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AAFF Fundraiser Celebrates Ann Arbor's Rich Cinema History

The upcoming annual Ann Arbor Film Festival Fundraiser (Monday, March 6th, 2023, 7-9pm at Zingerman's Greyline) will celebrate our city’s rich cinema history by raising a toast to the student-run film societies that created and sustained a robust ecosystem for the presentation and viewing of film for the better part of the 20th century.

These film groups brought experimental, international, independent, and classic films to the University of Michigan campus, creating a fertile seedbed where the AAFF was conceived and flourished.

Representatives from Cinema II (Frank Uhle), Cinema Guild (Vicki Honeyman), and the Ann Arbor Film Co-Op (Philip Hallman) will share recollections of their involvement from this historic period.

Fundraiser Tickets: $175 per person

(A limited number of Student Tickets available at $25)

Tickets Available at the Door (RSVP encouraged).

All fundraiser proceeds will support the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 21-26 (online through March 29).

To attend, email with “Fundraiser” in the subject line. You can also mail a check to AAFF, PO Box 8232, Ann Arbor, MI 48107, or make a donation at and let us know that your contribution is for attending the Fundraiser (or just because you love AAFF!).

Your fundraiser ticket includes admission to the 61st AAFF Sneak Preview immediately preceding the fundraiser, taking place at 5:30pm at the Michigan Theater.

Further exploring Ann Arbor’s cinema history during festival week will be the panel discussion “Cinema Guild and Campus Film Societies: Their History and Legacy,” led by Frank Uhle on Friday March 24, 2023 at the U-M North Quad Space 2435. Frank’s forthcoming book Cinema Ann Arbor will occupy the heart of the session, featuring Hugh Cohen (Cinema Guild faculty advisor), Dave DeVarti (Alternative Action film series), Philip Hallman (Ann Arbor FIlm Cooperative), and Anne Moray (Film Projection Service).

As a special bonus, three screenings of 35mm and 16mm celluloid films will be held at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology auditorium, SKB 2500, the former “Nat Sci Auditorium,” where so many of the cinema club screenings took place.

Festival-week events that continue the celebration of Ann Arbor cinema culture history:

Cinema Guild and Campus Film Societies: Their History and Legacy

Friday March 24, 2023 | 3:30–4:30pm | University of Michigan North Quad 2435

round table moderator: Frank Uhle

participants: Hugh Cohen (Cinema Guild faculty advisor), Dave DeVarti (Alternative Action film series), Philip Hallman (Ann Arbor FIlm Cooperative), Anne Moray (Film Projection Service)

Cinema Ann Arbor author Frank Uhle will moderate a panel of former University of Michigan film society members. According to critic Leonard Maltin, from the early 1930s through the 1990s, these student-run groups helped make Ann Arbor “one of the most cinematically saturated communities in the country.” While fighting challenges from censors and administrators, they provided vital support to the festival, helped launch an underground filmmaking scene, and brought guests like Robert Altman and Frank Capra to campus.

Longtime festival projectionist Frank Uhle has made 8 mm films, helped archive the papers of Orson Welles, proofread Psychotronic Video magazine, and written about cultural history for Ugly Things and Pulp. Cinema Ann Arbor is co-published by Fifth Avenue Press and the University of Michigan Press.

Short Films in Competition 6: 35mm + 16mm

Friday March 24, 2023 | 5:30pm | University of Michigan SKB 2500

A program of 35mm and 16mm experimental, animated, and documentary films, featuring the world premiere of Philip Hoffman’s Deep 1, a fifty-year veteran of British film and television, one the most polluted zip codes in the US, the legacy of a utopian college, film layers and silver halides, the surface of the river, and field journal entries.

Up the River with Acid (Feature in Competition)

Saturday March 25, 2023 | 1pm | University of Michigan SKB 2500

After years of wandering the globe, the filmmaker’s parents have returned to his mother’s village in France. His father, who worked as a philosophy professor for 42 years, has slowly seen his cognitive abilities decrease and his daily life increasingly difficult to negotiate. Through a series of portraits we observe a man’s attempt to hold on to a rapidly shifting and alien world. Directed by Harald Hutter.

Darkness, Darkness, Burning Bright (Feature in Competition)

Saturday March 25, 2023 | 3pm | University of Michigan SKB 2500

Handmade and uniquely personal, this 16mm film in two parts explores a rural landscape with mythical connotations. First part: prelude. “Darkness, darkness, burning bright In the forests of the night. Vast flowered paths, fresh branches, Groves full of perfumes, birds and whispers, Site often seen again, and always contemplated....” Second part: Oraison. “Darkness, darkness, burning bright In the forests of the night And the mad impulse of this distraught soul, And that had, the forehead circled in copper, under the moon….” Directed by Gaelle Rouard.


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