Featuring 40 programs ranging from the Saturday morning ‘Family Friendly’ screening to the LGBTQ spotlight, the Ann Arbor Film Festival has something for everyone! Films screening at this year’ s Festival come from more than 35 countries around the world including: Morocco, Thailand, UAE, India, Mexico, Germany, France, Spain, China, Japan, Argentina and the UK. Filmmakers in attendance at this year’s Festival are both native Michiganders, but also travel from as far as Colombia, the UK and Finland. The 54th will also feature a total of 55 premiers, including 22 World Premiers, 18 US Premiers and 22 North American Premiers.
Highlights of the 54th Festival include a rare first look at the newly restored works of Festival favorite, Curt McDowell. The Festival will screen fourteen feature-length films, including renowned filmmaker Jem Cohen's Counting and Lewis Klahr's 12-part feature-length anthology Sixty Six. The 54th Festival will also feature several films by Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) in commemoration for her work as an immensely influential filmmaker and artist, who contributed substantially to feminist and avant-garde cinema. Animator David OReilly, whose film Please Say Something was awarded the 48th AAFF Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film, developer of the video game Mountain, and creator of the Alien Child segment in Spike Jonze's Her (2013), will be the Penny Stamps Speaker (Thursday March 17th).
The 54th AAFF will also present a number of interactive and participatory artworks, made possible by new and old media technologies alike. Look for Grahame Weinbren's interactive cinema work 78 Letters, in which the helps determine the sequence of 1-minute clips, live in the theater (3:15pm, Sunday March 20);THETA, Flatsitter's new oculus rift virtual reality project inside of a giant inflated bubble; interactive sound and visual art sculpture sway by Fidelia Lam, involving custom modified hammocks with interactive audio/visual elements; and a very special expanded cinema presentation of Light Music (1975/1977), a work for two 16mm projectors and sound system by Lis Rhodes, at the Ann Arbor Art Center for two hours only (Friday March 18, 3-5pm).
This year’s Expanding Frames workshops and discussions, taking place at North Quad Space 2435, features DIY workshops such as the opportunity experiment with early analog video techniques as well as engaging discussions such as What the Hell was That, where viewers have the opportunity to discuss and engage with films on a deeper level.