Back to all news stories

Experimentally yours

With an uncompromising commitment to recognizing bold, visionary filmmakers, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running American celebration of avant-garde film. The festival is underway with screenings around Ann Arbor, marking the 49th annual gathering of one of the country’s most fascinating new and original filmmakers.

Independent filmmakers and artists will present an international body of work, including films from Canada, China, England, Japan, and Netherlands at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, held March 22-27.

To watch an interview with Donald Harrison, executive director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, please click on the arrow in the video box below. In the interview, Harrison discusses the vital relationship between the festival and U-M faculty.

Festival Highlights

Groundbreaking audio and visual artists Telcosystems will make their second visit to the U.S. to present and perform a selection new media works including LOUDTHINGS (47th AAFF Best Experimental Film Award winner) and the North American premiere of their newest piece. Telcosystems is a trio from the Netherlands whose works are an attempt to fuse the auditory and visual domains into one immersive spatial experience that explores the limits of the human sensory apparatus. Members of Telcosystems will also present a program of SONIC ACTS, which is dedicated to the exploration of space in performative and audiovisual art, film, music and architecture. Their visit is supported by the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.

Emily vey Duke and Cooper Battersby make their first visit to Ann Arbor for a partial retrospective of their collaborative video projects. Works featured include the North American premiere of their new video LESSER APES and 48th AAFF Best of Festival award-winning, BEAUTY PLUS PITY. originally from Canada and currently based in Syracuse, NY,  Duke &  Battersby producesatirical work about humanity’s inability to co-exist with the environment which surrounds them. Duke and Battersby will also have a sculptural exhibition on display in the Michigan Theater through the festival.

Academy Award nominated director Sam Green (THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND) presents his live documentary performance UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS, which explores the battered state of utopian impulses at the dawn of the 21st century. This ‘live documentary’ includes onstage narration by Green, live sound mixing by collaborator Dave Cerf and a performance by the Brooklyn-based band The Quavers, with special guest Brendan Canty from Fugazi.

This program is presented in partnership with the Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series. An alumni of the University of Michigan, Green will be in attendance for a partial retrospective of his acclaimed short work, including THE RAINBOW MAN/ JOHN 3:16, LOT C, GRAVE 63 and N-JUDAH 5:30.

Japanese animator Keita Kurosaka will be in attendance to present his highly anticipated feature film, MIDORI-KO. More than ten years in the making, employing three different modes of animation production, and consisting of more than 20,000 carefully crafted images of consumption, expulsion, mimicry, and love, MIDORI-KO asks a fundamental question of an ecologically thinking society: at what pointing, is eating immoral? Kurosaka’s visit is supported by U-M Center for Japanese Studies.

The 49th AAFF will also host Chinese artist Wang Bing’s 14-hour video CRUDE OIL as an installation at U-M’s WORK Gallery. The piece will run on loop from March 11 – March 28, 2011 and is supported by the Center for Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan.

The 49th AAFF jury consists of three acclaimed filmmakers: Stephen Connolly (London, England), Rebecca Meyers (Boston, MA), and Vanessa Renwick (Portland, OR). The jurors will award filmmakers approximately $20,000 for selected works from over one hundred films screening in competition during the festival. Each juror will also present a free public program of his/her own work throughout the festival week.

The complete festival program is available along with ticket orders at

About the Ann Arbor Film Festival
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest running independent and experimental film festival in North America, internationally recognized as a premier forum for film as an art form. The AAFF receives more than 2,500 submissions annually from over than 60 countries and serves as one of a handful of Academy Award-qualifying festivals in the United States.
The AAFF is a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour, and each year visits more than 35 theaters, universities, museums and art house cinemas around the world.