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Live Cinema at the AAFF

The live cinema performance Ritual for Biological Media by Debora and Jason Bernagozzi is a continuation of the artists’ Ritual for Hybrid Media.

A Word from our Director

The Ann Arbor Film Festival thrives at the edges of film art. In addition to three juror presentations, nine special curated programs, and 26 competition programs of edgy, mind-bending and boundary-pushing films, we are delighted to bring several live cinema shows to the upcoming festival, March 26–31.

Performances by Sophie Trudeau and Michaela Grill, as well as Debora and Jason Bernagozzi, will be featured in Films in Competition 4 on Wednesday, March 27, on the Michigan Theater main stage. Preceded by four short films in competition, each performance will demonstrate a distinct approach to mixing sound and image in real time, in the moment, for the live audience.

Ritual for Biological Media by Debora and Jason Bernagozzi explores real-time sound- and image-processing with video, audio, and other electronic forms. The performance will feature custom-made, real-time analog and digital processing tools created in part by Jason Bernagozzi for the performers’ nonprofit residency center, Signal Culture.

Sophie Trudeau (of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and Michaela Grill will present glimmer, an improvisational work designed to engulf the audience in images – generated live using a laptop computer – mixed with live sounds of electronics and violin. The duo aims to “explore audiovisual worlds filled with fragile structures of melody and shadows of images.”

James Snazell will perform “a duel between a 16mm projector and a digital recording from a 16mm analytic projector.” Milk Drops 2 will be presented during an Off the Screen! reception at the Ann Arbor Art Center on the afternoon of Thursday, March 28.

On Sunday, March 31 at 1pm, preceding the World Premiere of Philip Hofman’s feature film vulture, Fulla Abdul-Jabbar will perform Why did you cry when you read that poem. The artist explores yet another intermedia hybrid through the intersection of live spoken word with experimental powerpoint video.

In a Free Sound Field by Monteith McCollum, presented as part of the Films in Competition 16 screening on Sunday, March 31, is an experimental documentary “about a home filled with rare art objects from around the world, in which a disjunctured set of tales unravel about the travels of collector Don Boros.” It is also an interactive event that activates audience members’ iPhones with additional sounds and visuals, shaping the film and audience experience in very different ways sonically, visually, and conceptually.

The AAFF afterparties will also venture into live cinema terrain with a Friday night magic lantern and noise music show and a Saturday night VJ/DJ set.

Melissa Ferrari and Sam Gurry, performing as Saint Victoria’s Incorruptible Body at the Club Above, will project an impassioned wall of sound through voice and guitar. Handmade and antique mechanical magic lantern slides – with imagery ranging from phantasmagoria to the cosmos – will set the stage for them to summon the spirit of St. Victoria.

Library Music by Jared Van Eck, aka microluv – with live-mixed visuals by Camilo Gonzalez – at Circ Bar will take a deep dive into the rare and fascinating world of library music. Heard on television, on radio, and in film, library music encompasses every genre, from classical to funk and experimental electronic and much, much more.

You are invited to find out more about live cinema performance art at a free salon session on the morning of Wednesday, March 27, at North Quad Space 2435. The Artist Roundtable will feature James Snazell and other Off the Screen! performers discussing their work with each other and the audience.

While live cinema’s roots can be found in pre-cinematic forms, it exists at the bleeding edge of experimental film art today. Please check it out and let us know what you think!

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