The 56th Ann Arbor Film Festival has an amazing lineup of 10 feature films that will be in competition this year! Documentaries take center stage this year, many of which grapple with everlasting wounds from past events. Those Who Come, Will Hear proposes a unique meeting with the last remaining speakers of several indigenous languages of Quebec—all threatened with extinction. Annik Leroy’s TREMOR - Es ist immer Krieg, a sensory journey between memory and nightmare, explores the pain of the Holocaust through gorgeous yet melancholic black and white images and voiceover. Director Travis Wilkerson’s dive into his own family’s past exposes a shameful act of racial violence in Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?
Past tragedies are also chronicled in this year’s documentary features. Strike a Rock portrays two women fighting back against the powers that be after police kill 37 striking mine workers during the 2012 Massacre in the South African community of Nkaneng, Marikana. In another feature, documentarian Rong Guang Rong’s tumultuous investigation in Children Are Not Afraid of Death, Children Are Afraid of Ghosts asks a truly disturbing question: Why would a group of young children commit group suicide?
(Still from The Big House)
Filmmaking talents from the U-M Screen Arts and Cultures Department are highlighted this year with their film The Big House, a direct cinema documentary which examines the inner workings of Michigan Stadium against the backdrop of the 2016 election.
(Still from The Impossible Picture)
This year’s features also do an amazing job of blending reality and fantasy. Kabir Mehta’s BUDDHA.mov, an interactive cross-media project turned social experiment, follows the life of Buddhadev Mangaldas, a Goa cricketer. The Impossible Picture, an experimental documentary narrative shot on 8mm, ponders the camera’s gaze as a 13-year-old girl chronicles her grandmother’s secret life. Rough Remote Rumble depicts the stone-purifying process that filmmaker Jorge López Navarrete’s stonecutter ancestors practiced. Finally, Honane, an experimental fantasy directed by Takuya Dairiki and Takashi Miura, rounds out the features. For details on when and where to catch this amazing set of features—and more—check the full schedule.