Tuesday, March 20, 2018

56th Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off tonight

Gentle readers, the 56th Ann Arbor Film Festival opens tonight. What I really love about the Film Festival is that if you go, you are guaranteed to see films that you would not otherwise see. It's such a reminder of how wonderful and expressive film is as an art form. In honor of opening night, I reached out to two former directors of the Film Festival, Vicki Honeyman (1988 - 2002) and Donald Harrison (2009 - 2012), and they were kind enough to share some of their thoughts with me.

Honeyman curated a special program for the Film Fest this year. Vick's Picks is this Saturday at 9:15 pm in the Screening Room. "I’ve selected 14 films that were screened between 1977 and 2000, films that are strong stand-outs for me as great work and the epitome of what the AAFF is all about." she said. As for what makes the Film Festival special, here are Honeyman's thoughts:

"AAFF is the longest running festival of experimental and independent artist-made media work. Beginning in 1963, it ran as a strictly 16mm film festival until my departure in late 2002. The festival now accepts all types of moving visual media, i.e. digital, video, 35mm, 16mm, etc. It has always been the festival for makers to have their work included, especially world premieres. Because the festival is so highly regarded and recognized worldwide, it’s a big deal to be part of the festival week program of films in competition.

The AAFF does not screen strictly experimental/avant garde work. also included are documentaries, animation, and narrative works. The importance of film lovers attending this festival is the viewer is guaranteed to view work they won’t have an opportunity to see elsewhere, much less will they heard about the work or the maker. So, don’t judge the book by it’s cover! It’s a very unique event, showing works viewers will remember after the credits roll."

I have to agree. The films I have seen at the AAFF definitely stick with me much longer than mainstream films.

Harrison also shared his thought's on what makes the Film Festival special:

"The AAFF is one of the longest-running, most prestigious film festivals in N. America. I consider it the original independent film festival and since 1963 has provided a showcase for films outside of the studio/commercial system. The AAFF really presents film as an art form, exploring what's possible within the boundaries of a cinema setting, and sometimes beyond with events, installations and interactive programs. There's free events and parties every night and filmmakers, film-goers from around the world for a week, all centered around the Michigan Theater. There's plenty to see that will stimulate your thinking and provide lots to discuss among friends and strangers!"
Gentle reader, I strongly encourage you to check out at least one Film Festival screening. As Honeyman and Harrison point out, you will see things at AAFF that you will not see anywhere else. Tickets are just $12 or $8 for students and seniors.

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