The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America, founded by George Manupelli in 1963. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year's festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. 



On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and UM Alum John Nelson ('76) will present a free illustrated lecture in the Michigan Theater Main Auditorium. In the lecture, Nelson will show how he and his team created some of the 1,190 visual effects shots for Blade Runner 2049 (2018 Oscar Winner for Visual Effects)  Using before-and-afters, Nelson will detail the visual effects production process from design to principal photography to post-production. 

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. in the Michigan Theater Main Auditorium, The Big House will screen in the Feature in Competition category. This direct cinema documentary eschews gridiron grandeur to look closely at the labor—from the cooks to the snipers—that goes into hosting 100,000 people. Shot against the backdrop of the 2016 election, it portrays everything but the game. Directed by Terri Sarris, Markus Nornes, Kazuhiro Soda (and filmed as a part of SAC 401, 2016).

At 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018  in the Michigan Theater Main Auditorium, Chris McNamara's There For a While and Then Gone will screen in the Films in Competition 10 category. There For a While and Then Gone is a stereoscopic landscape and cityscape that chronicles the shifting realities of urban space. This film features long audio/visual takes of settings in Brighton, UK; Plymouth, UK; London, UK; Windsor, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Detroit, Michigan. In many cases, the shots seem to have the effect of functioning as "establishing shots" - suggesting that a story is about to unfold. But the viewer soon realizes that the story is inferred in the structure - and the narrative remains largely elusive. Instead, the viewer is immersed in the sound and stereoscopic projections - and the borders between the featured cities begin to collapse.

Join Chris McNamara and DJ Chad Pratt for a live audiovisual set in the Red Room at the NECTO Saturday evening after the screenings!
(10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.; $5.00 admission fee, free with AAFF pass)


At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 25 in North Quad 2435, Associate Professor Daniel Herbert will moderate the Salon, What the Hell Was That? This panel has been an Ann Arbor Film Festival favorite for more than a decade. It began when a filmmaker overheard an audience member declare, “What the hell was that?” about his own film. An enlightening discussion ensued, and the idea for the panel was born. Join us for an opportunity to watch and discuss three short experimental films selected from this year’s festival by visiting filmmakers and other special guests. This Salon is part of the festival's "Off the Screen!" series.