The Ann Arbor Film Festival starts Tuesday, March 25th. I highly recommend you check out the Festival for a night or two. Here are some of the things I'm looking forward to:
8:15: Opening Night Screening, Main Auditorium
To me, this is the heat of the Film Festival--a series of short independent films. Nine films between 1 and 27 minutes in length. Just sit back, relax and grab some popcorn.
9:30: Out Night: Films in Competition, Main Auditorium
Little known fact, EJ and my first date was to the Out Night short films back in 2009 and now we're married. Here's a trailer for one of the films, Cakes Da Killa: No Homo:
5:10: Penny W. Stamps presents Penelope Spheeris, Main Auditorium
Often referred to as a “Rock ‘n Roll anthropologist”, Penelope Spheeris is an American director, producer and screenwriter. Her groundbreaking exploration of the seminal Los Angeles punk scene, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) (screening Friday), is still the crucial reference point for the history and culture of that era.7:15 & 9:30: Films in Competition 2 & 3, Main Audatorium
She will be joined in conversation with Mark Toscano, film preservationist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive, for a discussion that will cover Spheeris’s vital independent filmmaking career, including her early radical shorts and pioneering music films, as well as her documentary and narrative features.
More short films in competition. Seriously, these are always a ton of fun.
Penelope Spheeris’s cult documentary on the Los Angeles punk rock scene. Filmed throughout 1979 and 1980, Decline features concert footage of legendary Los Angeles punk bands Black Flag, Germs, X, Alice Bag Band, Circle Jerks, and Fear. Interviews with band members, the publishers of Slash fanzine, and with the punks who made up their audience offers a look into a subculture that was largely ignored by the rock music press of the time.7:00 pm: A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (Ben Rivers, Ben Russell, ) 98 min, Screening Room
Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s collaborative film A Spell to Ward off the Darkness follows an unnamed character (musician Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe) through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black metal band in Norway.Midnight, Suburbia, Penelope Spheeris, 94 min, State Theater
Produced by Roger Corman, Penelope Spheeris’ cult film features non-professional performances by street kids and punk musicians (Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers among others). Mostly refugees from broken, lower- middle-class families who call themselves ''The Rejected'' or the “TR's”, the film depicts the lives of suburban punks who squat in an abandoned bungalow in a Los Angeles area that's been condemned to make way for a new freeway. With live performances by Southern Californian punk bands D.I., The Vandals, and T.S.O.L.
12:30pm: Los Angeles Plays Itself, Main Theater
Newly remastered and reedited, Thom Andersen’s 2003 opus, Los Angeles Plays Itself traces the development and evolution of Los Angeles, “the most photographed city in the world”. Composed of hundreds of film clips drawn from a century of cinema with a voiceover that is both lucid and humorous, the film garnered broad critical acclaim and is considered one of the essential documentaries of the 2000s.There you go folks. These are some of the events I'm most excited about at the Film Festival. Honestly though, I'm barely scratching the surface. Check out this page for a full list of events.