann Arbor Art Center

 

Black Infinitude—Aldo Tambellini Retrospective
Curated and introduced by M. Woods

 

Warning: These films may contain content that is not recommended for those with photosensitivity or epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

In November 2020, we lost one of the most influential multi-disciplinary artists of the last century—Aldo Tambellini. Tambellini’s avant-garde work and insistence on new media led him to be considered a pioneer in the field of experimental film and video. The retrospective screening Black Infinitude and the accompanying installation offer a compendium of some of Tambellini’s most important works while orienting his practice around the poetry, sculpture, performance, and multidisciplinary, time-based experiences he proposed as means for discovering both the universal and sociopolitical contexts of Blackness in his work.

 

Tambellini did not enter filmmaking through the camera. He approached the medium as a sculptural object and an extension of the poetic with which he could experiment in time. One cannot remove Tambellini from the context of his war-torn childhood in Italy or the radical political activities in which he was involved through his work at New York City’s Gate Theatre, with the Umbra Collective, with Ben Morea, and others. His sculptures are like the negative cast of a cratered world—they are often concave half-spheres of brutal remnants. While the sculptural works hold a sort of psychogeography transferred by Tambellini through his experiences of WWII, his cinematic works simulate the “hot” hyperspeed of chaotic time-space. These works belong in relation to Tambellini’s concept of “the centrifuge,” an art experience in which all various elements act as subatomic particles. This exploration of negative and positive cosmic space must be seen as a response to the hyperstimulation brought about by witnessing and experiencing incendiary, bombastic, and violently abject sociopolitical traumas. 

 

Tambellini’s first explorations in cinematic space involved slide film as a canvas. Through performative interventions, he began altering the speed of the slide projector, eventually using analog motion picture and projectors. Tambellini, through film and video, quickly began creating expanded cinema before it was ever named. Through this screening, we will present Tambellini’s body of essential cinematic work within the context of his multidisciplinary approach and his persistent search for new media.

 

Be sure to see Hydrocal with found objects of metal, an original Aldo Tambellini sculpture, of which few remain, now on view in the State Theatre lobby for the duration of the 62nd AAFF. Tambellini’s sculpture is a half-spherical concrete representation of the war-torn soul. It holds the artifacts of the most brutal mechanized trauma. Sculptural practice guided Tambellini’s pioneering experimentation with analog video and electronic media. This rare display of his sculpture is accompanied by a VR experience that includes his moving image works Black Video 2 and The Cathodic Works Volume 1, as well as a VR interview with the artist conducted by his mentee M. Woods. Sculpture and moving image works provided by the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation.


The Screw
Aldo Tambellini
New York, NY | 1963 | 5 | digital
Provided by the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

We begin with video documentation of Tambellini’s 1963 performance art piece, The Screw, a biting satire aimed at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum who agreed to accept a new sculpture created by Tambellini in 1963. It’s a perfect example of Tambellini’s wit and contempt for systems of power and capital. In true Aldo fashion, he assembled a group of local teenagers who wanted to learn how to perform as a barber shop quartet. He wrote a song for them to perform, split the commission, and created a public spectacle presenting both museums with The Screw—a literal “screw you” to the nihilistic institutions Tambellini called out for violating the ethics of artistic citizenship through their promotion of commercialized, mainstream, docile, and apolitical art work. Tambellini’s performance incorporates the poetic, the spectacle, the musical, the satirical, and the sculptural.

Black Is
Aldo Tambellini
New York, NY | 1965 | 4 | 16mm
Provided by the Harvard Film Archive and the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

 

Tambellini at first used 35mm slides as a means of projecting handprinted abstract images onto larger spaces, using a carousel projector to control timing. However, due to the limitations of this technique, he sought an alternative method for exploring time. The result, Black Is, uses a camera-less technique on 16mm film. The hand-painted surface of the analog film allowed Tambellini to expand his painterly practice of representing the unfolding cosmic geometries of the circle and the spiral through the extremes of black and white, using ink. The quick mechanization of the projector and the resistance to/breaking of the frame create a percolating rhythm and an esoteric landscape, an expanse that both simulates the speed of memorialized, collective trauma and the extremes of cosmic (and glorious) chaos.

 

Black Trip #1
Aldo Tambellini
New York, NY | 1965 | 5 | 16mm
Provided by the Harvard Film Archive and the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

Black Trip #1 expands upon the painted language of Black Is, now positing the film experience as similar to the sensorial destination of a hallucinatory zone. We see here the beginnings of Tambellini’s theories on multi-disciplinary media environments.

 

Black Out
Aldo Tambellini
New York, NY | 1965 | 9 | 16mm
Provided by the Harvard Film Archive and the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

In Black Out, Tambellini’s symbolic exploration directly on film reaches its chaotic heights as the painted circle and his iconic spiral intermingle with lattices, light leaks, and concentric circle patterns. Black Out is notable for its soundtrack, calling upon the violence of the political now inside of a cosmic hereafter.

 

M. Woods

Lecture | 10 min

M. Woods discusses Aldo Tambellini’s early works and films, and ties his artistic practice to his notes on installation design and innovations in proto-virtual reality. He also discusses Tambellini’s history of radical political art practices. M. Woods was provided with full access to Tambellini’s notes and archives, where Tambellini’s ideas about “media centrifuge” as an art installation were discovered.

 

Black Trip #2 

Aldo Tambellini 

New York, NY | 1967 | 3 | 16mm 

One of Tambellini’s first forays into representational imagery in cinema. Black Trip #2 is a nail bomb of a movie. A fitting companion to Black Plus X and Black TV.  

 

Black Plus X

Aldo Tambellini

New York, NY | 1966 | 9 | 16mm 

Provided by the Harvard Film Archives and the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation 

 

Black Plus X speaks from a place of deep-felt sincerity, inner reflection, and exploration. It reflects what it is to be a loving accomplice in the struggle for civil rights and universal human decency. It captures real events without a clear referent in static space, creating one of the most beguiling cinematographic experiments of in-camera multiple exposure.

 

Listen 

Aldo Tambellini

Cambridge, MA | 2007 | 15 | digital

Provided by the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

 

Spending years working at MIT after having left the NYC art scene of the 1960s, Tambellini, like many artists, experienced a time of less prolific output. However, his association with Anna Salamone, his second wife, led to their collaboration on Listen, a politically militant anti-Bush attack on the illegal wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Tambellini used the low fidelity of digital media, interspersed with long frames of black, to respond poetically to the atrocities once again committed by the US military industrial complex. Winner of the Syracuse International Film Festival. 

 

Black Video 3

Aldo Tambellini 

Cambridge, MA | 1981 | 24 | digital

Provided by the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

WORLD PREMIERE 

This work was recently discovered and will have its world premiere at AAFF. A free-wheeling, long-form trance as Tambellini distorts the imagery from a cathode ray television, recording the results. M. Woods accompanies the film with a live soundtrack performance.

 

Black TV

Aldo Tambellini 

New York, NY | 1969 | 10 | 16mm

Provided by the Harvard Film Archives and the Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

 

Black TV is Aldo Tambellini’s most famous work: a dual projection sensorial hell, waves of terror over the repetitive death proclamation of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Despite the contemporary political context, Black TV is a mirror into the depths of the void that is universally familiar. This program ends with Black TV to commemorate the 50 years since Tambellini won an honorable mention at the 1969 Ann Arbor Film Festival. Winner of the 1969 Oberhausen Film Festival. 

 

M. Woods is a Latinx-American media artist working in avant-garde film, video art, photography, collage, sound design, performance, curation, installation, music composition, and immersive media.

Films in Competition 3: Out Night
 

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 7:30pm | $

SPONSOR

Adams Street Publishing

COMMUNITY PARTNER

U-M Spectrum Center

 

The Sketch

Tomas Cali

Paris, France | 2023 | 9 | DCP

I learn to speak French and by doing so, to sculpt my reality. In an artist’s studio in Paris, I meet Linda Demorrir, a living model. Like me, she is transgender and an immigrant. When she speaks, moves, sees the world, I am fascinated. As I draft her outlines, it is myself also that I learn to draw in this new country.

 

Ele of the Dark

Yace Sula

Philadelphia, PA | 2022 | 13 | DCP

A nonbinary visual artist contemplates their relationship with darkness and its hold on their complexion, trauma, and queerness.

 

Dildotectonics

Tomás Paula Marques

Lisbon, Portugal | 2023 | 15 | DCP

In the present day, Rebeca attempts to create a collection of non-phallic ceramic dildos. During the Inquisition, Josefa finds a dildo that is used in their forbidden love relationship with Maria. Although in different timelines, the paths of Rebeca and Josefa end up crossing each other.

 

Mast-del

Maryam Tafakory

London, UK | 2023 | 17 | DCP

Two women lie together in bed. As the wind bashes against the window, one recalls a past date to the cinema. A love song that would never pass through the censors, Mast-del is about forbidden bodies and desires, both inside and outside post-revolution Iranian cinema.

 

Remember, Broken Crayons Colour Too

Ursa Kastelic & Shannet Clemmings

Zürich, Switzerland | 2023 | 14 | DCP

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

Shannet’s voice echoes in the darkness. She is lost. The night scenery of a modern city opens up. She remembers it was a sunny summer day. As she wanders the empty streets, memories begin to haunt her. The cold concrete and a threatening stream of thoughts pull Shannet into an endless tunnel. Trapped in the horrifying reminiscences, she hears the noise transform into music. She is playing the violin; she is alive. It is a sunny summer day. Shannet finds herself in front of a motionless carousel, waiting. She smiles as her friends join her. Together with them, Shannet stands still in silence.

 

Bolero

Nans Laborde-Jourdàa

Paris, France, | 2023 | 17 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Fran is in his hometown to rest and visit his mother. Following the jerky rhythm of Ravel’s Bolero, this journey along the paths of memory and desire will lead him and the whole village to a joyfully chaotic climax.

Playland 
Feature in Competition 
Presented with Short in Competition Beware

State Theatre 1 | 9pm | $

SPONSOR

Ann Arbor Distilling Company

DONOR

Gina Kamentsky

 

Beware

Wrik Mead

Toronto, ON, Canada | 2023 | 3 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

Beware takes sound bites from the 1961 anti-homosexual propaganda film Boys Beware and flips it on its head. The hacked-up narration serves as the voice-over to a barrage of glitched intimacies, making the homosexual monster more fun than frightening.

 

Playland

Georden West

Boston, MA  / Greenwood Village, CO | 2023 | 72 | DCP

A raucous work of queer fantasy and history, Playland conjures a time-bending night in Boston’s oldest and most notorious gay bar.

Films in Competition 4

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 9:30pm | $

SPONSOR

Knight's

COMMUNITY PARTNER

The Ecology Center

DONOR

Meg & Lawrence Kasdan

 

Velleity

Brandon Fecteau

Detroit, MI | 2023 | 4 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Velleity is a narrative experimental film exploring the idea of transformation and connecting with nature. Utilizing a mixed media format, this film shows the transformation through cycles of life, using flatbed scanned flowers as well as a plunge into cold water in the Japanese tradition of misogi.

 

Catalog ’93

Grau Del Grau

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 4 | DCP 

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

In the catalog, I learned about a lot of things.

 

Madwomen: to be a sparrow not a canary

Johannes Lõhmus & Sten Haljak

Tallinn, Estonia | 2023 | 23 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

A housewife confronts situations to which no sane response exists…. Madwomen: to be a sparrow not a canary is an experimental found footage melodrama composed entirely out of film footage shot in Soviet Estonia from 1960 until 1969—an experimental collage creating an alternative narrative to the storylines in the animations, documentaries and feature films of that time period. 

 

Getting OK With Being OK That Things Are Not OK

Zoë Irvine & Pernille Spence

Edinburgh & Dundee, UK | 2023 | 4 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

This film represents an exploration into ideas of precarity and collapse, moments of the not-yet-happening as well as irreversible smashes. How do we learn to live in uncertainty? When the future holds promise of breakdown? We embrace the absurdity, the moments of lightness and humor. We are actively trying to get OK with not being OK that things are not OK.

 

In the Ice, Everything Leaves a Trace

Christoph Oeschger & Gianna Molinari

Zurich, Switzerland | 2022 | 13 | digital file

As Arctic ice melts, borders shift, once inaccessible places and resources become accessible, and new claims to raw materials and territories are made. The Arctic is changing like never before, from a romanticized image of wild, harsh nature to a technological place full of economic interests. The Arctic has become a hot spot of border shifts and geopolitical interests. This essay film is a poetic approach to this place and makes the invisible visible.

 

Clear Ice Fern

Mark Street

New York, NY | 2023 | 12 | digital file

Images shot through architectural glass on Super 8mm film in the dead of night in NYC.  The title refers to one of the glass samples I used to frame up images of Times Square and other nightspots in NYC. The city peeks its head in as an off screen character, but the glass bends and twists it in its own warped and wonderful way.

 

Metamorphosis’ Chantings Or That Time When I Incarnated As Porpoise

Ainá Xisto

Lisbon, Portugal | 2023 | 11 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Life is metamorphosis, bounding from being to being as new ways of saying “I.” In 16mm, Ainá Xisto prints an abyssal record guided by a more-than-human relationship through dreamlike landscapes, creating a magical reality inhabited by real characters, opened up to dialogue and to others.

 

Dickinsonia. Les archives sensibles

Charline Dally

Montréal, QC, Canada | 2023 | 11 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Dickinsonia, a 550-million-year-old oceanic species, has left very few fossils. Its soft, skeleton-free body has left almost no trace of its existence, leaving scientific thought in doubt. Like the dissolution of this ancestral life form, our oldest memories, blurred and embedded in the depths of our consciousness, seem to leave only vague traces. Unexplained ripples that run through our tissues, shaking us at times. The film is intended to be a place of intimate listening which, by allowing us to see and hear subtle presences and vibrations, invites us to pay particular attention to the fragments of history that constitute us, especially those we have wished to forget.

Thursday Out Night After Party
Pride Bar at LIVE Nightclub

Music by DJ Medusa

102 South First Street | 10:30pm-1am | free

FRIDAY

FRIDAY 3/29

The 8 Fest, Coffee & Bagels: Remembering Ann Arbor’s Other Film Festival
Salon

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 10am–12pm | free

A Stranger Quest
Feature in Competition
Presented with Short in Competition Help Desk

State Theatre 1 | 1pm | $

SPONSOR

University Lithoprinters

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Clements Library Map Division

DONOR

Jeri Hollister & R. Thomas Bray

 

Help Desk

Edwin Rostron

London, UK | 2023 | 3 | digital file

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Help Desk is a hypnotic hand-drawn animation: a mysterious transmission revealing playful geometric possibilities. The film provides a meditative and contemplative space, oscillating between flatness and depth, control and instability.

 

A Stranger Quest 

Andrea Gatopoulos

Rome, Italy | 2023 | 90 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

After spending the last thirty years amassing one of the biggest map collections in the world (which he secretly calls his poem), David Rumsey, who is about to turn eighty, is confronted with the ghosts of his life as the end inches closer. 

The Last Forever
Off the Screen Performance

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 3pm | free

The Last Forever

Kamila Kuc and Scott Stark 

San Francisco, CA | 2023 | 60 | digital scans of 35mm slides; digital video; live narration and music; props; toys

 

Reaching back into pre-digital eras of photography, Kamila Kuc and Scott Stark mine analog found family photos, presenting a luminous body of untapped visual riches and subtle indicators of family dynamics and hidden histories. With live narration, music, and visual play, Kuc and Stark read into the images of their own idiosyncratic plotline about a missing spouse and her relationship to the “captured moment.” The Last Forever is fanciful, dramatic, poignant, unsettling, and hilarious.

 

Kamila Kuc is a Polish-born experimental filmmaker working within the realm of social choreography. She lives and teaches in London.

 

Scott Stark has been making films, videos, photo collages, and installations since the 1980s. He lives in San Francisco.

Domus de Janas
Feature in Competition
Presented with Short in Competition
Someone Called me Black Snake

State Theatre 1 | 3pm | $

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

DONOR

Wendy Lawson

 

Someone Called me Black Snake

Borja Santomé Rodríguez

Pontevedra, Spain | 2023 | 10 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Someone Called me Black Snake is a hypnotic short film that blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Through a series of captivating visual and sound experiments, it takes you on a journey into the unknown, where enigmatic silhouettes wander through city and coastal landscapes, fueled by a thirst for adventure. With elements of spirituality, psychedelia, and delirium, the film celebrates creative spontaneity and invites you to indulge in the wonders of curiosity, madness, and pure artistic experimentation.

 

Domus de Janas

Myriam Raccah

Brussels, Belgium | 2023 | 70 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

A village in the Sardinian hinterland. While the drought is in full swing, old legends emerge from the territory, summoning characters and places suspended between two worlds. A painter goes to work, young people practice traditional songs, a shepherd fights against the fire... Only the storm will calm the flames.

Films in Competition 5: Music Videos

University of Michigan Museum of Art Helmut Stern Auditorium | 5pm | free

SPONSOR

Metro Times

EDUCATION PARTNER

Washtenaw Community College Digital Media Arts Department

COMMUNITY PARTNER

EMU Campus Life
 

Dear, When I Met You

Craig Smith

Longmont, CO | 2023 | 6 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Dear, When I Met You is a meditation on how art can be both ephemeral and immortal at the same time. The film begins with a badly deteriorating 1928 musical short and reworks it into something new by celebrating the beauty of the original film’s aging.

 

Born Days: How to Disappear

Louis Morton

Milwaukee, WI | 2023 | 4 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Falling rain on a window transforms into scenes of fleeting thoughts and loosely grasped memories. This music video was inspired by long walks along Lake Michigan and dark rainy winter nights in the Midwest of the US.

 

Empaths & Apples

Kelli Reilly

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 4 | digital file

The official music video for Empaths & Apples by River Harmony features the surreal and toxic world of Adam and Eve.

 

Back To Suburbia

Elliot Sheedy

Ribeira Grande, São Miguel & Azores, Portugal | 2023 | 4 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Elliot Sheedy performs the song “Back To Suburbia” while advertisement memories flood into the temples of all mesmerized viewers. The landscape of American consumerism reveals itself for what it is: a multifaceted tool for breeding soldiers and stunting spiritual development.

 

Kyubabe

Ben Willis

Dearborn, MI | 2022 | 3 | digital file

Our hero, Throwaway, faces yet another challenge.

 

Universe Moves So Fast

Gina Kamentsky & Sarah E. Jenkins

Providence, RI and Boston, MA | 2023 | 4 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Music video for the band Occurence, created by cutting up sequences from 35 and 70mm trailers and projecting them onto movable screens and walls of the studio. Our goal was to create a world that looks like 3D motion graphics without using 3D digital techniques.

Universe of Language

Guangli Liu & Bai Li

Paris, France | 2022 | 4 | digital file

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

The nearly 150-year-old custom of using body language to initiate trades among traders was officially put to rest in 2021 with the closing of the Chicago Stock Exchange’s trading floor, an event that became a symbol of an entire financial era. Since the dawn of civilization, the relationship between hands and numbers has been ingrained in our trading culture. Even today, many parts of China still bargain in public using the “hand in the sleeve” technique. When the idea of “Universe of Language” takes on the sense of trading gestures and draws on the discussion of dimensionality in fractal mathematics, it ends up providing a new formula of visual expression to describe how we use our body to measure and communicate the world through mathematics.

 

Amaranth

Justin Black

Toronto, ON, Canada | 2023 | 4 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

Made in collaboration with composer Gayle Young and sculptor Reinhard Reitzenstein, Amaranth is a hybrid music and film work exploring the implications of deep ecology, encouraging the viewer to step outside of the default anthropocentric perspective and into a continuum of experience in which all beings have equal value.

 

New Water Music

Dan Rule

New Orleans, LA | 2023 | 4 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

A cast of strange plants and flowers play, help, and devour each other over an original music composition by Yotam Haber.

 

Happy Doom

Billy Roisz

Vienna, Austria | 2022 | 4 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Happy Doom is an audiovisual poem, an ode to color intoxication and vertigo. The screen: a vibrating membrane that simultaneously spits and swallows colors and noisy beats—a hypnotic deformed circumpolar psychedelic short trip.

 

Ghost Song

Joseph Keckler & M. Sharkey

Brooklyn, NY | 2022 | 6 | digital file

A narrator reveals the details of a mysterious, transformative encounter that took place in a remote locale.

 

Dreams

Samantha Scafiddi

Hudson, NY | 2023 | 4 | digital file

A visual journey of tongue-in-cheek commentary and provocative storytelling about humanity’s route to self-destruction through the eyes of the moon.

Films in Competition 6: 35MM AND 16MM
 

U-M Auditorium SKB 2500 | 5:30pm | $

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Michigan Psychoanalytic Society

 

Made possible with support from the U-M Department of Film, Television, and Media.

 

Zerzura

Laurence Favre

Geneva, Switzerland | 2023 | 11 | 16mm

WORLD PREMIERE

An immersion in the desert with a Bolex and some questions… How do we perceive “nature”? Is it a “thing” to which we, humans, are external? Or are we all part of a mesh without center or periphery? Can film help us to perceive nature not as a thing, but as a living entity endowed with sensitivity and agency?

 

Immaculate Generations No. 1

Vito A. Rowlands

Brooklyn, NY | 2022 | 11 | 16mm

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

If the eyes are the window to the soul, Immaculate Generations No. 1 presents its viewer with a singular look into thousands of souls. Equal parts Carl Sagan and William Blake, this flicker film is composed of tens of thousands of individual retinal photographs from public databases. Animated between 12 and 24 frames per second, they make for a dazzling rush into the maelstrom of life as we perceive it. Every retinal exposure is a galaxy, replete with its own sun, star-studded clouds, and light refracted through time and space. 

 

Inside Outside

Hanna Chetwin

Castlemaine, Australia | 2023 | 8 | 16mm

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

A self-portrait during pregnancy, documenting physical changes while imagining the world outside as seen in utero.

 

Oxygen

Karel Doing

Oxford & Oxfordshire, UK | 2023 | 6 | 16mm

Blades of grass are racing across the screen.

 

The Newest Olds

Pablo Mazzolo

Buenos Aires, Argentina | 2022 | 15 | 35mm

​​The Newest Olds transforms Detroit’s iconic cityscapes, dislodging buildings from their foundations and collapsing the physical, political, and sensory boundaries between Canada and the United States through alchemical, in-camera, and optical printing techniques.

 

Zoey

Gabriel Achilles Bellone

Providence, RI | 2023 | 10 | 16mm with live soundtrack accompaniment

Warning: Explicit content (unsimulated sexual content, simulated violence). 

 

Man of Aral

Helena Gouveia Monteiro

Dublin, Ireland | 2023 | 7 | 16mm

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE | ONLINE SCREENING UNAVAILABLE

In Man of Aral, a digital time lapse sequence of satellite images of the disappearing Sea of Aral in Central Asia shows the gradual decrease in water levels and how the landscape has been transformed by  human activity. These images, transferred onto 16mm film, were chemically manipulated by hand with color tints and toners. The result is a unique hybrid visual object—both digital and analog. 

A Horse is Not a Metaphor and Relict: A Phantasmagoria
Special Program

State Theatre 1 | 7pm | $

SPONSOR

London College of Communication

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Pickle Fort Film Collective

DONOR

Deborah Greer

 

Special Program

An Homage to Barbara Hammer and a Magic Lantern Performance

 

The Ann Arbor Film Festival presents the film portion of this program in homage to and celebration of Barbara Hammer, whose named award, the Barbara Hammer Feminist Film Award, was established by filmmaker Lynne Sachs. The annual award became fully endowed in the summer of 2023, ensuring that every year the AAFF can recognize the work that best conveys Hammer’s passion for celebrating and examining the experiences of women.

 

A Horse Is Not A Metaphor

Barbara Hammer

New York, NY | 2008 | 30 | digital file

In Hammer’s autobiographical experimental film A Horse Is Not A Metaphor, the artist reflects on her personal fight against stage 3 ovarian cancer, transforming illness into recovery. Describing herself as a cancer “thriver” rather than a survivor, Hammer rides on horseback through the red hills of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, the grassy foothills of the Big Horn in Wyoming, and leafy paths in Woodstock, New York. In this multilayered film, Hammer moves from scenes of chemotherapy sessions to images of light and movement that take her far from the hospital bed. The haunting score is by musician Meredith Monk.

 

Relict: A Phantasmagoria 

Melissa Ferrari 

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 35 | magic lanterns, expanded hand-drawn animation

Relict: A Phantasmagoria is an experimental documentary performed with antique magic lanterns and hand-drawn animation. Invoking the history of magic lantern phantasmagoria as an exercise in belief and perception, Relict considers the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, religion, and documentary ethics—all collapsed into contemporary cryptozoology. Reviving the lantern’s historical role as a tool for scientific lectures and adapting modern cryptozoological lore to handmade lantern slides, Relict wanders through histories of documentary animation used to visualize and legitimize monstrous creatures. 

 

Melissa Ferrari is an experimental nonfiction animator, magic lanternist, and educator. Her works have been shown internationally in venues such as Hot Docs, Hauser & Wirth, Slamdance, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She aims to unveil the wonder that lies in the shadow of nonfiction.

Films in Competition 7
Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

7:30pm

SPONSOR

U-M Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Screen Dance International

DONOR

Ken Burns

Poem of E.L.

Maya Gurantz

Los Angeles, CA | 2022 | 19 | digital file

In 2013, a woman’s last known movements were captured by elevator surveillance. Released by the LAPD to identify her body, this footage quickly exploded online into thousands of conspiracy theories, becoming fodder for horror and true crime exploitation. Poem of E.L. explores Elisa Lam’s unsolved death by dismantling the tired tropes used to tell her story, translating the elevator footage in three different ways: as physical re-enactment; as a speculative POV journey cutting between memory and hallucination; and as an immersive fugue state in found footage.

 

Cinema for the Dead

Bruno Moreno & Renato Sircilli

São Paulo, Brazil | 2023 | 14 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

In the village of Barra Grande, among appearances and disappearances, the animals keep the dead company. An attempt to touch nameless things through cinema, using its technical elements to oscillate between plasticity, the spiritual, and the ethical.

 

Le Rêve

Peter Conrad Beyer

Stralsund, Germany | 2020 | 8 | digital file

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

The raven dreams of nature; he dreams of a world of plants and insects. He travels, flies into nature. He is nature itself. Nature itself dreams into trance.

 

This Line Connects the Void

Tram Quynh Nghiem

Toronto, ON, Canada | 2023 | 16 | digital file

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Filmed in the artist’s family apartment on the edge of Parkdale in the city of Toronto, this work explores the poetics of grief and precarity for the family around the time of death and dying regarding the artist’s sister. With nonlinear storytelling and fragmented images, the work moves between speculative fiction, documentary, and experimental film. Referencing Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee and Anne Carson’s poem “On Walking Backwards,” it considers the space and metaphor of a void and the desire that moves between the dead and living.

 

Moth Print

Sarah Bliss

Montague, MA | 2023 | 4 | digital file

Moth Print is a collaboration with my deceased father. It traces lines of loss and confronts failure of memory. A cameraless handmade film, it employs a laser printer to image directly onto clear film leader, creating both (optical) sound and image. Each printed sheet contains 231 frames patiently composed and assembled one by one: 9.6 seconds of projected film. It utilizes two texts: digital video I shot of a galium sphinx moth compulsively dive-bombing a light that could destroy it, and a manuscript page from my father’s unpublished memoir in which he describes visiting his own father who was dying of Alzheimer’s. My father found him imprisoned in a state hospital, brutally beaten and bruised, strapped to a gurney, unable to speak.

 

Déjà Nu

Rolf Hellat

Zurich, Switzerland | 2023 | 14 | digital file 

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Voices, rhythm, sculptures of industry and nature, pure existences, and intensely strong fates collide and intertwine in this off-piste and out of the ordinary musical poem of polycultural sentiments.

Playing Footsi: Ann Arbor Filmmakers of the 1960s–1980s
Special Program 

Curated by Frank Uhle

State Theatre 1 | 9pm

SPONSOR

Dominick's

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts

DONOR

Annette & Bernard Coakley

 

George Manupelli launched the Ann Arbor Film Festival in part as a way to screen his own work, but it soon inspired other locals to take up cameras. Many were members of student film societies like Cinema Guild, Cinema II, and the Ann Arbor Film Cooperative, the latter formed explicitly to help filmmakers at a time when the university offered scant support. During this pre-digital era many films made here, or by recent expatriates, were shown at the festival, won prizes, and went on tour. This program compiles some of the best of this work and includes films by or featuring people who are remembered today through awards – Tom Berman, Chris Frayne, Peter Wilde, and George Manupelli himself. The screening will include both original 16mm prints and recent digital restorations. Thanks to all the filmmakers, the LSA Theme Semester, Kitty Kahn, and Professor Frank Beaver.

 

No Smoke

Mary Cybulski & John Tintori

Ann Arbor, MI | 1975 | 1 | 16mm 

A public service announcement produced for Cinema Guild by future script supervisor Cybulski and NYU graduate film chair Tintori.

 

Gerard Malanga as the Baron von Richthofen

George Manupelli

Ann Arbor, MI | 1967 | 3 | 16mm

The festival founder’s tribute to the WWI flying ace, starring poet/Andy Warhol associate Gerard Malanga, shot when he was a juror at the fifth festival.

 

The Garden of Forking Paths

Susan Norton & Keith Varnum

Ann Arbor, MI | 1970 | 10 | 16mm 

A man’s mysterious journey is traced in this hauntingly photographed short. Originally screened at the eighth festival.

 

Footsi

Pat Oleszko

New York, NY | 1979 | 5 | 16mm 

An exploration of the world by a tiny pair of fingers, made by the festival’s beloved performance artist. Soundtrack by “Blue” Gene Tyranny, a.k.a. Robert Sheff.

 

Ida May

Woody Sempliner

Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 3 | 16mm 

A series of objects are arranged beside a river. What will happen next? Sempliner was manager of the festival when he made this short.

 

Circumflex

Larry Hussar

Ann Arbor, MI | 1976 | 3 | 16mm

Spinning lights create colorful geometric patterns in this dynamic abstract film. Soundtrack performed on a kit-made synthesizer.

 

Danger Is My Business

Sally Kellman

Oakland, CA | 1982 | 5 | 16mm

Film noir meets punk rock in this “pocket detective novel” by former Cinema Guild member Kellman. Music by Mike Richards.

 

Chicago

Kevin Smith

Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 7 | 16mm

Positive and negative images are combined to evoke the Windy City in springtime.

 

The Bridge

Tom Berman & Robert Halper

Ann Arbor, MI | 1970 | 10 | 16mm 

As two men play billiards in a darkened room, a sinister undercurrent emerges. Featuring Nick Bertoni.

 

The Lunch Club

Mitch Peyser & John Beaver

Ann Arbor, MI | 1987 | 7 | 16mm

Students at Angell Elementary eat and talk about food. Award winner at the 25th festival.

 

Smile and Relax

Robert Ziebell

Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 8 | 16mm 

A woman tells stories and smokes in a pinball arcade photo booth. The interchange between photography and film is explored in this experimental short featuring Claudia Obrosey.

 

No Smoke

Dan Bruell

Ann Arbor, MI | 1983 | 1 | 16mm 

Eadweard Muybridge movement studies and the filmmaker’s own animation merge to provide this gentle admonishment made for Cinema Guild.

 

Cinema Street

Jay Cassidy 

Ann Arbor, MI | 1971 | 4 | 16mm 

Two episodes from a series of informational shorts made for the ninth festival by subsequent festival manager and Oscar-nominated editor Cassidy. Featuring “Ticket Fred” LaBour and projectionist Peter Wilde.

 

Plow, Skid, Drag

Andrew Lugg & John Orentlicher

Ann Arbor, MI | 1972 | 5 | 16mm 

Performance artist Orentlicher and a tractor are the stars of this film made by Cinema Guild member and future philosophy professor Lugg.

 

Ozone Burgers (To Go)

Chris Frayne

Ann Arbor, MI | 1974 | 1 | 16mm 

Hand-drawn and stop-motion animation are combined to dazzling effect in this short by the legendary Ann Arbor multimedia artist.

 

107 1/2

John Nelson

Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 3 | 16mm 

A variety of analog techniques were used to create mind-bending imagery in this short by future Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Nelson. Named for the address at the New Old Brick in downtown Ann Arbor, where it was filmed. 

 

Cultural historian Frank Uhle writes about the fascinating people and stories behind beloved film and music projects, with an emphasis on his adopted hometown of Ann Arbor. A projectionist since the early 1980s, Uhle’s devotion to film was catalyzed when he joined one of the University of Michigan’s student film societies as an undergraduate. His book Cinema Ann Arbor was published by University of Michigan Press and Fifth Avenue Press in 2023.

Films in Competition 8: Animation
 

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 9:30pm | $

SPONSOR 

Sava's

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Washtenaw Community College Animation Club

 

Meshes

Sine Özbilge & Imge Özbilge

Antwerp, Belgium | 2023 | 2 | digital file

Meshes pays an homages to Maya Deren, the mother of experimental and avant-garde film whose work is regarded as the modern starting point for film as a personal tool of expression. Taking a unique musical piece by Gabriel Chwojnik into the focal point of the narrative, Meshes brings together two unique symbiotic visual universes created by Sine Özbilge and Imge Özbilge.

 

A Place Without Fear

Susanne Deeken

London, UK | 2023 | 30 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Through a nonlinear, abstract and surreal form of storytelling, this film  follows a protagonist through a labyrinth of physical and emotional situations, set in a house which acts as both the set for the story and a metaphor for the mind. The techniques used in the film are a mix of analogue and digital: actual painting in the house, digital rendering and avatars, stop-motion painting, drawing, and collaging, with the majority created in Detroit and subsequent scenes finalised in London. With an original score by Susanne Deeken in collaboration with experimental and jazz musicians from Detroit.

 

Dissolution

Sujin Kim

Tempe, AZ | 2023 | 3 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

A process of dissolution is a process of creation. Through its visual portrayal of a ceaseless wave of dissolution and transition between personal and societal images, Dissolution serves as a metaphor for the interconnectedness between the individual’s psychological turmoil and the unpredictability of our unruly era, where each factor becomes the cause and consequence of the other in a continuous cycle.

 

St. Mickeyland

Ulu Braun

Berlin, Germany | 2023 | 13 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

In St. Mickeyland, a region inhabited by cartoon and media icons is shown in painting-like tableaux. The protagonists search for food, procreation, and meaning in life, reflecting on their own creations. While Snow White learns stand-up paddling, Winnie the Pooh gives birth to an offspring, adding a dash of humanity to the fictional shell.

 

I Would've Been Happy

Jordan Wong

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 9 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

An attempt to map a fraught relationship through the use of intricately coded pictographs and schematic abstractions applied to glazed ceramic tiles and quilted cyanotype fabric. The aesthetics of architectural language are used to reconstruct memories of my family’s domestic spaces in the hope to uncover logic in a broken home.

 

Between you and me

Cameron Kletke

Vancouver, BC | 2023 | 4 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Between you and me takes the viewer on a dynamic journey through a woman’s visual diaries, exploring human connection in young adulthood.

 

Is Heaven Blue? #2

Paul De Nooijer & Menno De Nooijer

Baarsdorp, The Netherlands | 2023 | 17 | DCP

Time leaves its mark on the bodies of the three De Nooijers: mother, father, and son. This is a farewell to their oeuvre—the result of fifty years of making art and living together, marked by photography, animation, and film.

 

The Expectation of the Observed

Stephanie J. Williams

Washington, DC / Baltimore, MD | 2022 | 5 | digital file

The Expectation of the Observed meditates on how much our bodies do not actually seem to belong to us. This experimental short considers the unrecognized labor in having and being a body. Puppets—disembodied meaty legs, flayed of skin—dance in repetition even as they start to disintegrate. Repeated stress falls on marginalized bodies as political symbols, performing for an expectant audience who is implicated in their watching.

Teknolust
Special Feature Film

State Theatre 1 | 11pm | $

EDUCATION PARTNER

U-M Digital Studies Institute

 

Teknolust

Lynn Hershman Leeson

2002 | 83 | digital file

Biogeneticist Rosetta Stone downloads her own DNA into an experimental AI program, creating a trio of cyborgian clones. The clones’ survival depends on injections of male Y chroma, only found in sperm. Ruby, one of the clones, ventures out and seduces men to secure the cyborg’s survival.

Friday After Party
Savas

Featuring Ownsey

216 South State Street | 10:30pm–12:30am | free

SATURDAY

SATURDAY 3/30

The Joy of LOOPing
Workshop with Pickle Fort Film Collective

U-M North Quad Space 2435 | 9am–12pm | free

Juror Presentation: Wenhua Shi
On Time

U-M Auditorium SKB 2500 | 1pm | free in-person ($5 online) 

SPONSOR

U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies

 

Made possible with support from the U-M Department of Film, Television, and Media.

 

On Time

Wenhua Shi

 

On Time is a selection of moving image works from the recent decade. Over the past ten years, we have been faced with the unexpected. The demands from all sides became monumentally heavy. looking through the viewfinder is my way of being in the moment. Editing becomes a new way of rediscovering / investigating the experiences and measurement of time. 

 

Because the Sky is Blue

Wenhua Shi

Wuhan, China | 2020–2022 | 4 | 35mm

Muybridge captured the galloping horse one hundred forty years ago in a brief 12 frames. The durations of today’s social media video clips are similar to Muybridge's brevity. Wenhua tries to reimagine what subject Muybridge would capture today. All source footage is from Wenhua’s social media feed. He used the cyanotype method to reprint the individual frames, creating the final short videos.

 

Descending a Staircase

Wenhua Shi

Beijing, China | 2012–2014 | 6 | 35mm

This work pays homage to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Created one hundred years after the original piece, it is a meditation on the mechanical nature of cinema and moving images, both through its dynamic movement and fragmentation. The footage was captured at an apartment building in Beijing, China. Steadicam by Patrick Selvage. Girl by Jiang Shu.

 

Concrete: Boston City Hall

Wenhua Shi

Boston, MA | 2021 | 22 | 35mm

Image: concrete. Turn the image upside down: nothing more, nothing else, nothing. During the pandemic, drones flying over the empty city became oversaturated. Media coverage fixed our imagination into one way of reading a city/space. I return to the idea of ma”—empty or open spaces (interval or pause in time). This piece was created with this additional perspective, creating a contrast to City Hall, legendary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s four-hour long film.. Here I try to present the meditational quality of the empty city hall. The project was presented by local art organization Non-Event with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 

 

Senses of Time

Wenhua Shi

New York, NY / Boston, MA | 2018 | 6 | 16mm

Senses of Time depicts the lyrical and poetic passage of time. The work focuses on defining subjective and perceptual time with close attention to stillness, decay, disappearance, and ruins.

 

Gutai

Wenhua Shi

Shanghai & Wuhan, China / Boston, MA | 2019–2020 | 6 | 16mm

Wenhua took on a radical use of single frame image capture and examines his strange and familiar hometown in China, which he has been away from for nearly two decades. The film title comes from postwar Japanese avant-garde artist group Gu-Tai. The kanji used to write gu means “tool,” “measure,” or “a way of doing something,” while tai means “body.” The film is the result of intense looking, seeing what might not be there.

 

Walking Cycle

Wenhua Shi

New York & Hamilton, NY | 2016 | 8 | digital file

Walking Cycle is an abstract audiovisual piece that celebrates the line, its quality, and its movements. Sound by Wang Changcun. Created at the Signal Culture artist residency, Owego, NY.

 

Die Nacht

Wenhua Shi

Boston, MA | 2017 | 4 | digital file

A prelude to Senses of Time, dedicated to Phil Solomon.

 

The Rose

Wenhua Shi

Wuhan, China | 2019 | 4 | digital file

Shi's most recent experimental piece, The Rose alters the space of a newly planted rose, overgrown through an iron fence. The film explores the perception of the relationship between foreground and background. The process of editing pays tribute to the thaumatrope, the bird-in-a-cage optical toy from the pre-cinema period.

 

Monosabishii

Wenhua Shi

Boston, MA | 2023 | 5 | double 16mm

A visual poem was composed when no one is at home.

Films in Competition 9: Almost All Ages (6+)

Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | 1:30pm | $7

SPONSOR

Michigan Theater/State Theatre

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Ann Arbor District Library

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

 

kāua — we (you & I)

Rachel Makana’aloha O Kauikeolani Nakawatase

Newhall, CA | 2023 | 2 | digital file

WORLD PREMIERE

In an attempt to use mirror divination, a spirit appears as a clever creature during the year of the rabbit.

 

Austin Karimloo

Patricia Luna

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 4 | DCP

This short film was inspired by producer and composer Peter Rotter’s experience working remotely with his employees and colleagues during the worldwide quarantine period for the COVID–19 pandemic, as he tried to find and foster joy, despite the lack of in-person physical presence and connection.

 

Necktie Cinema

John Akre

Louisville, KY | 2023 | 4 | digital file

What if all the neckties stopped trying to strangle us and showed us their movies instead?

 

Minus Plus Multiply

Chu-Chieh Lee

London, UK | 2023 | 4 | digital file

With a container as a motif and a metaphor for a safe place, the story surrounds the protagonist’s self-searching and healing journey, exploring the relationship between emotion and space. The film attempts to construct psychological self-portraits and a poetic narrative through experimentation in 2D animation, stop-motion, and sound. It reflects sensibility, fragility, and fragmentation of identity by applying pottery and clay.

 

Glitter for Girls

Federica Foglia

Toronto, ON | 2023 | 4 | DCP

WORLD PREMIERE

Glitter for Girls is a handmade tattoo film that utilizes a cameraless direct-on-film animation approach to craft a collage composed of multiple layers of water tattoos (commonly used by children).

 

The Forestbetween

Mar Sudac

Los Angeles, CA | 2022 | 13 | digital file

UNITED STATES PREMIERE

A land surveyor is sent to map out an ominous forest between two rival kingdoms.

 

Somnia

Farbod Khoshtinat

Los Angeles, CA | 2023 | 3 | digital file

A girl, drowned in the depths of her dreams, swims through a perilous quest to find a way to awaken and escape her subconscious prison.

 

Bella Luna

Virginia L. Montgomery

Austin, TX | 2023 | 4 | digital file

Bella Luna is a surreal, synesthesia-esque film interweaving a cacophony of circular symbols, sounds, and gestures. The film features Bella, a North American luna moth, as she gently flutters between sticks and bells. Her moth-ly movements create the film’s soundtrack as her human companion hand-dances alongside her. Working together, they co-create a healing soundscape as both entities, moth and human, share a common dialogue of sounds, symbols, and intimacy.

 

Two One Two

Shira Avni

Montreal, QC, Canada | 2023 | 4 | DCP

Two One Two combines shimmering clay-on-glass animation with personal archives in a deeply intimate, experimental animated documentary love letter to motherhood, parenting on the spectrum, and two-headed monsters everywhere.

 

Soul Supreme: Geshem Bejuni

Tal Uliel

Jerusalem, Israel | 2023 | 3 | digital file

This music video clip for Soul Supreme was created as a graduate project by Tal Uliel from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. It aims to blend an analog aesthetic with 3D compositing, and draws inspiration from risograph printing and abstract geometry.

 

I'm Lost to the World

Tiger Cai

New York, NY | 2023 | 2 | digital file

I'm Lost to the World is an audiovisual experience of a daydream on an alien beach. It is a part of an ongoing worldview-building project named Wonderland and the Funny Fellows.

Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena; #59
Feature in Competition

State Theatre 1 | 3pm | $

EDUCATION PARTNER

University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film

COMMUNITY PARTNER

ASIFA/Central (Midwest USA chapter)

DONOR

Chrisstina Hamilton

 

Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena; #59

Joost Rekveld

Brussels, Belgium | 2023 | 79 | DCP

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

An abstract science fiction film in which, humans, aliens and electronic devices vacillate between the human fever dream of planetary control and lively mechanical chaos.