One of the world’s most respected and longest-running indy film festivals is in the tiny college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and if opening night is any indication, this year’s festival promises to be a winner.
I always think of myself as film lover until I find myself surrounded by the passionate fanatics that will comprise a festival like the amazingly long-lived Ann Arbor Film Festival, now in its 48th year. It’s quite a feat filling a classic venue like the 1700+ capacity Michigan Theater on a Wednesday night, especially showing short films that no-one has heard of, but the AAFF did well on their opening night; I didn’t check the balcony, but there were very few seats open on the main floor. I was a little anxious about attending a full evening of indy film festival shorts; the luxury of time-shifted viewing and Internet access to an amazing variety of indy media has made me something of an on-demand media monster. But the festival didn’t disappoint, which is another impressive feat. The double-edged sword of creating a successful festival like the AAFF is that – yes, of course, you’re guaranteed a lot of quality submissions from around the world – but as the festival’s Executive Director Donald Harrison pointed out in his introduction to the festival tonight, their screeners and programmers had to sift through over 2500 submissions this year. I get a headache just thinking about what that must be like. Combine the sheer quantity with the multiple media formats and preparation required for simply projecting the material, and if the festival takes place at all, a monumental task has been accomplished. Think about that if you happen to be lucky enough to attend the festival this year. If you aren’t able to attend the festival, a surprising number of the films are readily available on line. Of course nothing compares to seeing them on a huge classic theater screen like the Michigan, but below are a few highlights from tonight’s entries for your perusal. See the AAFF’s YouTube channel for more previews, and their web site for the week’s schedule and other festival details.
El ataque de los robots de Nebulosa-5
Photograph Of Jesus by Laurie Hill
Missed Aches – Preview (See the AAFF YouTube channel for more previews)
48th Ann Arbor Film Festival Teaser
This, by the way, is a film lover. John Johnson of Ann Arbor is wearing lanyards from every Ann Arbor Film Festival since the fifth year. If the house lights hadn’t dimmed, I’m pretty sure he’d still be sharing his passion for indy film with me. And I’d be happily listening.