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Meet the 60th AAFF Jurors!

Published February 14, 2022

Every year, AAFF invites three different distinguished artists to view and award deserving films and filmmakers at the festival.

This year, our panel is comprised of accomplished artists Mariam Ghani, Gina Kamentsky and Thomas Renoldner. The three will attend the six-day festival, view 145 films in competition alongside the audience at the Michigan Theater and award over $23,300 in cash and in-kind awards. In addition, each juror will present a specially curated program of their own work during the festival that will be FREE and open to the public.

Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her shorts and multiple-channel work have been presented and collected by museums, biennials, and festivals including MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian, Documenta 13, the Sharjah Biennial, CPH:DOX, and IFFR. Her feature-length documentary What We Left Unfinished premiered at the Berlinale in 2019, screened at AAFF in 2020, and is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. She teaches at Bennington College.

Gina Kamentsky is an animator, kinetic sculptor, sound artist, and educator based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Over her three-decade career she’s progressed through numerous forms, including painting, drawing, and collaging on film; rotoscope; musique concrète; sound collage; stop-motion; and pixilation. Kamentsky’s films have screened at festivals worldwide, including Ottawa International Animation Festival, AAFF, Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and Animator Festival in Poznań, Poland. She is a visiting lecturer at SMFA at Tufts and Rhode Island School of Design.

Thomas Renoldner is an artist, educator, film historian, and the founder and director of the Best Austrian Animation Festival. He’s also the founder and co-curator of Animation Avantgarde, an international competition that began in 2009 at Vienna Shorts Film Festival. Born 1960 in Linz, Upper Austria, Renoldner studied psychology and educational theory before turning to painting and animation at the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna. Since 1992, Renoldner has conducted animation workshops and seminars with children and adults. He has led the Animation Lab at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna since 2004.

Juror Programs

All Juror Programs are FREE and open to the public. Programs will be presented in the Michigan Theater Screening Room.

Surpassing Disaster | Mariam Ghani

Wed 3/23 | 3pm

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? 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 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.

This program is presented in partnership with the Stamps Gallery

Many roads on the way to Funny Avant-Garde | Thomas Renoldner

Thu 3/24 | 3pm

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 Don’t Know What.

That Went Fast | Gina Kamentsky

Fri 3/25 | 3pm

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. This screening includes the world premiere of her latest film, Pony Henge.


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