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Our Pledge to You


As the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s stewards and organizers, we— the board of directors, leaders and staff — are committed to a transparent, fair and ethical film selection process that stands the test of time.


The heart and soul of the festival is the selection process. It belongs to the filmmakers and those who love film. There should be no question whether the selection process is free of bias, personal agendas, or unfair advantages.


We pledge to work to align the AAFF’s organizational processes with the Film Festival Alliance’s Film Festival Code of Ethics—developed with input from festival directors, programmers, and art house managers from around the world.

In addition, the Ann Arbor Film Festival has paid artists to show their films in competition since the 59th AAFF in 2021, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival offers a $20 submission fee discount for BIPOC filmmakers, the same discount we offer to alumni filmmakers.  We aim to do all that we can to welcome more diverse voices to the festival and balance the scales with equity and fairness for all.

As the AAFF’s stewards and those responsible for carrying the torch of George Manupelli’s vision, we took these and other steps to ensure the festival’s integrity is unequivocal for every season to come.



When you submit your film to the Ann Arbor Film Festival, it becomes part of a robust screening and selection process. At least two screeners—and up to six—will review your work and give it serious consideration for potential inclusion in the festival.

If chosen for the festival, your film will be in consideration for $20,000 in cash and in-kind juried festival awards.


In addition, the AAFF is one of a handful of festivals in North America that is a qualifying film festival for the short film category of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A short film that wins one of the following awards at the AAFF becomes eligible:

• Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival
• Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film
• Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative


If programmed into the festival, your work will also be considered for paid licensing opportunities including the AAFF touring program, annual DVD, and Ann Arbor District Library film collection.

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MovieMaker magazine named the AAFF among the  50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for 2019 and 2021.

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AAFF was chosen as Best Film Festival by readers of the Detroit Metro Times in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival has earned a 2022 Gold Seal of Transparency with Guidestar (Candid). Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Candid's data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. 

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