51st Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Mar. 19-24. The oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals in North America features 6 days of film screenings, panel discussions, and parties that culminate in screenings of the award-winning films on Mar. 24. The competition showcases new experimental and independent 16-mm, 35-mm, and digital films and videos in a wide range of genres and of generally high quality. Past contributors have included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian De Palma.
Mar. 23: Your Day Is My Night (11 a.m.), Lynne Sachs’ documentary, part of the AAFF competition, in which residents of New York City’s Chinatown tell their stories of personal and political upheaval. Central Park Five (noon), Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon’s documentary that tells the story of 5 black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were arrested in 1989 and later wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. Followed by a discussion with Ken Burns, Raymond Santana (one of the “Five”), and Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions director Steve Drizin. “Films in Competition 5” (1 p.m.), including new films by Ana Vaz and Ben Rivers, the North American premiere of Stephen Connolly’s Zabriskie Point (Redacted)--an impressionistic documentary that combines images of the eponymous location of Antonioni’s 1970 film Zabriskie Point with contemporary research on the location and the film--and Bette Gordon and James Benning’s 1975 conceptual bicentennial masterpiece The United States of America. Water and Power (4 p.m.), an award-winning 1990 film that combines visually and aurally dense tableaux with advanced motional control, optical printing, and animation techniques to depict the complex battle for natural resources waged between L.A. and the Owens Valley. Director Pat O’Neill is in attendance. “Films in Competition 6” (3:30 p.m.), including animated, experimental, and narrative films by Jesse McClean, Lori Felker, and James Lowne, as well as Circle in the Sand, Michael Robinson’s 2012 film, set in the near future during a 2nd American civil war, that follows a band of exiled political prisoners and their supervising soldiers who live in the ruins of a seaside military fort. “Suzan Pitt Retrospective Program Two” (7 p.m.). Second of two screenings of films by celebrated animator Pitt, who is in attendance. The program is highlighted by the world premiere of her latest film, Pinball “Films in Competition 7” (7:15 p.m.), including animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative films TBA. Suitcase of Love and Shame (9:15 p.m.). World premiere of this film that reconstructs a mesmerizing and erotic love story based on 60 hours of reel-to-reel 1960s audiotape (discovered in a suitcase) that chronicles the details of an adulterous affair between a Midwestern woman and her lover. Director Jane Gillooly is in attendance. “Films in Competition 8” (9:30 p.m.), including animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative films TBA. The films are followed by a FREE after party at the Last Word (301 W. Huron) from 11 p.m.-2 a.m.
“Films in Competition 9,” including animated and experimental films appropriate for kids ages 6 and up. $5, 11 a.m. “Regional Films in Competition,”
including narrative, experimental, and documentary films made in Michigan. $5, 11 a.m. “Music Video in Competition.”
FREE, UMMA Auditorium (525 S. State), noon. “Films in Competition 10”
(1 p.m.), including new documentary and experimental films by Dani Leventhal, Mike Hoolboom, and others, as well as Spend It All,
Les Blank’s 1971 portrait of Cajun culture. The Radiant
(1:30 p.m.), the Otolith Group’s film, part of the AAFF competition, that explores the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and contributed to the partial meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the east coast of Japan. Our Nixon
(3:30 p.m.), H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin’s documentary, part of the AAFF competition, that compiles previously unseen archival footage of Nixon’s presidency, filmed by White House aides on Super 8 home movie cameras and subsequently seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation. “Award Program 1”
(6 p.m.). “Award Program 2”
(8 p.m.). Followed by an after party
(10 p.m.-1 a.m.) at Arbor Brewing Company. .
Michigan Theater (unless otherwise noted). Tickets: $95 (members, students, & seniors, $80) for the entire festival & $55 (members, students, & seniors, $45) for weekend passes in advance at aafilmfest.org, and $9 (students, seniors, & members, $7; midnight movies, $6) per evening show at the door. 995-5356.