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Although the next Festival won’t happen until March of next year, the AAFF is gearing up to welcome a new batch of prospective screeners for the 56th! With a simple, new and improved process for screening, it’s the perfect time to sign up!

Yes, screening is hard work, but it is also a lot of fun! You get to pore over hours of interesting and exciting movies, critique their strengths and weaknesses, and participate in a process that decides whether or not someone’s labor of love is accepted into the AAFF. I know, I know, it sounds like a daunting task, but the whole process is extremely rewarding! As for myself, I am dying to get started on my first few cases of movies so I can dig for those special films that would make the Festival!

As a new screener, I really did not know what to expect as I arrived at InfoReady’s offices for orientation. The first thing that I noticed was, at the ripe old age of 19, I was the youngest person in the room. And, as everyone made their introductions, my babe-in-the-woods fears deepened considerably. It seemed as if everyone there was either a professional filmmaker or a former AAFF bigwig. You can bet that I felt a bit trepidatious!

That melted away almost immediately when the InfoReady presentation started. Based on the questions posed to the presenter (as well as an occasional heckle from the audience) it became clear that the screening process in recent years had been a cumbersome affair, and plagued with technical difficulties. That seems to be all in the past now.

InfoReady, an Ann Arbor-based computer software company specializing in “innovative cloud-based solutions,” has crafted a truly intuitive screening platform, one that will continue to evolve and change for the better as the screening process continues throughout the coming months. As opposed to past years, the online viewing platform will be free from by inconvenient inter-tab information transfers, password confusion, and importing/exporting difficulties, which hindered many screeners in previous years. Confidential screener comments are a requirement with the new program. This ensures that the screeners express their thoughts on the film adequately as well as assigning numbered scores to a film. Not only that, but with the new system, you can screen from anywhere in the world (with a stable wifi connection)!

Screeners can earn tickets and passes in exchange for their respective levels of participation. The Festival asks that volunteers watch a minimum of 3 "cases" of film-- 120 films altogether. Depending on the makeup of your case, you can expect to spend about 10-12 hours each.

Besides receiving these material benefits, you will also be able to see an amazing assortment of films that you would not have had the ability to see anywhere else, and to connect with a diverse group of individuals from all corners of the world! It is truly a unique opportunity, and one that I am thrilled to embark on!

We ask that our screeners have previously attended the Festival at least once, and therefore have a familiarity with what we show at the AAFF. To become a screener and assist the continuation of this essential Ann Arbor art-scene staple, please email our Operations Manager Allison Buck at to get involved!

We hope to see you all at the next Festival!


Nicholas Grant

56th AAFF Marketing Assistant

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