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2012 Ann Arbor Film Festival: Special Programs

Letter A logo for the Ann Arbor Film Festival

With the Ann Arbor Film Festival holding its 50th anniversary in 2012 on March 24 to April 1, the fest has already lined up a fantastic set of special programs to celebrate.

Previously, it has already been announced that underground film icon Bruce Baillie will be in attendance to screen three separate programs of his work that spans his fifty-plus year career. Baillie has had a long relationship with AAFF, initially screening his films at the fest’s inaugural edition in 1963.

Joining Baillie this year will be feminist filmmaking trailblazer, Barbara Hammer, who will host a retrospective of her own films on Wednesday, March 28 as part of AAFF’s Out Night. AAFF will also be honoring the late Robert Nelson, who just passed away in January, with a selection of his films curated by Mark Toscano, a close friend of Nelson’s and an archivist at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition, AMPAS will be providing numerous rare and influential films to be screened throughout the festival.

Two special, globally-themed curated events include two programs of avant-garde films from Japan made from the 1970s to the 2000s that is being curated by Tomonari Nishikawa; and Irina Leimbacher is curating two programs of Middle Eastern films — one program features films from Palestine, Lebanon and Morocco; and the other will feature the documentaries of Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay (1944-2011). Both Nishikawa and Leimbacher served as jurors at the 48th annual AAFF.

Also on the global film front will be a special screening of This Is Not a Film, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s documentary about his house arrest.

On the closer to home front, there will be an expanded number of gallery installations playing throughout the fest, including a new multi-channel video installation by Leighton Pierce and Phil Solomon‘s three-channel installation American Falls. Solomon will also be on hand for a screening of his 16mm film and video work.

The fest has also announced their three-member panel of jurors: Filmmakers Peter Rose and Michael Robinson, and curator Kathy Geritz.

And, even if you can’t attend this spectacular event, you can still take part in the festival by contributing an AAFF promotional trailer for their Mobile Shorts Contest that is being sponsored by vitaminwater. Selected winners will have their work screened at the festival with the grand prize winner taking home a nice swag bag that includes a Kodak PlaySport Zx5 HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera. Details on the contest can be found here.

Plus, the Ann Arbor District Library has posted online a digital archive of AAFF posters, programs and pictures from the fest’s 50 year history.

When AAFF releases their full 2012 program, we’ll post it up right here at the Underground Film Journal.


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