March 26-31, 2024

Photo Above: Teknolust! | Lynne Hershman Leeson |  Friday 11pm

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) is hosting its 62nd annual festival March 26-31, 2024 (Online March 26 - April 7). One of a few Academy Award–qualifying festivals in the United States, the AAFF is offering both a virtual and in person option for attendees this year. The Festival is the oldest independent and experimental film festival in North America and is internationally recognized as a premier forum for film as an art form. View special hotel rates for attendees of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. 

This year, the festival received 2,971 film submissions, from 92 countries. The field of submissions was narrowed down, through a rigorous, multi-stage screening process, to 110 films in competition from 30 plus countries. Over 75 additional films will be presented during the festival as part of special screenings, programs, performances and off-site exhibitions and presentations.  

The Ann Arbor Film Festival was voted the #1 film festival in North America in a USA TODAY reader’s poll in 2019 and 2020. This is your chance to see something new and innovative, expand your creative mind and examine the far boundaries of cinematic exploration. 

Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena: #59  | Joost Rekveld

Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena; #59  | Joost Rekveld | Saturday 3pm

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL?

The AAFF started in 1963 by George Manupelli and is now the oldest avant-garde and film festival in North America. It started as a critical venue for alternative filmmakers and artists to share their work. The AAFF has always focused on film art, serving as one of the country’s premier forums for bold, visionary, experimental and avant-garde filmmakers. 

The festival is renowned for introducing the world to pioneering work, including the early films of Kenneth Anger, Brian DePalma, Devo, Barbara Hammer, George Lucas, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant, Agnes Varda, and Andy Warhol. 

A Stranger Quest | Andrea Gatopoulos

A Stranger Quest | Andrea Gatopoulos | Friday 1pm

WHERE DO I BUY TICKETS AND PASSES?

Festival-goers can get their tickets on the Ann Arbor Film Festival website, starting March 1. Options for Online Only, Full Festival and Weekend Festival are available with prices ranging from $65-200. Get your passes today!

All ticket prices are $14 for the general public, $9 for members / seniors, and $8 students unless otherwise noted (tickets for the Almost All Ages program, for example, are $7 for everyone).

The higher the pass tier, the more you support the AAFF and their mission of promoting visionary filmmakers. A Full Festival Pass includes access to all programs in-person and online during the 62nd AAFF. A Weekend Festival Pass includes all film screenings and afterparties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Online Only Pass includes most films in competition and other online content. An In-Person and Online Combo Pass offers access to both in person and online content.

If you want your support to go further, consider becoming an AAFF member. Having an AAFF membership means discounts, tickets to the festival, invitations to special members-only AAFF events, and public recognition as a supporter. Memberships start at $30 and help build a sustainable future for our festival. If you are planning on getting a festival pass, consider joining at the 16mm level or higher, where festival passes are included in your membership!  

Playland | Georden West | THU 9pm

Playland | Georden West | Thursday 9pm

HOW DO I WATCH THE FESTIVAL ONLINE?

For the third year, the Ann Arbor Film Festival will be a hybrid event, with both in-person and online options for attendees. The AAFF is excited to once again offer both an in-person festival, while providing online options for those attending from the comfort of their own home anywhere around the world. 

This online festival will allow the AAFF community to experience the festival whether in southeast Michigan or abroad! The online festival comprises juror programs, most feature and short films in competition, filmmaker interviews, and other online content. Online viewing will extend a week after the in-person festival until April 7. 

WHAT DO ALL THE PROGRAM TITLES MEAN?

We show a LOT of content during the week of the festival. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate everything we have to offer!

  • Films in Competition: short film programs built from films submitted to our festival this year. Short films are all less than 60 minutes (usually less than 20 minutes), and each program will have anywhere from 6-14 films.
  • Features in Competition: programs that either consist of a single feature film (60 minutes or longer), or a feature and a short film that were submitted to the festival this year (if a program includes a paired feature and short, the films may relate to each other, but have not been submitted together by the same filmmaker).
  • Special Programs: specially curated programs of films 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.
  • Off The Screen (OTS): new media, video, live performance, and art installations that are either ongoing during festival week or happen at a specific time.
  • Speaker Series: panel discussions, workshops, and presentations by friends and artists of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Music in the Air | Scott Stark

Music in the Air | Scott Stark | Wednesday 7:30pm

THE AAFF SCHEDULE

All programs are presented in Eastern Standard Time (ET). The Full Festival Pass includes access to all programs in-person and online during the 62nd AAFF. A Weekend Festival Pass includes in-person admission to the full festival from Friday 3/29 - Sunday 3/31.  

All films will be screened in the Main Auditorium of the Michigan Theater, in the State Theatre 1 or 2, the U-M School of Kinesiology Auditorium SKB 2500, or the U-M Museum of Art Helmut Stern Auditorium.

TUESDAY 3/26

  • Opening Night Party | 6:30–8pm | Michigan Theater Grand Foyer
  • Films in Competition 1 | 8:15pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

WEDNESDAY 3/27

  • Juror Presentation | Deanna Morse: Move Click Move | 1pm | State Theatre 1 | free
  • Special Program | Visions from Colorado | 5pm | State Theatre 1
  • Feature in Competition | Mum | 5:30pm | State Theatre 2
  • Special Program | What Are Words For? | 7pm | State Theatre 1
  • Special Program | Expanded Cinema Performances | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Feature in Competition | Anqa | 9pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 2 | 9:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium 

THURSDAY 3/28

  • Juror Presentation | Su Friedrich: She, Her, Hers 1pm | State Theatre 1 | free
  • Penny Stamps Speaker Series | Lynn Hershman Leeson: BIO_DOT_BOT
  • 5:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | free
  • Special Program | Black Infinitude | 7pm | State Theatre 
  • Films in Competition 3: Out Night | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Feature in Competition | Playland | 9pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 4 | 9:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

FRIDAY 3/29

  • Feature in Competition | A Stranger Quest | 1pm | State Theatre 1
    Feature in Competition | Domus de Janas | 3pm | State Theatre 1
    Films in Competition 5: Music Videos | 5pm | University of Michigan Museum of Art Helmut Stern Auditorium | free
  • Films in Competition 6: 35mm and 16mm | 5:30pm | University of Michigan SKB 2500
  • Special Program | A Horse is Not a Metaphor and Relict: A Phantasmagoria | 7pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 7 | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Special Program | Playing Footsi: Ann Arbor Filmmakers of the 1960s–1980s | 9pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 8: Animation | 9:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Special Feature Film | Lynn Hershman Leeson: Teknolust! | 11pm | State Theatre 1

SATURDAY 3/30

  • Juror Program | Wenhua Shi: On Time | 1pm |  University of Michigan SKB 2500 | free
  • Films in Competition 9: Almost All Ages (6+) | 1:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | $7
  • Feature in Competition | Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena; #59 | 3pm |  State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 10 | 3:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
    Feature in Competition | Light Falls Vertical | 5pm | State Theatre 1
  • Feature in Competition | Esther Newton Made Me Gay | 5:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Special Program | An Animal Is Not a Metaphor | 7pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 11 | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Special Feature Film Program | Lynn Hershman Leeson: Conceiving Ada | 9pm | State Theatre 1
  • Films in Competition 12 | 9:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

SUNDAY 3/31

  • Special Program | Amy Halpern Retrospective | 12pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Feature in Competition | Brief Space of a Time | 12:30pm | State Theatre 1
  • Feature in Competition | Giant’s Kettle | 2pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
    Special Feature Film | Lynn Hershman Leeson: Strange Culture | 3pm | State Theatre 1
  • Awards 1 | 5pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
  • Awards 2 | 7pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium

WHO DECIDES WHICH FILMS RECEIVE WHICH AWARDS?

Each year, the AAFF invites 3 distinguished artists to judge and award deserving films. This year, the jurors will be acclaimed filmmakers, educators, and cultural leaders Su Friedrich, Deanna Morse, and Wenhua Shi. Each juror will also present a specially curated program of work during the festival.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Jurors

The short films, included in the Films in Competition programs and Features in Competition, are eligible for the $23,000 conferred in awards. The AAFF directly supports independent filmmakers by giving awards for films that might not find commercial distribution. The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, March 31, the closing night of the festival.

ARE THE FILMS APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AGES?

The films are not rated and some material may be more appropriate for adult audiences, unless otherwise noted. Some films are family friendly. Some need an adult perspective, even if the medium is animation. The Films in Competition 9, Almost All Ages program on Saturday, March 30 at 1:30pm, in the Michigan Theater Main Auditorium, is best suited for a wide variety of viewers over 6 years of age.  

Brief Space of a Time | Fernando Saldivia Yáñez

Brief Space of a Time | Fernando Saldivia Yáñez | Sunday 12:30pm

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO LEARN ABOUT EXPERIMENTAL FILM DURING FESTIVAL WEEK?

We’re excited to share a number of panel discussions and workshops at North Quad Space 2435 (unless otherwise noted) during the week. All of our speaker series events are free and open to the public.

TUESDAY 3/26

Reception
4-6pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
New Voices and Grafica Harmolodica

Grafica Harmolodica
4:30pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Performance by David Olson

WEDNESDAY 3/27

New Voices Coffee, Bagels, and Film Jam 
10am–12pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435

Student Lunch Mixer
12pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Provided by the Michigan State University Film Studies Program
RSVP@aafilmfest.org required

Screening Groups Roundtable
3–4:30pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Moderated by Sean Donovan

Expanded Cinema Performances
7:30pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium | ticket required
Scott Stark; Laura Conway; Rachel Makana Aloha O Kauikeolani Nakawatase, 
Ryan Betschart, and Melissa Ferarri

THURSDAY 3/28

Coffee & Bagels: Meet the artists of Dope Women in Media and Detroit Narrative Agency
10–11:30am | U-M North Quad Space 2435

Exhibition Reception
3–5pm | Ann Arbor Art Center

Dope Women in Media: Honoring the Women of Film in Metro Detroit
Curated by Laura D. Gibson

FRIDAY 3/29

The 8 Fest, Coffee, & Bagels: Remembering Ann Arbor’s Other Film Festival
10am–12pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Curated by Frank Uhle

The Last Forever
3pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Live cinema performance by Kamila Kuc and Scott Stark

Relict: A Phantasmagoria 
7pm | State Theatre | ticket required
Magic lantern performance by Melissa Ferrari

SATURDAY 3/30

The Joy of LOOPing
9am–12pm | U-M North Quad Space 2435
Workshop by Pickle Fort Film Collective

SUNDAY 3/31

Bagels and Coffee Social Hour 
10–11:30am | U-M North Quad Space 2435

Skate Witches | Danny Plotnick

Skate Witches | Danny Plotnick | Friday 9pm

WHAT IF I WANT TO DO MORE THAN JUST ATTEND?

Whether you’ve volunteered every year or have never volunteered before, we need your help! Our volunteers help make the Ann Arbor Film Festival possible. In exchange for your time and talent, volunteers earn AAFF tickets & passes. If you have any questions, please contact volunteers@aafilmfest.org.

 

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