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Ann Arbor Film Festival Receives Grant from Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation to Build Media Literacy Education Program in Washtenaw County High Schools

June 27, 2011 Ann Arbor, MI - The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) was recently awarded a $16,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) to build a media literacy education program for Washtenaw County high schools (For the complete list of AAACF grant awards please visit:

The AAFF is developing this program to provide area high school students with the opportunity to view independent, artist made film to increase their critical viewing skills, expand their exposure to non-commercial media, and build an appreciation for the arts. The program will, according to AAFF Executive Director Donald Harrison, “help counterbalance teen media diets that are saturated with too much commercial content and strengthen their ability to analyze and appreciate what they see on the screen.” The AAFF estimates this new program will reach 300 – 500 area high school students.

In winter 2010 and 2011 the AAFF conducted several after-school media literacy workshops in three area high schools (Ypsilanti High, Willow Run High and Wayne Memorial High) with support from EMU Institute’s Bright Futures program. These workshops were positively received by participating students and educators, and will serve as the foundation for this expanded program. AAACF’s grant will give the AAFF the capacity to expand the program’s workshops to eight Washtenaw County high schools during the 2011-12 academic year. Many of the participating students will also have the opportunity to attend the family-friendly Saturday program at the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival on March 31, 2012.

The AAFF will hire a person skilled in media arts and education for a part-time position to coordinate and implement the program:

For more information about the program, please contact Donald Harrison at the Ann Arbor Film Festival: 734-995-5356.

About the AAFF

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, internationally recognized as a premier showcase for film as an art form. The AAFF is a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour, and each year visits more than 35 theaters, universities, museums and art house cinemas around the world. In recent years the AAFF has expanded to offer year round screenings, educational programs and distribute short artist-made films through its DVD collections. The festival's mission is to support bold, visionary filmmakers, advance the art form of film and new media, and engage communities with remarkable cinematic experiences. For more information, please visit

About the AAACF

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is dedicated to enriching the quality of life in our region through its engaged grant making, knowledgeable leadership, and creative partnerships with donors – to make philanthropic investments and build endowment. Founded in 1963, AAACF manages more than $60 million in assets on our community’s behalf and has awarded more than $21 million in grants and scholarships - $1.7 million in 2010. AAACF's continued success is a tribute to the thousands of community members - donors, volunteers, committee members and advisors - whose continued support and efforts help us meet the changing needs of our community - For good. For ever. For more information, please visit

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