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Turning a New Leaf

A Word from Our Executive Director

It’s nearly autumn in the northern hemisphere, with the equinox approaching sometime in the next week, depending on where you live. Here in Ann Arbor, school is back in session, and the festival office is buzzing with a full cadre of interns. We are thrilled to be engaging students (and one recent grad!) from the College for Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan. They study film, graphic design, communications, business, the humanities, English, and sociology, to name a few. Check out their polaroids above!

Innovative films are streaming in from all around the world, and the review process is underway. We welcome our newly oriented screeners alongside returning veterans. For more on the details of the screening process at AAFF, please check out my August 15 blog post.

The energy of the festival is starting to form, much like the precious particles of dust and gas that will one day become a bright, shining star. Our thinking is very focused on the things we will present come springtime, whether on the screen of the darkened theater or through installations around town, in storefront windows and galleries. It is the anticipation of sharing the best in moving image art with our community that energizes and motivates us.

Staff changes are also afoot. Katie McGowan has resigned as AAFF Program Director, and we are sad to see her go. We are proud, as well, that she will continue making enormous contributions to the arts community at a philanthropic arts organization in Detroit. We are grateful for the two years that she served with us. Katie brought an expanded sensibility that encouraged and welcomed people of all backgrounds and experiences. We appreciate her work in opening up the forum to a broader array of artists and filmmakers. She made way for a wider variety of voices and visions at the festival.

At the same time, we welcome Angela Lenhardt to the team as our new Operations Manager. Angela comes to us from a five-year run at the Ann Arbor Art Center, including four years as the ceramics studio manager. There, she supervised more than 200 students, instructors, employees, and work-study students. We are thrilled to have her at the AAFF, which Angela first attended 20 years ago. She has volunteered for the festival since 2013, most recently as chair of the membership committee. Angela is a great fit for the organization, and we think you will enjoy working with her.

Happy fall!

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