AAFF 2017 | A Guide to the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival


When the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) put together the printed edition of its 2017 program, the organization did it the usual way: listing the dates and the movies underneath. Throw in the "Off the Screen" events and after parties, et voila: the program calendar for the 55th edition of this Ann Arbor mainstay.

But when AAFF was putting together its website, the staff noticed a theme -- or several.

"We did set the [film] programs first," said Executive Director Leslie Raymond to Pulp in this recent interview. "Later when we looked back at them, we recognized some recurring themes and some things people would be interested in that we could pull together -- a few different film programs. People have told us that it's great and it can really help them to figure out what they want to do at the festival."

It made a lot of sense to us, too. Film festivals often group their movies by themes, which helps viewers hone in on their primary interests rather than root through a calendar to see what movies match their tastes on a specific day.

With Raymond's guidance, we identified the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival's major film tracks as listed on its website, reviewed the primary movies or collections within them, and previewed the rest of the screenings or events in the series. Below is a list of our theme-based coverage for AAFF 2017:

Amazing Stories: "Following Seas" & more
Asian Focus: "Axes of Dwelling: The Video Art of Yuan Goangming" & more
Music Focus: "Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present" & more
New Media: "Post-Internet and the Moving Image" & more
Political: "Socrates of Kamchatka" & more
Totally Out There/Classic AAFF: "The Pink Egg" & more

For the film tracks we weren't able to get to, we put together a post with trailers, showtimes, and links to descriptions:

All Ages, Animation, Black Diaspora, Globalization, LGBTQ & Sci-Fi

The Ann Arbor District Library has partnered with AAFF for the "Films in Competition 8: Almost All Ages" program on Saturday, March 25 at 11am in the main auditorium of the Michigan Theater. You can get a discount on your ticket by entering AAFF55_AADL.

Also, visit AAFF's website for a full list of the film festival's free "Off the Screen" events, which includes workshops, receptions, and more.

We also have recap coverage planned for:

➥ "The New Negress Film Society: I Am a Negress of Noteworthy Talent" discussion and screenings. (March 24, 5:10 pm, free | Michigan Theater)
➥ An overall wrap-up from a nearly 20-year resident of the region who has never been to the festival but will immerse herself in it this year.

There's also a slew of after parties:

Tuesday, March 21: Sava's, 16 S. State St. | 10 pm - 12 am, free
Wednesday, March 22: The Raven's Club, 207 S. Main St. "> 11 pm - 1 am, free
Thursday, March 23: \aut\ Bar, 315 Braun Ct. | 11 pm - 2 am, free
Friday, March 24: The Ann Arbor Distilling Company, 220 Felch St. | 10 pm - 2 am, $5 or free with AAFF Pass. Expanded cinema performance of "Drone" by Osman Khan, associate professor at U-M's School of Art & Design.
➥ Saturday, March 25: Club Above, 215 N. Main St. | 10 pm - 2 am, $8 or free with AAFF Pass. Expanded cinema performance by Matilda Techno Collective and DJ Chad Pratt (Midwest Product).
Sunday, March 26: The Ann Arbor Distilling Company, 220 Felch St. | 8 pm - 12 am, $5 or free with AAFF Pass. Expanded cinema performance by TriO.

Finally, if you have limited time, you could just peek at the best of the best of AAFF 55 during the two juried awards ceremonies at the Michigan Theater on the last day of the festival, Sunday, March 26: "Awards 1" (5 pm) and "Awards 2" (7 pm).

Christopher Porter is a Library Technician and editor of Pulp.