For information regarding the After Parties schedule, click here.

For information and schedule of Off the Screen! click here.



Off the Screen!

3:00 – 5:00pm | North Quad space 2435 | Free

This reception for North Quad exhibitions features work by Off The Screen! artists and students.


5:30 – 7pm | Sava’s

Join us in honoring Pat Oleszko, former AAFF Festival artist. After the fundraiser, join the Opening Night Party in the Michigan Theater Grand Foyer. Reserved seating is provided for the 8:15 screening of Films in Competition 1.

Bitch Thunder: Your Favorite All-Female Party Drumline

Off the Screen!

Various times starting at 7pm  | The Michigan Theater

Bitch, Thunder! is an all-female drumline from Toledo, Ohio. Led by accomplished percussionist Jess Hancock, the group consists of eight women committed to inspiring female musicians while proving the power of drumming in public spaces. To celebrate the announcement of festival awards, Bitch, Thunder! will lay down their percussive sounds in front of the theater before the first screening, in the grand foyer before the second screening, and – after the second screening – leading a parade of festival-goers down Liberty Street to an afterparty at Babs’ Underground.

Opening Night Party

6:30 – 8:00pm | Michigan Theater Grand Foyer

Kick off the festival with cocktails and food from Beam Suntory, Cafe Zola, Chow, Chloe Wines, Eat, El Harissa, Grange Kitchen, Nightcap, O & W, TeaHaus, The Standard, Unity Vibration and Zingerman’s. Wandering performance of The Stories Within by Melissa Airy, live DJ set by DJ Khlonez, Off the Screen! Installation by Sharon A. Mooney and lobby artwork by Noel Stupek. Admission includes the Films in Competition 1 screening.


Films in Competition 1

8:15pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

The festival kickoff screening of experimental, documentary, narrative, and animated films, featuring experimentation with the human voice, a pickle, space and time reversal, fragmented views, a rare perspective on the Afro hairstyle, a summer day at the swimming pool, one of the most important questions of the modern era, a sea of punctuation, and finding utopias in an unsatisfying life.


10:00pm – 2:00am | Necto | Free

DJ set by alvin hill.


Juror Presentation: My Body, Your Body, Our Bodies: Somatic Cinema at Home and in the World: Films by Lynne Sachs

1:00 pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free

How do we negotiate the photographing of images that contain the body? What experiential, political or aesthetic contingencies do we bring to both the making and viewing of a cinema that contains the human form? If a body is different from our own—in terms of gender, skin color, or age—do we frame it differently? As a juror at the 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival, New York filmmaker Lynne Sachs will guide her audience through her own evolution as a filmmaker by sharing excerpts from her films, from 1987 to the present. She will explore the fraught and bewildering challenge of looking at the human form from behind the lens.

Film Art Forum: A dozen six-minute presentations by film artists

Off the Screen! Salon Session

3:00 – 5:00pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Films in Competition 2: Music Videos

5pm |  UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium

These contemporary music videos feature beard-based lifeforms, an unexpected visitor, a journey forward, a setar player, a future so remote it looks like the past, an exorcism attempt, power dynamics and sexual abuse, a Jungian alternate universe wormhole, another dimension, mesmerizing voices, disturbing arte-facts brought to light, a blackhole, and a haunted car ride with Kim Gordon.

Films in Competition 3

7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

This program of contemporary experimental, documentary, narrative, and animated films opens with a performance by Pat Oleszko, and features a study of Las Vegas and the Red Rock Canyon, the environment beyond our field of view, a fictional cyber entity, the fraught archive of consumer-produced media, India’s Silicon Valley, our fear of technology, the distracting facade of a monotonous reality, and group dynamics.


Women Make Movies: Sweet Bananas and The Women’s Happy Time Commune

Special Program

7::30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

In these feminist works by Ariel Dougherty and Sheila Paige, non-actors collaborate in unscripted, loosely structured story lines “to play” imagined selves. Sweet Bananas explores the dynamics between different young women as they descend on a slightly older woman in the country. The Women’s Happy Time Commune is a feminist Western, set in a fictional 1850 following a motley crew. Utilizing a women-led crew and women-centric cast, the films capture the flare of early feminism in funny and surprising ways. The films were shot in 1970 and 1971 under the collective Women Make Movies, founded in 1969. Andy Warhol had a strong influence on the style of both Dougherty’s and Paige’s films in this program.

Films in Competition 4

9pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These recent experimental films feature the boundary of existence, emotional twists and turns, the nature of the gesture, the laws of pattern recognition, puzzling new truths, a wildly mesmerizing light, and rain over time. Also, in live cinema performances, Masha Godovannaya and Sílvia das Fadas conjure past and future ghosts of women, and Brent Coughenour seeks the annihilation of the self at the boundaries of the perceptual system.

야광 / Glow job

Feature in Competition

9:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

From the 60s to the ’90s, several theaters and public spaces in Seoul and other cities, such as Pagoda Theater, Keukdong Theater, and Seongdong Theater, were appropriated as the crucial “cruising spot” by male sexual minorities. Now the main stage of cruising has moved from the physical spaces to the virtual fields. It seems there is no spatial validity for the Cruising Spot any longer. Directed by Cheol-min Im.


10:00pm – 2:00am | Circ Bar | Free

Karaoke and visuals by Zlatko Ćosić.


Latinx Lived Realities Through New Media

Off the Screen! Salon Session

10:30am – 12pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Highlighting Latinx student works and giving the film community insight into the lived reality of student filmmakers.

Juror Presentation:

Lisa Steele: INTERROGATING THE PAST: the collaborative work of Lisa Steele + Kim Tomczak

1:00 pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free

A juror for the 58th AAFF, Lisa Steele is a pioneer in video art, educator, curator, and co-founder of the Toronto-based organization Vtape, an award-winning media center and distributor of video art. She has collaborated with Kim Tomczak since 1983, producing videotapes, performances, and photo/text works. Currently, Steele teaches at the University of Toronto as part of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Off the Screen! reception with  performance by Sean Clute.


3:00– 5:00pm | Ann Arbor Art Center

Exhibition of work by Off the Screen! artists with performance by Sean Clute.

Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series presents
Martha Colburn

Penny W. Stamps Lecture Series

5:10pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | Free

Filmmaker, artist, and animator Martha Colburn’s films examine the complex dynamics of contemporary life, politics, and society. Colburn works for years on a single project, and her films result from intensive research and meticulously rendered stop-motion animations. Through photography, collage, painting, and puppetry, Colburn uses handmade aesthetics to create touching, personal, and unforgettable narratives.

Films in Competition 5: Out Night

7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

The 19th celebration of queer cinema at AAFF spotlights recent experimental films with LGBTQ themes, featuring a continuous loop, a broken hand, a strained relationship, the passionate and pained expressions of a young woman, made-up speech, multiple cinematic universes, and creatures with pearl and lace ornaments. Also, in a live cinema performance, Angelo Madsen Minax presents a glimpse into the lives of two adolescent boys.

Camp on the Wind’s Road

Feature in Competition

7:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

Following the death of her father, Belekmaa lodges herself in his herdsman’s encampment. She hopes to see her father at least in her dreams, up to the day when, according to the Tuvan tradition, the spirit of the deceased would be fed and given ultimate send-off. Directed by Nataliya Kharlamova.

Films in Competition 6

9pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

This program of recent experimental, documentary, and animated films opens with a performance by Pat Oleszko, and features an altar of toxic land, travel in the lost villages of northern Spain, a minimalistic road movie, the furthest point of a motorcycle trip, a statement against white supremacist oppression, and the distortion of memory in old age.

Why Can't I Be Me Around You?

Feature in Competition

9:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

Albuquerque’s Rusty Tidenberg, auto mechanic and drag-racing aficionado, shocked friends and family by coming out as trans. Followed for eight years by filmmaker Harrod Blank (son of Les Blank), Rusty guides us through the aftermath of her transition, as growing acceptance among her straight-talking Southwest community still doesn’t ease her romantic and professional woes. Interwoven with lively tales of gender non-conforming individuals on the art-car circuit, Blank’s film is a sensitive and unpredictable love letter to people who fight to be unapologetically themselves.


9:00pm – 1:00am | \aut\ Bar | Free


Seed and Spark: Crowdfunding to Build Independence workshop

Off the Screen! Salon Session

10:30am – 12pm | North Quad Space 2435 | Free

Showcase and discussion. 

Juror Presentation: Osbert Parker: New Adventures in Animation 

1:00 pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free

New Adventures in Animation is a diverse program of mixed live-action and

animated films that spans over 30 years of Parker’s international career in film, TV

and the creative arts. Selected films, experiments, private sketchbooks, and a

selection of behind-the-scenes films will be shown for the first time, demonstrating a unique approach that creates new adventures in animation, one-of-a-kind imaginary worlds within commercials and short films, starting points for compelling

narratives in long-form work.


Films in Competition 7

5pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These recent experimental, documentary, and animated films feature an allegory of recycled images from the past, the weight of an air tank, a canal covered by an elevated highway, movement and meaning, the romanticization of sexual violence, and fairies and gods returning to the land.

Video Blues

Feature in Competition

5:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

Provocative and mysterious homemade images from the 80s, two voices, a woman and a man argue about what these images mean, two opinions about her past. Director Emma Tusell reconstructs her family history through these videos, searching for meaning and identity.


Films in Competition 8

7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These contemporary experimental, documentary, and animated films feature our dependency on pharmaceutical drugs, work and choices in raising a little daughter, a woman’s understanding of her identity, everyday objects and movements, the distinct features of different locations, a message from the future, personal worlds, Islamic clerics advising women on how to control their lust, the best curl pattern, and a new intelligence of our own design. Also, Tommy Becker will perform a visual concept album that investigates human-vehicle relationships.

Disquiet American: The Animated Collage Films of Martha Colburn

Special Program

7:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free

Filmmaker, artist, and animator Martha Colburn creates work that is both biographical and autobiographical. Her animation displays confrontational imagery, jump cuts, sonic distortion, found footage, collage, and direct manipulation of the film stock. She uses music for inspiration, its chaotic energy underlining her films. Historical cornerstones are used to offer an artistic reflection on imperialism, and the corroding effect of capitalism on social cohesion in the United States. This compilation program presents Colburn’s work in both analogue and digital form, with new restorations and digitisations. 


Films in Competition 9: Animation 

9pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

This program of recent animated films from near and far opens with a performance by Pat Oleszko, and includes reflection and refraction of lights, an obstruction, four people in a room, industrious life forms, a mysterious exchange, an exiled king, individuals who live with aphasia, an abusive relationship, experiences in relation to the body, abstract textures, uncontrollable consequences, and bones and tendons with their own agenda. Also, Asparagus (AAFF First Place, 1979) will be shown in tribute to its maker, the late and great Suzan Pitt.


Feature in Competition

9:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO is a distorted portrait of an artist that explores storytelling, ego, delusion, conviction and memory. VON LMO is a musician/artist and self-proclaimed alien hybrid who was a part of the late ’70s New York No Wave music scene. Between trips to his home planet of Strazar and multi-dimensional travel, VON has also spent some very real time in prison and on the streets of Earth. Challenged with translating his Future Language for audiences across the galaxy, director Lori Felker, filmmaker and VON LMO fan, gets sucked into VON’s orbit and finds herself lost in his story.


10:00pm – 2:00am | Club Above | $7, Free with AAFF Pass

Kit Young performance with MEMCO DJ’s.


Films in Competition 10: Almost All Ages (Ages 6+) 

11:00am | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | $6

Mixed genre, family-friendly films featuring a steampunk organ, primal emotions, an unusual antiques dealer, 1125 cardboard frames, an enchanted fish, our fragile situation, human history, the stoic moon, mesmerizing voices, a piece of tofu who goes on a journey, and the digits of pi.

Films in Competition 11 

1pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These contemporary experimental, documentary, and animated films feature invasive weed trees, observations and findings, a hiking journey, the rude sound of a sliding chair, loss of language, the past and presence of film audio, an impressionist night journey, and a search for an open border.


Feature in Competition 

1:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

On the eve of postponed Congolese elections, two Congolese and two Belgian cineastes work on a film about Kinshasa and its resistance against the legacies of colonialism. The four filmmakers want to tell a story together, but having grown up on other sides of history, they have different views on how to tell that story. Through filming artistic performances in public space, they paint a provocative picture of Kinshasa and its relations with the rest of the world. Directed by Anne Reijniers, Nizar Saleh, Paul Shemisi, and Rob Jacobs.

Films in Competition 12

3pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These recent experimental and documentary films feature a meeting of miniature spectres, a spirit who lives in an abandoned house, movement utterances, and a syncretic ritual. Also, not in competition, the film Last Week at Ed’s (2019) by Lawrence and Meg Kasdan.

Women Make Movies Workshop Films: Community Women at Women Make Movies Tell Universal Cinematic Stories

Special Program 

3:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

In 1969, filmmakers Ariel Dougherty and Sheila Paige founded Women Make Movies, a non-profit organization that established a community media workshop for women in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Secretaries, housewives, and retirees came to the WMM workshop to make movies,short black-and-white films, shot without sound on a wind-up Bolex. The stories presented are personal yet universal, reflecting the women’s varied experiences.


Welcome to Commie High

Special Program

5pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Welcome to Commie High explores an experiment in public education—Ann Arbor’s Community High School—from its humanistic, anti-establishment origins in the early ’70s through its survival into the ’90s, when sudden demand for this alternative, small school led to a phenomenon of lines, camping, and lottery systems. e see how the “Commie High” model has evolved and continues to reflect the world around it. Directed by Donald Harrison.


Home In the Woods

Feature in Competition

5:30pmMichigan Theater Main Auditorium

An immersive portrait of a place viewed from different perspectives and scales. A contemplation of the cycles, patterns and relationships that exist in the forest near director Brandon Wilson’s home.


Films in Competition 13

7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

This program of  recent experimental, documentary, and animated films opens with a performance by Pat Oleszko, and features movement through public spaces, an imprisoned woman released, a cathartic rhythm, consequences of collective hypnosis, spending time in the yard, a psychedelic non-linear journey, and the creative virtuosity of Black femme performance.

Filming in the Dark: Early Experiments from Taiwan

Special Program

7:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

A retrospective of newly discovered Taiwanese experimental works from the 1960s. The experimental scene in Taiwan was relatively unknown, and very little information was available on these films at the time of their creation. They will be introduced by Wood Lin, programming director for TIDF and one of the leaders of the team that researched this unknown history. This Program was brought to the AAFF with support from  the Taiwan Film Institute, and Taiwan Docs, and Markus Nornes, Professor of Asian Cinema at U-M.

Films in Competition 14

9pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

These contemporary experimental, documentary, and animated films feature forgotten microscopes, another day at work, the deepest hole, a celebration of springtime, a cheeky poem, a shojo who suddenly gives birth, the loss of a mother, river naiads and backyard deities, a spider in a dark basement, a rediscovered locale, and thousands packed in a bag. Also, in a multi-slide-projector performance, Luis Macías will coax an incorporeal animal to emerge from the darkness and light.

Dream Journal 2016–2019

Feature in Competition

9:30pmMichigan Theater Screening Room

Filmmaker Jon Rafman’s latest single-channel video explores the effects of technology and information overload on the contemporary psyche. Set in a virtual tech-noir urban space part of the expansive, fractured narrative focuses on the continued adventures of Xanax Girl and her search for her companion who has been abducted. The film, which arose from the artist’s daily practice of animating his dreams using hobbyist 3D software, weaves together deep-web imagery with detective story tropes and repressed fantasies to create a nightmarish vision of an internet addict’s unconscious. The film features an original score by Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro.


11:00pm - 1:30am | Blue Llama Jazz Club | Free

Performance by BLJC musicians with visuals by David Olson.


What the Hell Was That? moderated by Daniel Herbert

Salon Session

10:30am – 12pm | Space 2435 North Quad | Free

Moderated by Associate Professor Daniel Herbert – a media scholar on the faculty of the Department of Film, Television, and Media Arts in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan – this panel discussion has been an Ann Arbor Film Festival favorite for more than a decade. It began when a filmmaker overheard an audience member declare, “What the hell was that?” after viewing his film. An enlightening discussion ensued, and the idea for the panel was born. Join visiting filmmakers and other special guests for an opportunity to watch and discuss three short experimental films selected from this year’s festival lineup.


Special Program  

12pm| Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Inspired by the 75th anniversary of Maya Deren and Talley Beattty’s seminal dance film Choreography for Camera (1945) and celebrating the global proliferation of dance on camera festivals, AAFF introduces a program of screendances to the festival. This selection of works offers a retrospective sweep of the hybrid form, from Ed Emshwiller’s Thanatopsis, featured in the first AAFF in 1963, to more recent works shot in Great Britain, Congo, Israel, Canada, and Detroit. Curated by Terri Sarris (U-M Film, TV, and Media Department) and Peter Sparling (Emeritus Professor, Department of Dance), both local media artists and a long-time teaching team of U-M’s interdisciplinary screendance course.

What We Left Unfinished

Feature in Competition

1:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

The mostly true story of five unfinished films from the Communist era in Afghanistan (1978–1991), What We Left Unfinished reunites newly restored footage from lost fiction films with the people who went to crazy lengths to make them, evoking a time when films were weapons, filmmakers became targets, and the dreams of political regimes merged with the stories told onscreen. Directed by Mariam Ghani.

Unseen Migrations

Special Program

2pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

A program of dance, film, and spoken word realized by Jacob D. Barreras and Deborah Greer. Exploring new definitions of experimental film, writing, movement, and performance, Counterpath Press and the Unseen Festival present Unseen Migrations, invoking notions of the resistant, the excluded, and the unacknowledged. Interweaving five films, three movement performances, song, and spoken word, physical and metaphysical elements collide and form an explosion of art, light, sound. Colorado-created and inspired artworks conjure and co-mingle onstage and onscreen to create a cohesive and experiential theatrical display.


Feature in Competition

2:30pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

A young man drifts through a post-disaster African landscape looking for his mother’s ghost. Directed by Carlos Conceição.


The 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival closing events offer a program of select award-winning films as chosen by our jury.

Award Screening 1

5pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Onstage announcement of the 58th AAFF awards followed by a select screening of awarded films.


Award Screening 2

7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Additional awarded films from the 57th AAFF


9pm – 12:00am | Babs’ Underground | $7, Free with AAFF Pass

 Live musical performance by Badgewearer and SpOp.



Ann Arbor Film Festival 

Registered 501(c)(3)

EIN: 38-2379836