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“One thing, making experimental films is a thankless task. All filmmakers have,
of my a place to show their films to other people.”
















George Manupelli (1931-2014) was the beloved founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1963 and continued to direct the Festival for 17 years. Manupelli received an MA and PhD in fine art and fine art education at Columbia University. While in school, he discovered his love for film and filmmaking. He started his teaching career after college, which lasted 38 years, during which he was a professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Art, York University in Toronto, and he served as the Dean at the San Francisco Art Institute. We can’t thank Manupelli enough for his dedication to the Festival and for making his creative vision a reality over half a century ago.

Manupelli returned to the University of Michigan to speak at the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series in 2009 during the 47th AAFF. In his talk, “An Unauthorized History” he recounted the founding of the Festival and his love for the process. He started the AAFF out of his pure desire to expose people to the art of experimental film and bring the culture of the film festival to Ann Arbor. 


- Born on September 29, 1931 in Boston's North End

- At the University of Michigan it took 9 years for them to let him start teaching film, and even then he did not get paid

- He founded the Aid to Arts of Nicaragua after he served as Cultural Representative of U.S. to Nicaragua in the 1980s

- Member of the Once Group in Ann Arbor- “artists and architects and musicians and dancers who were making work together in the early ‘60s and late ‘50s”

- Won a Clio award (1982) for his admissions video, "Father Guido Sarducci on Art School,” when he was the Dean at the San Francisco Art Institute.


Dr. Chicago

Sample from private collection

Manupelli - IMDB

“Remembering George Manupelli” Blog

The Michigan Daily - Interview with George Manupelli

53rd AAFF Program

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