"AAFF is a remarkable festival for a number of reasons, but what really stands out is its willingness to go where artists want to take it. Its diverse slate and communal atmosphere suggest an embrace of contemporary cinema’s multifaceted nature that very much allows for conflict and contradiction among the various films and filmmakers."
As it has evolved over the past several years, AAFF has become a significant and essential research exhibition in contemporary non-commercial cinema with significant retrospectives that provide a context for the contemporary work.... Now that I am Dean of the School of Film/Video at CalArts, and since so many students, alums, and faculty screen at AAFF, I feel an even deeper commitment, a responsibility in a way, to AAFF as a hub of film, video, and hybrid forms both in and out of the theater.
Dean, School of Film/Video, California School of the Arts
"At other festivals, your film might screen in front of just a few people. In Ann Arbor, your film shows in a packed, beautiful theater. When that big audience laughs and cheers and then asks you really good, thoughtful equations afterward, it’s incredible, unlike any other festival I’ve been to."
maker of award winning Our Nixon (Current Magazine)
"Sometimes challenging, sometimes pretentious, sometimes exciting, it's a unique cinematic experience that doesn't have the advantage of commercial or celebrity forces to drive audience interest. The festival truly rises or falls on the work it presents and the success of its outreach to local audiences."
Attending the Ann Arbor Film Festival is a bit like stepping into a parallel universe. Here, dialogue and narrative lie on the margins, while abstract animation and ethnographic documentary take center stage. Absent are movie stars, paparazzi, and bidding wars: here, a “big name” is someone like Peggy Awesh or Lewis Klahr. It’s as if this one week in March at the historic Michigan Theater, just a couple blocks away from the University of Michigan campus, had even carved out of normal space-time and given over to the love of film as art.
For me, it’s an oasis of bizarre creativity, profound insight, and luscious imagery in a dreary winter-trodden landscape. It feels like a big city event, and the fact that it’s timed with our emergence from the date bitter days of winter makes the experience that much sweeter.
Brillig Dry Bar (Current magazine)
"AAFF’s scale is unique, both in the number of films represented and in the enthusiasm and size of the audience."
"I had a magnificent time at Ann Arbor. It’s one of the
most inviting, fun, and invigorating film festivals I’ve ever attended. The programming, the presentation, the rich social interaction, the community spirit, and just the positive energy of the whole festival easily convinced
me that I need to come back every year."
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive
While the offerings at the Ann Arbor Film Festival have changed over the years, it’s still very much about championing the small, arty films that crack the imagination back open. The AAFF still draws a large, engaged audience that values the festival’s commitment to the unusual.
FROM PAST INTERNS
This opportunity to work as a intern for the festival has really opened my eyes to the multi faceted role that an art administrator plays. Being an intern for the festival also reconfirmed that I am truly doing what I love and am passionate about. I don't think this would have all been possible without the support and trust that the staff gave me. This experience has allowed me to apply all of the undergraduate classes into practice. It was really amazing to see that the things I had been learning throughout my art administration studies were truly being used within the art world.
I am very thankful for a chance to intern with the AAFF. My goal was to learn more about video editing and the world of film in general, which was easily accomplished. I am also happy that the home of the AAFF is a building as beautiful as the Michigan Theater. Being able to work in and explore the Michigan Theater was a reward in itself. Lastly, one of the best parts of the internship was being able to work with everyone involved in the festival. Everyone was very kind, open-minded, and most of all, willing to learn and/or teach. The festival was exhausting, but everyone could feed off of each other’s company and energy which is a great thing.
"It has been one of the best opportunities in my life and has reaffirmed my commitment to the arts. My overall mission is to expand people’s understanding of themselves through artistic expression. I have come to realize that one of the best ways I can make it happen is by working with community leaders to get projects, festivals, museums and many more things funded."
"I had no idea what an enjoyable experience it would be. It was a lot of hard work but ultimately rewarding both personally and from a work aspect point of view. Working with fellow interns and the AAFF team was a lot of fun and taught me a lot of key skills for future employment."
I had an incredible time. It was inspiring to be surrounded by such a talented, eclectic mix of a filmmakers and artists. The festival was beautifully run and an absolute honour to be part of. I'd love to have a chance to intern at the AAFF again.
ABOUT THE TOUR
Bringing the Ann Arbor Film Festival Touring Package to the Columbia College Chicago campus has always been an exciting event for students and faculty. The student-run Experimental Film Society at CCC likes to promote the highly creative films of the AAFF Touring Package in order to encourage fellow students to push the limits in their own work and expand the notion of cinema. The screening also functions as a membership drive and organizes students to make a pilgrimage to the annual Ann Arbor Film Festival where they often get the chance to meet the same filmmakers exhibited on the AAFF Touring Package.
"Hosting the annual AAFF Tour Programme has become a highlight of the screening calendar on the Edge Hill University campus, with audiences packed into the Studio Theatre of the Arts Centre each year. The Tour allows our filmmaking students to experience a range of films that they might not otherwise see, and has encouraged many to embrace more experimental approaches in their own practice. For the general audience from the local area, though, the programmes provide an opportunity to appreciate the variety of film that thrives beyond the mainstream."
Edge Hill University
FROM PAST VOLUNTEERS
"I enjoyed meeting artists from around the world; feeling part of helping to make a great Ann Arbor event take place."
"It is a fantastic opportunity to meet interesting, creative,
community minded people and reminds me why I love this town
so very much!"
"I enjoyed the opportunities to meet filmmakers and others as well as being able to experience a good number films at the festival."
"Always nice to host the filmmakers. I especially appreciated the other volunteers who took them to and from the airport."
"Meeting other people interested in this kind of film/filmmaking; being able to help support the festival; networking; free passes."
"Meeting all the creative & fun people within the Ann Arbor
community that get involved!"
"I loved having the chance to talk with the filmmakers and get an inside look at the festival."
"We really enjoy meeting the fascinating people who come for the
festival and request housing. We have hosted for about 7 years
and plan to continue as long as possible."
"I enjoy meeting and getting to know the various film makers as well as all those involved with the festival, volunteers, board members, Michigan Theatre folks, festival goers, etc."
"I always enjoy taking the filmmakers in, out and around. Fern is a wonderful guest. We were so proud to have him for a 3rd year.
And our little cooperative seems a curiously fun place to most
folks who visit, and we enjoy that too. The perks are wonderful as well. Our house bonded over seeing Fern's film and one or two
other excellent programs facilitated by the passes y'all gave us."
"Meeting interesting creative people. Serving as a sort of tour guide and ambassador for living in Ann Arbor."
"I enjoyed meeting artists from around the world and feeling part of helping to make a great Ann Arbor event take place."