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AAFF Intern Spotlight #3: Meet Ione Calvin, Emma Burton, Abigail Knox, and MJ Johnson!

February 14th, 2024



This week we are concluding our intern spotlight introductions! Thank you to all the interns and what you have done to ensure that this year’s AAFF will be one to remember. We are excited for you to meet Ione Calvin, Emma Burton, Abigail Knox, and MJ Johnson!




Ione Calvin

Video Assistant


Ione is our Video Production Assistant for the 62nd AAFF! She is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Art and Design along with a minor in Global Media Studies. Her work focuses on experimental film and animation, multi-sensory design, and installation art. Ione is a DJ, loves to crochet, and has a cat named Alfie. 


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

I think I am most excited to see what it takes to make the film fest come together. I have been to 2 previous years' festivals, but I had no idea the amount of labor that goes on behind the scenes. Now that I do, it will give me a new perspective on the finished product!


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

Any and all Studio Ghibli films have left lasting impressions on me, but one that I remember watching religiously as a child was The Cat Returns. Something about the storyline was so magical to me as a child, and part of me wanted to be in the main character’s shoes. Living amongst sentient cats!


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

I would LOVE if a film about my life was set in the 80s Sci-fi realm. My biggest inspirations as an aspiring filmmaker are people like David Lynch and David Cronenberg, and having my life be portrayed in a similar fashion would make me very happy! I am not sure there is any other reason for this opinion other than I find films like these very fascinating.




Emma Burton

Operations Assistant


Emma is a Film, Television, and Media major at the University of Michigan, focusing specifically on producing. This is her second year with the AAFF and she’s excited to be back for this festival season! In her free time she loves to bake and explore the city.


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

Opening night! It is so fun to see all of the filmmakers come together to celebrate everyone's work.


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

The Gentlemen! Guy Ritchie does such an amazing job at the style of this film, and it really makes you think.


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

A Romcom definitely. There's always something comedic going on in my life.




Abigail Knox

Programs Assistant


Abby is our Programs Assistant this year! She is studying Art History at Columbia College Chicago and is passionate about working with nonprofit art organizations. She grew up in Ann Arbor and loves creative arts, especially charcoal and animation. 


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

I am excited to see so many of the amazing films we have programmed this year on the big screen, and to meet some of the incredibly talented filmmakers, performers, and artists who will be attending and participating in this year's festival. 


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

I grew up attending the Ann Arbor Film Festival and there have been so many films that have had a lasting impression. My earliest memories of watching films are a swirling of colorful lines and shapes crawling across the screen. Flash images of faces, bodies, and voices telling their stories in their own ways. In lieu of selecting a specific film I will say that growing up with the festival has given me a sense of the vastness of film, and consequently this planet that we live on. Being able to continuously witness the multitude of stories and artistic expression present at the festival has left a kind of undogmatic openness that I wear very proudly today. 


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

A film about my life would have to be an animated comedy-horror film. 




MJ Johnson

Operations Assistant


MJ is currently a senior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Film and Economics, with a minor in Scandinavian Studies. She is this year's Operations Assistant and enjoys working in the media industry. She also works with the Michigan Men’s Ice Hockey Team! She loves crafting, hockey, and music!


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

Animation night and being able to meet all of the filmmakers behind our lineup!


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

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a movie I remember loving as a child for its sense of adventure and reminder to never give in and always stay true to yourself. I used to watch it on repeat and would probably continue to do the same today.


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

A film about my life would be like a dark comedy thriller, where there's plenty of action and adrenaline in a roller coaster of highs and lows that you can't help but laugh at at times.

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