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Free Programs at the 60th AAFF

Published March 22, 2022

Opening Night is here!

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) is excited to share the free programs available during festival week, March 22-27, 2022. Included in the AAFF’s free offerings are Off the Screen! (OTS!) installations, speaker series events and juror programs.

Feature in Competition 10 Questions for Henry Ford is also available for free for Michigan Theater Foundation members. The film screens on Saturday, 3/26 at 5:15pm in the Michigan Theater Main Auditorium.

Below you can find all the free things AAFF has to offer this week!


111 South 4th Avenue

Viewable from the street

Thunder Scene | Vijay Masharani

A single-channel video loop of the front of a wrecked 1983-88 Ford Thunderbird that appears to have been set on fire. Each passing car has been removed; their presence is registered through their headlights and brake lights illuminating the broken glass on the ground and the body of the Thunderbird.

Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC)

117 West Liberty Street Viewable from the street

Metamorphism | Manda Moran

This video installation reveals the hypnotizing interplay between light and metamorphic rocks through movement.

A graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts, Manda Moran is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans film, photography, and installation. Her GIF installation Laser Loops premiered at the 2016 Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is an MFA candidate in Cranbrook’s 3D design department and a 2018 Applebaum Photography fellow.

A2AC Aquarium Gallery

Next to the Ashley Street Exit of the S. Ashley Street Lot

Viewable from the street

Inside the Box (Outside the Box) | Jeremy Liesen & Matt Wilken

The Inside the Box (Outside the Box) installation explores how technology can shape our ideas of connection, collaboration and cooperation, while moving us away from past perceived boundaries.

Michigan Theater

603 East Liberty Street

March 22-27 (Festival Week)

Amalgamate! | Alexandra McDonald

A life-size, three-channel, interactive video sculpture. Three 32-inch TV monitors each display videos of a different segment of the body, the top monitor being the head, the middle the torso, and the bottom legs. Three buttons on the side of the monitors allow viewers to randomly flip through dozens of outfits and performances, creating a variety of different versions of just one person. All videos play on a loop, so viewers may stay and interact with the piece for as little or as long as they like.

Four Dreams | Natalia Rocafuerte

Artist Natalia Rocafuerte depicts the passing of time like the movement of a train across America. Her work highlights symbols and video aesthetics of Mexican-American culture like a pocho, a Mexican-American deemed not Mexican enough derived from a Spanish work meaning “spoiled fruit,” DIY graphic aesthetics, and Televisa Commercials from the ’90’s.

Persistent Wave | Noel Stupek

This year the grand foyer installation was fabricated while musing on the Manupelli launch, the persistent wave of Ann Arbor’s enthusiasm, and the celebration of this sixth decade of presenting inventive films.

U-M Institute for the Humanities Gallery

202 South Thayer Street #1111

March 16 - April 29 Mon–Fri 9am–5pm

How to Build a Disaster Proof House | Tracey Snelling

Artist Tracey Snelling contemplates the uncertainty, displacement and disenfranchisement that frames the present day, answering the question of how we can find a safe place protected from bad weather in an era of floods, fires and pandemics. In partnership with the U-M Institute for the Humanities Gallery.

Snelling will create a mobile unit of How to Build a Disaster Proof House for Opening Night of the AAFF, placed in front of the Michigan Theater.

U-M North Quad Space 2435

105 South State Street

March 22-27, 2022 (Festival Week)

Tue - Thu: 12pm - 5:30pm

Fri: 9:30am - 5:30pm

Sat: 10am - 5:30pm

Sun: 10am - 2pm

Deep Sophia | Yvette Granata

A three-channel interactive installation that remixes the film close-up by using facial recognition technology to map the face of Sophia Robot onto the faces of actors in historical films. Rather than a “deep fake” video, the superimposition of Sophia’s face onto the nuanced emotional performances of human actors creates a series of deeply strange facial expressions that are not anatomically possible for a human face.

New Voices

Featuring work by students from the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI); Edge Hill University (Ormskirk, UK); the University of Michigan Department of Film, Television, and Media in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (Ann Arbor, MI); and the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design (Ann Arbor, MI).

OPTX.drips | Maxime Corbeil-Perron

OPTX.drips is a media archeological work that features an outdated optical technology and an obsolete media revisited through digital technology. This installation explores the notion of an optical texture that is only visible using anaglyph stereoscopy (3D, red/cyan), thereby transforming flat projection surfaces into optical membranes that are rich in relief and depth, and with an abstract and expressive aesthetic.

Sign Stealing | Megan Young

Artist Megan Young introduces the Sign Stealing project, considering aerial surveillance and predictive policing through creative practice and public experiments. A series of experimental shorts feature footage from semi-autonomous drones tracking participants playing simple games in public spaces. They point to the entrenched culture of surveillance in the United States and to the general acceptance of this behavior. They include AI data processing iconography and text-based reminders that these technologies, for better or worse, are shaped through human experience. Combining kinesthetic exploration and political activism, the images, patterns, and boundaries reflect visions for a free and limitless future.

Uku Pacha | Diego Bonilla

Uku Pacha showcases a clever generative approach to the production of cinematic narratives. It tells the story of three people on a road journey through the Ecuadorian Andes: a businessman, a journalist, and the son of a politician. As the plot moves forward, the passengers seem caught in time loops, or a multiplicity of journeys, and start questioning why they were summoned, why together. As it turns out, for each of the main characters the recurring dream is closer to a recurring nightmare, although for different ethical reasons.

U-M Stamps Gallery

201 South Division Street

Wed–Sat 11am–5pm

Close but Not Touching

A group show featuring new works in interdisciplinary installation, video, and sculpture from University of Michigan MFA candidates Nick Azzaro, martha daghlian, Razi Jafri, Natalia Rocafuerte, Kristina Sheufelt, Ellie Schmidt, and Georgia b. Smith.

Speaker Series

Tuesday, March 22 (Opening)

Film Art Forum

3pm | Filmmakers & Guests

AAFF Filmmakers and festival guests present 20 slides for 20 seconds each, resulting in a series of 6 minute talks that vary in subject while seeking to explore cinema as an art form.

Wednesday, March 23

Wednesday, March 23

Shifting Perspectives

1:35pm | Ariel Dougherty, Emily Martin, & Julia Yezbick

AAFF Special Program curators discuss programming with diverse perspectives in order to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the film festival community worldwide.

Thursday, March 24

Rooted Not Retro Redux

1pm | Gerry Fialka

Gerry Fialka hosts AAFF alumni interconnecting their favorite films with past and current times. Survey meta-influencers nurturing community and new ways to view film. How does AAFF shape your behavior?

Lydia Lunch / No Wave

5:30pm | In conversation with Joseph Keckler

In a mix of prose-performance and discussion with Joseph Keckler, this rebel-spirited presentation will explore the vibrant ‘movement’ known as No Wave. Part of the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series.

Friday, March 25

Looking to the Future: University Engagement and the Next Generation

10am–11am | University Faculty Partners

Join Ann Arbor Film Festival staff and partnering university faculty partners and their students for a roundtable discussion about collaborations between the film festival and educational institutions, both locally and further afield.

Experimental Media in the 21st Century

11am–12pm | Joey Lopez

Joey Lopez is an Associate Professor of the Practice at Texas A&M and Director of the Department of Communication’s Media & Gaming Lab. This panel will consist of university student experimental media makers who create for multiple platforms, venues, and audiences.

Tales on Tape

1pm | Lydia Lunch & Joseph Keckler

Lydia Lunch and Joseph Keckler present a selection of videos, some accompanied by live performance, highlighting the diversity of, and finding links among, their respective multimedia projects.

Saturday, March 26

Online Film Forum

9am ET | AAFF Filmmakers

A group of international filmmakers will join us online to present perspectives on cinema as an art form. Followed by an interactive Q&A. Online Only.

Sign Stealing

11am | Megan Young

Artist Megan Young introduces the Sign Stealing project, considering aerial surveillance and predictive policing through creative practice and public experiments. A series of experimental shorts feature footage from semi-autonomous drones tracking participants playing simple games in public spaces.

Sunday, March 27

Speakers, filmmakers, and film enthusiasts mixer


Join us at the tail end of the festival for a short get together to solidify connections between filmmakers and attendees of the 60th AAFF.

What the Hell Was That?

11:45am–12:45pm | Daniel Herbert

This panel discussion has been an Ann Arbor Film Festival favorite for more than a decade. It began when a filmmaker overheard an audience member declare, “What the hell was that?” after viewing his film. An enlightening discussion ensued, and the idea for the panel was born.

Juror Programs

Wednesday, March 23 | 3pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

*Free in-person, sliding scale online

If, as Jalal Toufic wrote about Lebanese art after the civil war, the only tradition left to master past a surpassing disaster is the tradition of surpassing the disaster, what do we do when it seems, as Julia repeats in H.D.’s novel Bid Me to Live, that “the war will never be over” and the credits never roll on the disaster movie omnibus of the 21st century? What if we never reach the aftermath? In this 20th year of the “global war on terror,” in the midst of an Afghan crisis both more acute than any I have experienced as an adult and horribly familiar from my childhood, I have been wondering what traditions can be invoked to surpass this fresh disaster. I’ve assembled here some of my earlier work that calls on filmstrips as material witnesses, queries the codes of disaster narratives, parses the experience of war at a distance, and evokes the spirits of radical communitarians. – Mariam Ghani

Short films from 1980–2020 in 4 chapters

Thursday, March 24 | 3pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

*Free in-person, sliding scale online

Short films from 1980–2020 in 4 chapters: “Naive / cinema-analytic phase” (1980–1990) with self-taught super 8 films. “Academy years” (1989–1994) during studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. “Split screen years“ (1994–1998) executed directly in the 16mm camera by using multiple exposure and hand-cut masks. “Restart, remix and renewal” (2010–present) internationally most successful works, including his last film DONT KNOW WHAT.

Gina Kamentsky: That Went Fast

Friday, March 25 | 1pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room

*Free in-person, sliding scale online

In this selection of 14 handmade animated films, Kamentsky explores relationships between sound and structure, rarely passing the three-minute mark. Films in this chronological screening reflect her interest in film, collage, rotoscope, stop-motion, and the limitations of drawing within the film frame. In her soundtrack work she experiments with found sounds, spoken elements, and field recordings, employing the soundtrack to shape the structure of her films. Kamentsky’s most recent films represent a departure from her work with found footage and explore movement, light, and space, combining pixilation, time-lapse video, and stop-motion. This screening includes a world premiere of her latest film, Pony Henge.


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