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2012 Ann Arbor Film Festival: Official Lineup

By Mike Everleth ⋅ March 7, 2012

Ann Arbor Film Festival logo

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Film Festival and they’re preparing an all-out blowout on March 27 to April 1 to celebrate! The fest is crammed to the gills with the latest and greatest in experimental and avant-garde film, in addition to a celebration of classic work from Ann Arbors past.

Filmmaker Bruce Baillie was there at the first AAFF — and numerous times since. He’s back this year with a major retrospective of his entire career that spans three separate programs. Baillie, who’ll be in attendance of course, will present a brand-new restored version of his epic pseudo-Western Quick Billy, plus screenings of his classic short movies such as Castro Street, Yellow Horse, Quixote, To Parsifal and more.

There’s also a program dedicated to the films of the late Robert Nelson, including Bleu Shut and Special Warning, as well as sprinklings of underground classics throughout the fest such as George Kuchar‘s Hold Me While I’m Naked, Robert Breer‘s A Man and His Dog Out for Air, Lillian Schwart‘s UFOs, Owen Land‘s New Improved Institutional Quality, Storm de Hirsch‘s Peyote Queen and others.

Plus, not only will be there a screening of Craig Baldwin‘s RocketKitKongoKit, but he’ll also be at the fest for special discussion about his collage filmmaking techniques.

And, while AAFF is always an international festival, this year’s edition includes spotlights on two specific regions. The spotlight on Japan includes a screening of films from the ’70s and ’80s, plus another screening on modern Japanese avant-garde films. Then, there’s a selection of Arab-made films from Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, and Morocco; as well as a selection of documentaries by Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay and a screening of Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not a Film from Iran.

Then, of course, there’s the regular selection of movies in competition. For the feature’s there’s Betzy Bromberg’s experimental Voluptuous Sleep, Ben Rivers‘ meditation Two Years at Sea, Sarah J. Christman’s poetic documentary As Above, So Below and others. And there’s an epic selection of new short films by acclaimed filmmakers such as Don Hertzfeldt (It’s Such a Beautiful Day), Ben Russell (River Rites), Jodie Mack (Point de Gaze), Kerry Laitala (Conjurer’s Box), Sylvia Schedelbaur (Sounding Glass), Bryan Boyce (Walt Disney’s Taxi Driver), and a night of 8mm short films by Paul Clipson, including his five-part Compound Eyes; plus, a ton more.

This is a massive festival and celebration, so please be sure to check out the official Ann Arbor Film Festival website for all the info. The full film lineup — plus panel discussions, artist talks and more — is below:

March 27

8:15 p.m.: “Opening Night Screening”
Taxonomy, dir. Karen Aqua
River Rites, dir. Ben Russell
Shadow Cuts, dir. Martin Arnold
Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, dir. Jillian Mayer
Pluto Declaration, dir. Travis Wilkerson
Snakes and Ladders, dir. Katherin McInnis
The Sea [is still] Around Us, dir. Hope Tucker
Tokyo — Ebisu, dir. Tomonari Nishikawa
Craig’s Cutting Room Floor, dir. Linda Scobie
Irma, dir. Charles Fairbanks
It’s Such a Beautiful Day, dir. Don Hertzfeldt
A Man and His Dog Out for Air, dir. Robert Breer

March 28

12:30 p.m.:Peter Rose: Juror Presentation”
Secondary Currents
The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough
The Gift
Odysseus in Ithaca
The Indeserian Tablets

3:00 p.m.: “Music Videos in Competition”
In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth About De-Evolution, dir. Chuck Statler
Transmission (Playmobil Version), dir. D.O. Roth
Circles, dir. Ron Robinson
Replica, dir. Daniel Lopatin
Adam Roberts, dir. Isaac Sherman
Not Enough, dir. Chad VanGaalen
Go Outside, dir. Isaiah Seret
Envelop, dir. Cam Archer

4:30 p.m.: “Films by Robert Nelson
Deep Westurn
Special Warning
Bleu Shut
Hauling Toto Big

5:00 p.m.: “Student Film Showcase”
My Favorite Planet, dir. Gus Péwé
Rekord, dir. Sean Thompson
A Piece of Life, dir. Chase Becsey & Jamie Lee
Geekdown, dir. Steven Smith
Instructions for Urban Exploration, dir. Perry Janes, Noah Stahl & Sadie Yarrington
A Series of Kinetic Sets Tell a Story, dir. Shannon Kohlitz
Belle Isle Zoo, dir. Barb Morrissey
Mediator, dir. Joshua Tad Mulligan
Dubstep Informational Nature Video Series, dir. David Gazdowicz
Turn the Camera Around, dir. Scott Allen
Forward Aikido Roll, dir. Dan Bifano

7:00 p.m.: Voluptuous Sleep, dir. Betzy Bromberg. From the fest: “[A] powerful and transportive meditation on the nuances of light, sound and feeling evoked through the poetic artifices of cinema.”

7:15 p.m.: “Films in Competition 1”
Assassination in Dreamland, dir. David Sherman
Untitled, dir. Neil Beloufa
Sangre de Cristo, dir. Marcy Saude
Village, silenced, dir. Deborah Stratman
RocketKitKongoKit, dir. Craig Baldwin

9:15 p.m.: “Films in Competition 2”
What’s Out Tonight Is Lost, dir. Phil Solomon
Pilgrimage (Pèlerinage), dir. Marc Pelletier
Heavy Eyes (Schwere Augen), dir. Siegfried A. Fruhauf
Traces, dir. Scott Stark
349 (for Sol LeWitt), dir. Chris Kennedy
If the War Continues (H. Hesse), dir. Jonathan Schwartz
Verses, dir. James Sansing
Runs Good, dir. Pat O’Neill
By Foot-Candle Light, dir. Mary Helena Clark

9:30 p.m.: “Out Night With Barbara Hammer
Frank’s Zock, dir. Mike Hoolboom
Jerovi, dir. Jose Rodriguez-Soltero
Lady, dir. Ira Sachs

March 29

12:30 p.m.:Michael Robinson: Juror Presentation”
And We All Shine On
These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us
The General Returns From One Place to Another
All Through the Night
Light Is Waiting (Watch online)
If There Be Thorns
Line Describing Your Mom
Victory Over the Sun

3:00 p.m.: “Future of Preservation: Panel & Screening”
Film preservationists Mark Toscano and Ross Lipman will discuss their profession with Abina Manning.

3:00 p.m.: “Spatial Shift: Artists Talk”
Chris McNamara, Scott Northrup, Potter-Belmar Labs and Jen Proctor will walk visitors through their video installations.

5:10 p.m.: “Penny W. Stamps Presents Craig Baldwin — Society of Spectacle”
Craig Baldwin will be present to discuss his unique form of collage narrative filmmaking.

7:00 p.m.: “Poetic Injustice: Short Films From the Arab World”
The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs, dir. Walid Raad
Slippage, dir. Ali Cherri
Measures of Distance, dir. Mona Hatoum
Chic Point, dir. Sharif Waked
Nous, dir. Danielle Arbid

7:15 p.m.:Bruce Baillie Retrospective 1″
Here I Am
To Parsifal
Mr. Hayashi
Mass for the Dakota Sioux
Castro Street
All My Life

9:15 p.m.: The Strawberry Tree, dir. Simone Rapisarda Casanova. This cinematic poem is an ode to one of Cuba’s last fishing villages.
Screening with:
Flight, dir. Greta Snider

9:30 p.m.: “Films in Competition 3”
Chakra, dir. Jordan Belson
Solar Sight, dir. Lawrence Jordan
Curious Light, dir. Charlotte Pryce
Emblem, dir. Rei Hayama
The Electric Embrace, dir. Norbert Shieh
Vexed, dir. Telcosystems

March 30

12:30 p.m.: “Kathy Geritz: Juror Presentation”
Peyote Queen, dir. Storm de Hirsch
Schmeerguntz, dir. Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley
—-———- (Short Line Long Line), dir. Thom Andersen & Malcolm Brodwick
Necrology, dir. Standish Lawder
Washing Walls with Mrs. G, dir. Tony Buba
The Red Book, dir. Janie Geiser
Ägypten (Egypt), dir. Kathrin Resetarits
Sarabande, dir. Nathaniel Dorsky

3:00 p.m.: “Rooted Not Retro”
AAFF founder George Manupelli, Pat Oleszko, Gerry Fialka and other special guests will share their stories about the festival.

3:00 p.m.:Leighton Pierce Artist Talk”
Pierce will walk attendees through his video installation, The Threshold of Peripheral Induction.

5:00 p.m.: “Space/Time: Japanese Avant-Garde Films of the 1970s &1980s”
Kiri, dir. Sakumi Hagiwara
Heliography, dir. Hiroshi Yamazaki
At Yukigaya 2, dir. Mako Idemitsu
My Movie Melodies, dir. Jun’ichi Okuyama
Orandajin no Shashin, dir. Isao Kota
Atman, dir. Toshio Matsumoto
Spacy, dir. Takashi Ito
Un Relatif Horaire, dir. Yo Ota
Switch Back, dir. Nobuhiro Kawanaka
Like a Train Passing 1, dir. Kohei Ando

7:00 p.m.: All Divided Selves, dir. Luke Fowler. This documentary collage profiles R.D. Laing, the controversial psychiatrist.

7:15 p.m.: “Films in Competition 4”
Soft Palette, dir. Martin Arnold
The Discipline of the DE, dir. Gus Van Sant
A Lax Riddle Unit, dir. Laida Lertxundi
Ricky, dir. Janie Geiser
Undergrowth, dir. Robert Todd
Conjuror’s Box, dir. Kerry Laitala
Point de Gaze, dir. Jodie Mack
In the Open (Im Freien), dir. Albert Sackl
Vergence, dir. Tina Frank

9:15 p.m.: “Films By Phil Solomon
The Snowman
Psalm II: “Walking Distance”
Crossroad (with Mark LaPore)
Rehearsals for Retirement
Last Days in a Lonely Place

9:30 p.m.: “Animated Films in Competition”
Perpetual Motion, dir. Karen Aqua
Walt Disney’s Taxi Driver, dir. Bryan Boyce (Watch online)
The Renter, dir. Jason Carpenter
Fiesta Brava, dir. Steven Woloshen
A Different Bunny, dir. Danijel Zezelj
Secret Bee, dir. Gina Kamentsky
SiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSi, dir. Juan Camilo González
In Between Shadows, dir. Tianran Duan
Soil, dir. Meejin Hong
Maska, dir. Quay Brothers
Birdboy, dir. Alberto Vazquez & Pedro Rivero
Lázslo Lassu, dir. Ben Popp

11:30 p.m.:Paul Clipson: Compound Eyes 1-5″
Compound Eyes 1 – 5, dir. Paul Clipson
Another Ovid, dir. Paul Clipson
Sketches From the Field, dir. Paul Clipson

11:59 p.m.: THX 1138, dir. George Lucas. The classic sci-fi film about a worker drone in the future who gradually acquires consciousness.

March 31

11:00 a.m.: “Films in Competition 5” (Ages 6+)
UFOs, dir. Lillian Schwartz & Ken Knowlton
The House (Das Haus), dir. David Buob
Another Dress, Another Button, dir. Lyn Elliot
Silly Bears, dir. Matt Brunson
663114, dir. Isamu Hirabayashi
Back to Land, dir. Tijana Petrovic
TATAMP, dir. Mirai Mizue
The Arousing of Thought, dir. Luciano Zubillaga
August Song, dir. Jodie Mack & Emily Kuehn
The Scratchman, dir. Heather McAdams

12:30 p.m.: “Films in Competition 6”
21-87, dir. Arthur Lipsett
Forest Walk, dir. Mike Hoolboom
Quest (Cautare), dir. Ionut Piturescu
Tin-Pressed, dir. Dani Leventhal
Berlin Tiger 13h00-16h30, dir. Shiloh Cinquemani
The Impossibility of Knowing, dir. Tan Pin Pin
Remote, dir. Jesse McLean

1:00 p.m.:Bruce Baillie Retrospective 2″
Yellow Horse
Valentin de las Sierras

3:00 p.m.: “Films By Omar Amiralay”
Film-Essay on the Euphrates Dam (Film-Muhawalah ‘An Sadd al-Furat)
The Chickens (‘al-Dajaj’)
A Plate of Sardines (Tabaq el- Sardin)

3:30 p.m.: “Films in Competition 7”
An Incomplete History of the Travelogue, 1925, dir. Sasha Waters Freyer
Woman with Flowers (Señora con flores), dir. Chick Strand
Peril of the Antilles, dir. Fern Silva
Lack of Evidence (Manque de Preuves), dir. Hayoun Kwon
Saskatchewan, dir. Richard Wiebe
Correspondence, dir. Robert Fenz

5:00 p.m.: This Our Still Life, dir. Andrew Kötting. This autobiographical documentary chronicles the filmmaker’s life in the French Pyrenees with his wife and daughter.

7:00 p.m.: As Above, So Below, dir. Sarah J. Christman. This documentary examines the shifting forms of matter.
Screening with:
Amos Fortune Road, dir. Matthew Buckingham

7:15 p.m.: “Films in Competition 8”
20 Hz, dir. Semiconductor
Visitation, dir. Suzan Pitt
Circle, dir. Minna Parkkinen
Flower, the Boy, the Librarian, dir. Stephanie Barber
A Preface to Red, dir. Jonathan Schwartz
Guañape Sur, dir. János Richter
Under the Shadow of Marcus Mountain, dir. Robert Schaller
The Deep Dark, dir. Laura Heit

9:15 p.m.: Palaces of Pity, dir. Daniel Schmidt & Gabriel Abrantes. Two pre-adolescent female cousins visit their ailing grandmother and fantasize about living medieval lives.
Screening with:
And I Will Rise If Only to Hold You Down, dir. Jennifer Reeder

9:30 p.m.: “Films in Competition 9”
New Improved Institutional Quality, dir. Owen Land
Moxie, dir. Stephen Irwin
Ceibas: Epilogue — The Well of Representation, dir. Evan Meaney
Haunted House, dir. Martin Arnold
Sounding Glass, dir. Sylvia Schedelbauer
Landfill 16, dir. Jennifer Reeves
Passage Upon the Plume, dir. Fern Silva
Within, dir. Robert Todd
Sack Barrow, dir. Ben Rivers

11:59 p.m.: THX 1138, dir. George Lucas. The classic sci-fi film about a worker drone in the future who gradually acquires consciousness.

April 1

11:00 a.m.: “What the Hell Was That?”
Film critic Michael Sicinski hosts this panel discussion and guest presentations of challenging new films in the festival.

11:00 a.m.: “Films in Competition 10”
The Matter Propounded, of its Possibility or Impossibility, treated in four Parts, dir. David Gatten
To Quit, To Quiet, dir. JB Mabe
Porch Glider, dir. James Herbert
Forms Are Not Self-Subsistent Substances, dir. Samantha Rebello
Generator, dir. Takashi Makino

1:00 p.m.: “Films in Competition 11”
Hold Me While I’m Naked, dir. George Kuchar
The Evil Eyes, dir. Bobby Abate
XXX!, dir. Dietmar Brehm
Joshua City, dir. Kevin T. Allen
Kudzu Vine, dir. Josh Gibson
Chevelle, dir. Kevin Jerome Everson

1:00 p.m.: This Is Not a Film, dir. Jafar Panahi. This documentary covers the period that director Panahi was confined to house arrest in Tehran.

1:30 p.m.: “In Praise of Shadows: Japanese Avant-Garde Films of the 1990s & 2000s”
Gestalt, dir. Takashi Ishida
Flower, dir. Yuiko Matsuyama
Still, dir. Shiho Kano
Plate #24 (solid of revolution), dir. Ryusuke Ito
Eve, dir. Takashi Makino
Garden/ing, dir. Eriko Sonoda
A Burning Star (short version), dir. Kenji Onishi
Ambiguous Funeral, dir. Ichiro Sueoka
Like Flowing, Like Spinning, dir. Akira Mizuyoshi

3:00 p.m.: Two Years at Sea, dir. Ben Rivers. Jake is a hermit who lives in the forest near Aberdeenshire, Scotland trying to complete his mysterious projects.

3:30 p.m.: Quick Billy, dir. Bruce Baillie. Recently restored print! Baillie’s epic collision of nature and natural scenes with a mock-Western about a cowboy creating havoc with an innocent family.

6:00 p.m.: “Award Screening 1”
Awards presentation, plus screenings of a few of the select winners.

8:00 p.m.: “Award Screening 2”
Awards presentation, plus screenings of a few of the select winners.