The 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) will be presented as a free live-streamed six-day event March 24-March 29, 2020. Due to growing health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, we made the decision to suspend all in-person events for the 58th AAFF and instead present short and feature films in competition entirely online for the safety of our community. The online event will be streamed through Vimeo. Moderated live Q&As with filmmakers will be streamed following the film screenings in order to continue discourse between filmmakers and our audience.
Jurors will fulfill their commitment of reviewing programmed films in competition in order to confer the $22,500 in awards. In order to make sure that all films are judged fairly, the jurors will be sent a hard drive with folders corresponding to the program of screenings so they can see all the films in the context designed by our programmer. We are asking them to find the best, most consistent viewing environment they can, and to watch all the films in the same conditions. Jurors are motivated to engage in discussions throughout the process, just as they would in our typical festival setting.
“We did explore options of canceling the festival entirely and rescheduling. We just don't have the resources available to both hold the 58th AAFF while planning for next year's 59th AAFF at the same time,” said Festival Director, Leslie Raymond. “Even though we are 58 years old, we are a tiny organization with a team of three full-time employees, a festival assistant, and a crew of interns. Once we tie up loose ends after the festival week concludes, it does take us the whole year to put the next festival together.”
“Our commitment to the filmmakers, the art of moving image, and to our audience is too strong to throw everyone’s hard work away. The filmmakers deserve to have their work seen by an audience and by our jurors in consideration of the awards."