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Edge Hill University at Ann Arbor 2024

April 11, 2024


Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England, sponsors the Ann Arbor Film Festival annually and sends three interns to help with development and operational tasks during festival week. Coordinated by EHU Professor Owen Evans each year, this collaboration provides an amazing opportunity for students. For the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival, Laura Atkinson, Zeke Creese, and Georgia Wood represented the university. 


Installation of blinds at North Quad with (left to right) Dan Gunning (AAFF Tech Staff), Zeke Creese, Tom Bray (AAFF Tech Director), Georgia Wood, and Abby Knox (Program Intern)


As interns, we had the amazing opportunity to experience this cinematic experimental spectacle. On our initial day, we worked under the guidance of Tom Bray to construct a set of blinds for a live cinema performance by Scott Stark and Kamila Kuc called The Last Forever which consisted of a mix between projected film footage on the screen and an in-person hula-hooping performance. This activity served as an effective icebreaker, allowing us to interact and get comfortable with the staff and volunteers. 


Zeke and Georgia worked on support tasks and were the equivalent of “runners” on a film set. Some of their tasks included a “What We Saw” installation, which presented audience members’ written and drawn thoughts shared on a monitor for all to see. Laura had a different role, returning to the festival for a second time. This year Laura had the job of “PR Assistant”, working closely with deputy director Scott Boberg. Her responsibilities included coordinating with press contacts across the world to ensure that they had a seamless festival experience. Throughout the week all three worked closely with the staff to ensure that everything was going according to plan, including ticketing and ushering for festival-goers. 


[Georgia, Laura, Scott, Zeke]


Our journey through the 62nd Ann Arbor has been transformative and incredible, offering an insider perspective into the world of film festival organization. Everyone we met, festival participants and staff members alike, made sure we felt welcome in Ann Arbor.


Laura

I am so grateful I had the opportunity to return to the Ann Arbor Film Festival! Scott Boberg, the festival’s deputy director, hired me as a press intern, working remotely from August 2023 right up to the festival. The internship has been rewarding, and I am excited to stay on board as a screener for future festivals - and hopefully return in person someday soon!  


Festival week flew by and was a huge success! Pinpointing a particular favourite is difficult, but Is Heaven Blue? #2 (Menno de Nooijer and Paul de Nooijer) was moving and memorable. It was presented in Films in Competition 6: Animation, a popular night amongst festival-goers, curated by the amazing former intern Rose Albayat! I was so excited to see it was rightfully awarded the George Manupelli Founder’s Spirit Award. 


Film still: Is Heaven Blue #2

Zeke

The thing I loved most about the festival was getting to meet so many lovely and interesting people. With this being my first time in the U.S.A, I appreciated the welcoming nature of nearly everyone in the city of Ann Arbor. It helped me settle in a lot quicker than I was expecting. My favourite day of the festival may have been Sunday, which served as a heartwarming celebration for the filmmakers present with the awards screenings. Chasing Birds (Una Lorenzen) stood out as my personal festival favourite which captivated me with its unique visuals and artistry.


Still from Chasing Birds

Georgia

I am thoroughly grateful for being able to be a part of this amazing festival! I had heard about the festival’s partnership with the festival for a few years but this year was the first chance I was able to apply. This was an extremely enriching experience that I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere else - not just through seeing the variety of films screened and meeting the new generation of filmmakers, but also learning about the local culture of Ann Arbor and the other side of the film festival process (something filmmakers wouldn’t always get the chance to see). One thing I will say about the festival was the inclusive atmosphere generated from everyone. Everyone was just so incredibly nice. Before going into the festival, I also had my own admiration towards film as a medium, and it was very fulfilling to see films still utilising the medium on the big screen. 


Finding a favourite is extremely difficult, however if I had to decide I would choose the film The Poem of E. L. by the lovely Maya Gurantz, which particularly stood out to me due to its psychoanalytical perspective (something that has always appealed to me within cinema). This experience has been something I truly will never forget, and I really hope I will be able to return next year. 


Still from Poem of E.L.


We’d like to give our heartfelt thanks to Leslie Raymond, Scott Boberg, Kailey Radwan, and everyone else with whom we worked closely during festival week. Their dedication and efforts made our journey through the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival incredibly rewarding. We would also like to thank our hosts Tony and Lauren DeRosa for welcoming us to Ann Arbor and letting us stay in their guest house: we hope you enjoyed the festival as much as we did. Because of this experience, our outlook on the festival's intricate workings has been enriched.

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