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Special Programs at the 61st AAFF


Left-Handed Memories (still) | Michele Fleming | 1989 | included in MWF Decades


Each year the Ann Arbor Film Festival presents a series of specially curated film programs that have not been submitted for award consideration this year, but instead were built around a thematic idea by friends and artists of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The 61st AAFF presents a fascinating array of presentations on a variety of film topics. Visit this website on March 1 for a full listing of the films included in each program, bios of the curators, and more!


The root and the harvest/La raiz y la cosecha

WED 3/22 | 9pm | State Theatre 1

A mix of Mexican and Chicago films that speak to each other through long-term experience. Identity as a way of expanding time, connecting disparate times with images, opposing the immobility of ​​the past. | Una mezcla de películas mexicanas y de Chicago que hablan entre sí a través de una larga experiencia. La identidad como forma de expandir el tiempo, conectando tiempos dispares con imágenes, oponiéndose a la inmovilidad del pasado. Curated by Raul Benitez and Tzutzu Matzin.


Remembrance/Vacancy: The Films of Edward Owens

THU 3/23 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

The recent re-emergence of Edward Owens’ flash of experimental filmmaking in the New York avant-garde scene of the late ’60s has the potential to animate new discussions around a largely unknown and obscure(d) history of early Black experimental filmmaking. Despite the artistic merits of the work, Owens’ period as a young filmmaker was short-lived and his artistic career cut short by complicated personal issues. The program will be followed by a post-screening conversation with program curator Emily Martin and Dr. Jessica Ruffin.


Radical Curiosity: Short Films by Sam Green (2000–2021)

THU 3/23 | 9:00pm | State Theatre 1

Known for his feature films including The Weather Underground (2003) and 32 Sounds (2022), Sam Green is also a prolific storyteller in short-form documentary. This program highlights a selection of Green's shorts from 2000 to 2021. Visit the unmarked grave of an 18-year-old Hells Angels victim, explore the greatest pet cemetery in the world, watch fog envelop iconic San Francisco streets, and listen to the world around you with pioneering experimental composer Annea Lockwood. Green’s playful curiosity and eclectic approach guarantees something for everyone in this wide-ranging ode to grief, ephemera, history, and life itself.


Celluloid Body

FRI 3/24 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

Celebrating the meticulous craft of direct animation and handmade cinema, Celluloid Body offers a glance at an inventive type of experimental cinema that grows beyond its painted, scratched, and manipulated techniques. This program is a journey from celluloid to digital, surveying personal, sexual, and spatial narratives on screen. These films celebrate the textural experience between filmmaker and medium and the sensory experience between spectator and the creative process. Curated by Diana Sánchez Maciel in memory of Zane Timpson.


MFW Decades

SAT 3/25 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

The Millennium Film Workshop is a nonprofit organization invented, named, and founded in 1966 by filmmaker Ken Jacobs. He conceived Millennium as a community-based organization dedicated to providing open screenings, low-cost equipment rental, and training programs. MFW Decades features film and digital works selected from Millennium’s ongoing calendar of events with examples from almost every decade of its existence. Millennium continues to serve as one of the longest running artist-run workshops for independent and experimental cinema. Curated by Paul Echeverria.


Life ⇋ Ritual ⇋ Cinema

The Experimental Films of Donald Richie

SUN 3/26 | 12:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Donald Richie (1924–2013) spent most of his life in Japan and is credited with introducing the world to Japanese cinema. Best known as a prolific author, his books on Japanese film history, Ozu, and Kurosawa are considered classics. A queer man who found a safe haven in Japan, he delighted in the surreal. This particularly comes out in his experimental cinema, which he began making in the 1940s. By the 1960s, Richie was well respected as an organizer on the Japanese experimental film scene. This program introduces the other Richie, who was always sexy, strange, dirty, and quite amusing. Curated by Markus Nornes and Hannah Glass-Chapman.


Between Resilience and Resistance

SUN 3/26 | 3pm | State Theatre 1

Resistance refers to the ability to withstand a disturbance, while resilience is the capacity to recover after suffering from the disturbance. Systems of oppression such as gender, racial, and class discrimination thrive in countless forms across our planet. Each film in this program reveals a different vantage point to consider this dichotomy that allows revelations and revolutions to manifest. These projected images shine a light to reveal complexities in humanity’s intrinsic motivation to resist injustice and the resilience to persevere through time and space. Curated by Brandon Walley.


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