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AAFF Intern Spotlight #1: Meet Danielle Havrilla, Rose Lee, Megan Cao, and Mae Bumpus!

January 24, 2024



I am delighted to introduce our wonderful cohort of interns for the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival season! Kicking off our first orientation in early September was a huge benefit in building AAFF into our interns’ busy schedules. With many of them attending in-person, and a few joining us virtually all the way from Chicago and the UK, our group was able to build strong connections from the very beginning.


AAFF emphasizes that “we are an EXCITING PLACE TO WORK, volunteer, and be involved - where individuals can grow and be supported,” and we really want the interns to feel that kind of involvement and opportunism this year.


Our bi-weekly check-in meetings this fall created space for the interns to connect with each other on a deeper level. In addition to delving into AAFF history and festival logistics, we learned, together, about our different communication styles, how to understand our unique perspectives on experimental film and moving image art in general, and worked through the film review process as a group with screening salons. Halloween and holiday parties allowed time for us to enjoy one another’s company outside of the expectations of work and spend time with one another as individuals. 


The festival cannot happen without the hard work and dedication of our interns who support everything from addressing submission inquiries to assisting with sponsorship outreach, and to collaborating on designs and press releases. Our interns are the spark that ignites the fiery soul of the festival. As a self-proclaimed scrappy festival, it seemed almost fitting that we began referring to our intern newsletter as “The Scrapyard™.” I am very excited to have everyone meet our wonderful Scapyardians in person, but in the meantime, read on in this and several upcoming posts to get to know them virtually!




Danielle Havrilla

Tech Assistant


Danielle graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2022 and studied Broadcast & Cinematic Arts with minors in Multimedia Design and Cinema Studies. Danielle is our Tech Assistant and worked with AAFF last festival season and during the AAFF Tour this past summer. She loves to read, puzzle, travel, and has an identical twin sister!


What aspect of the 62nd AAFF are you most excited to be a part of/most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to assisting with the tech side of the festival and meeting the filmmakers attending.


What’s the first film you remember watching that left a lasting impression on you?

I watched Inception for the first time in a psychology class I took in high school. After I watched it, I just thought it was crazy that you could tell a story like that in a film. I really like non-linear storytelling and films where you notice new things each time you watch them. There are so many pieces to connect in "Inception" that I always have to think about them each time I watch the film.


What genre and style would a film about your life be?

I think a film about my life would be a drama and either be a documentary style or an animation. I've always liked animation and some that I've seen have really good messages behind them. 




Rose Lee

Design Assistant


Rose is a graphic design student at Rhode Island School of Design and is currently taking a gap year here in Ann Arbor! She is involved in Fashion@Brown and DesignXHealth club at Brown University and RISD. Outside of design, she has passion for film, photography, and multimedia art. She is also obsessed with skincare and can give you any Korean skincare recommendations!


What aspect of the 62nd AAFF are you most excited to be a part of/most looking forward to?

I'm excited for film festival week! I volunteered for last year's film festival and got to meet many wonderful people! Despite the hectic schedule, I love meeting new people and sharing experiences!


What’s the first film you remember watching that left a lasting impression on you?

The very first movie I remember as a kid was Wizard of Oz. The technicolor transformation left me in awe. It was such a magical cinematic experience. Also, I would like to be transported via bubble like Glinda the Good Witch. 


One of the films that influenced me the most was Tarkovsky's Mirror (1975). Watching this was almost spiritual. Since then, I was hooked on slow, transcendental cinema from directors like Tarkovsky, Bergman, Bresson, and Wenders.


What genre and style would a film about your life be?

My life would probably be a black and white silent movie -- mostly because I don't talk much . . . but can be slow, dramatic, and exciting all at once.  




Megan Cao

Outreach Assistant


Megan is our Outreach Assistant for this year's festival. She is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Communications, Statistics, and Linguistics. Megan is also the announcer for the University of Michigan’s Men’s Club Hockey team!


What aspect of the 62nd AAFF are you most excited to be a part of/most looking forward to?

Talking with everyone that comes to the festival! There's always such a broad range of perspectives, from filmmakers, film buffs, and ordinary Michiganders that it's really cool to synthesize and understand what parts from a film each person has separately taken away from it. 


What’s the first film you remember watching that left a lasting impression on you?

Avatar. This might be because I was ten when I watched it, but I remember feeling really frightened of people who were blue and the weird (creepy) animals and then there were dinosaurs everywhere and then my family went home really happy but I was terrified of anything that ended in -saurus for years after that.


What genre and style would a film about your life be?

I'd want it to be a mockumentary -- complete with comedic zings and a laugh track. It's unfortunate when people don't laugh at my jokes, so I'd want a story about my life to make it crystal clear when to laugh so everyone can have a good time. 




Mae Bumpus 

Event Production Assistant


Mae just completed the Arts & Entertainment Management and Marketing program at Eastern Michigan University and is the Events Production Assistant for the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Mae loves working creatively and has four pets (two cats and two dogs). 


What aspect of the 62nd AAFF are you most excited to be a part of/most looking forward to?

As the event production assistant for the Ann Arbor Film Festival's 62nd season, I am most excited about the opportunity to work with all of the spectacular creators and audiences during our festival week. I can’t wait to witness the diverse and innovative films that will be showcased and meet both the hardworking people behind the pieces and the inquisitive audience members who will be watching in awe alongside me. Being a part of the team responsible for bringing these artistic works to the audience is truly exhilarating, and I look forward to contributing to the success of this festival.


What’s the first film you remember watching that left a lasting impression on you?

When I was about four years old, I would sneak into my baby brother’s bedroom where my parents had installed a Sharp TV VCR combo that they used to play movies on while rocking him to sleep. I watched a lot of movies on that TV. But there was only one that could keep me so close to the screen that I could feel the static tickling my nose. I have vivid, sporadic, and scattered green memories of the speeder bike chase scene from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I watched that movie almost on repeat growing up. It was amazing to me that you could have so many planets and so much action on one 13-inch screen. The sheer thrill of that chase, the vastness of the fictional galaxy, and the vivid colors and visual effects left an indelible mark, shaping my fascination with storytelling through film from a very young age.


What genre and style would a film about your life be?

If a film genre were to capture my life, it would embody the engaging style of a National Geographic documentary, infusing a sense of adventure and exploration. The fascination with life's intricacies and my candid nature aligns well with this format, allowing for an authentic portrayal of my experiences. I’m detail-oriented and intent on regimented planning, much in the same way as a documentary would be. Alternatively, a filming style like that of The Office could also encapsulate my daily life, as I often catch myself, in amusing or strange candid moments, breaking the fourth wall with an imaginary camera. My straightforward attitude, coupled with a penchant for detail and sporadic comedic interjections, lends well to a documentary-like style, where authenticity takes precedence over embellishment.

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