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From Screenings to Selections: Organizing the Animation Program

March 14th 2024

A Place without Fear | Susanne Deeken

As the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival approaches, now is the perfect time to reflect on some of the behind the scenes hard work that has been put into bringing the festival to life. As we are all eagerly anticipating the festival week, I am thrilled to reflect on my new role as a programmer while sharing bits and pieces about my previous role as a program assistant for the past two years.

Over the past couple of months, I reviewed all the animation films submitted to the festival and thoughtfully selected the films for the animation program. Many exceptionally great animation films with brilliant ideas and innovative techniques were submitted, making it challenging to finalize the program. For this, however, I would like to thank the screeners for their insightful comments and valuable inputs, which were significantly helpful in shaping the final program. And shoutout to Angela Lenhardt for facilitating the screening process and for her incredible patience!

I wasn’t very much involved in screening and programming as a program assistant. So as I immersed myself in programming experimental animation films, I found it stimulating to join the screening salons and to regularly meet with Leslie Raymond, Abigail Knox (current program assistant), and Bree Andruzzi (previous program assistant) to discuss our programs. As each one of us organized our respective program, it was amazing to witness how the festival was shaping up to once again be the mind-bending experience we’ve come to know and anticipate annually.

I am extremely excited for the festival attendees to watch the Films in Competition 8: Animation program either in person on March 29 at 9:30pm at Michigan Theater Main Auditorium or online March 20 - April 7! The program includes two unique symbiotic visual universes; an abandoned house in Detroit; a ceaseless wave of dissolution; Winnie the Pooh gives birth to a descendant; uncovering logic; a woman’s visual diaries; mark on the bodies of the three De Nooijers; and disembodied meaty legs. The eight selected films will immerse the audience in an experimental ride, evoking a range of emotions. While A Place without Fear will take you through a labyrinth of physical and emotional journey, St. Mickeyland will make you question the meaning of life, and The Expectation of the Observed will end the program with you dancing all the way to the after party!

Check out the rest of the Animation program films and purchase in-person or online tickets here.

If you’re interested in knowing more about my role as program assistant and the festival, you can read my post from September 2023. 


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