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Locally based in a college town that is ranked as one of the best cities for liberals nationwide, the AAFF is nurtured by the atmosphere and the local talents in Ann Arbor and in Michigan. This year, the 54th AAFF is excited to see many local artists engaged in our program through various artistic channels—films, installations, live performances, etc. The AAFF is grateful for their contributions and also amazed by these impressive and vibrant local talents.

The Regional Films in Competition program will screen on Sunday, March 20th at 11am and features shorts from filmmakers living in Michigan and Northern Ohio. The program is guest-curated by Milwaukee-based filmmaker and programmer Ben Balcom.

Detroit-based multi-media artist and educator Scott Northrup will present an 9-channel found footage video installation titled Where The Boys Are (2015) at the Ann Arbor Art Center's Aquarium Gallery. Northrup is also featured in the fifth episode of CTN's "Let's Watch with the Ann Arbor Film Festival" series and is available to watch here. Also featured is Encore Records storefront window installation Music in Heaven and Magic on Earth (2016) by Tom Carey who will also open the 11am Saturday morning Family Friendly program with a live performance using shadow puppets and hand drawn transparencies.

Saturday’s 2pm Expanding Frames workshop, “Shoot, Scratch and Stomp: Let’s Play With Film!” will be presented by Joel Rakowski and Barbara Twist. Rakowski's film Drive In, produced in collaboration with Terri Sarris, who teaches in the University of Michigan Screen Arts & Cultures Department, will have its world premiere at the Opening Night Screening on Tuesday March 15. Twist is also a Detroit artist, and member of the AAFF Community Partner the Final Girls, a women's filmmaker collective in Detroit. Manda Moran, also a member of Final Girls, will be showing her series of animated GIFs Laser Loops (2015) at the Expanding Frames Exhibition at North Quad Space 2435.

Local talent fuels exciting expanded cinema presentations at our afterparties, where various local artists will be delivering live performances, including David Olsen (Wednesday March 16, The Ravens Club), Brandon Walley (Friday March 18, Hathaway’s Hideaway), and Simon Alexander-Adams (Saturday March 19, The Club Above the Heidelberg).

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