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Special Programs at the 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival

March 15th, 2024

Music in the Air by Scott Stark | Expanded Cinema Performances

WED 3/27 | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater

Special Programs are curated presentations of films that have not been submitted for award consideration this year, but instead were curated around a thematic idea by friends and artists of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The following selection of special programs will be presented at the 62nd AAFF March 26-31 2024 in person only and are not available in the online festival. 

Visions from Colorado

Curated by Erin Espelie and Jennifer Peterson

WED 3/27 |  5pm | State Theatre 1

The intensity and quality of light in Colorado led visionary artist Stan Brakhage to experiment over several decades with film, editing, and evocation of place, from high in the mountains down to the plains. In turn, other Colorado-linked filmmakers—friends, colleagues, mentees, admirers, examiners—entered the same conversation with light and vision. Ten films, all touching the Rocky Mountain backbone, talk to one another across the stones and meltwater, as they track the ripples across layers of time.

What Are Words For?

Curated by Darrin Martin

WED 3/27 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

What Are Words For? considers ways in which an array of artists, most of whom identify in some way as disabled and/or D/deaf, redefine the tropes of accessible media accommodations. By activating unexpected usages of open captions and audio description, these works transcend notions of disability access as an afterthought by building worlds beyond the scope of translation. For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

Expanded Cinema Performances

WED 3/27 | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Three performances that employ live manipulation of the moving image, creating a dynamic audience experience: Music in the Air by Scott Stark, Lass That Has Gone by Laura Conway with Fragrant Blossom, and Kino Lau: Many Bodies by Rachel Makana Aloha O Kauikeolani Nakawatase, Ryan Betschart, and Melissa Ferarri. For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

Black Infinitude

Curated by M. Woods

THUR 3/28 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

Black Infinitude is a retrospective of and an homage to Aldo Tambellini (29 April 1930–12 November 2020), an Italian-American painter, sculptor, poet, and filmmaker who pioneered electronic intermedia. Tambellini did not enter filmmaking through the camera—he approached the medium as a sculptural object, with which he could introduce the element of time into his exploration of negative and positive cosmic space. [Warning: These films may contain content that is not recommended for those with photosensitivity or epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.] For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

A Horse is Not a Metaphor and Relict: A Phantasmagoria 

THUR 3/28 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

“[In Barbara Hammer’s] autobiographical experimental film A Horse Is Not A Metaphor, the artist reflects on her personal fight against stage 3 ovarian cancer, transforming illness into recovery. Describing herself as a cancer ‘thriver’ rather than a ‘survivor,’ Hammer rides on horseback through the red hills of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, the grassy foothills of the Big Horn in Wyoming, and leafy paths in Woodstock, New York.” –Electronic Arts Intermix  

On the occasion of this screening, AAFF is proud to announce that the Barbara Hammer Feminist Film Award is now fully endowed, ensuring that this $500 award will continue to be presented every year for the film that best conveys Hammer’s passion for celebrating and examining the experiences of women. 

Relict: A Phantasmagoria is an experimental documentary performed with antique magic lanterns and hand-drawn animation. Invoking the history of magic lantern phantasmagoria as an exercise in belief and perception, Relict considers the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, religion, and documentary ethics—all collapsed into contemporary cryptozoology. Reviving the lantern’s historical role as a tool for scientific lectures and adapting modern cryptozoological lore to handmade lantern slides, Relict wanders through histories of documentary animation used to visualize and legitimize monstrous creatures. 

Playing Footsi: Ann Arbor Filmmakers of the 1960s–1980s

Curated by Frank Uhle

FRI 3/29 | 9pm | State Theatre 

George Manupelli launched the Ann Arbor Film Festival in part as a way to screen his own work, but it soon inspired other locals to take up cameras. Many were members of student film societies like Cinema Guild, Cinema II, and the Ann Arbor Film Cooperative. During this pre-digital era many films made here by locals, or elsewhere by recent expatriates, were shown at the festival, won prizes, and went on tour. This program includes films by or featuring people who are remembered today through AAFF awards: Tom Berman, Chris Frayne, Peter Wilde, and Manupelli himself. For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

An Animal Is Not a Metaphor

Curated by Kornelia Boczkowska

SAT 3/30 | 7pm | State Theatre 1

Since the early days of avant-garde cinema, some iconic experimental films have abundantly featured animals, usually presented not as mere props or companions, but as central characters both closely interlinked with and independent of humans. In response to the animal crisis and the current developments of the Anthropocene, this program will demonstrate how artist-made films bring in the animal viewpoint so that animals become not just a subject or a metaphor, but a real object of the film, and how they provide clues to reexamining and transforming species co-existence. For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

Amy Halpern Retrospective

Curated by David Lebrun

SUN 3/31 | 12pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

Amy Halpern (1953–2022) was one of Los Angeles’s leading experimental/independent filmmakers. Committed to encouraging a wider awareness of absolute film, Halpern co-founded the New York Collective for Living Cinema and the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis. She taught at several universities, including the University of Southern California. Halpern was a member of the classic West Coast light show Single Wing Turquoise Bird, performing on liquids and transparencies. For Tickets and Detailed Program Information

Tickets are $14 general admission | $9 seniors & AAFF members | students $8. For complete festival details please explore the complete Ann Arbor Film Festival Schedule.


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