Nothing IFFY about the newly announced Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti


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Washtenaw County is renowned for its cinema events, from the predominant Ann Arbor Film Festival (March) and the Sundance/Cannes/etc.-affiliated Cinetopia (May) to the new Nevertheless (July), which focuses on female-identifying filmmakers, and all the traveling fests and U-M-sponsored foreign-film series.

But all of those events happen in Ann Arbor, primarily at the Michigan Theater.

Filmmaker Donald Harrison, who runs 7 Cylinders Studio, and multimedia artist Martin Thoburn want to make another part of Washtenaw Country an important destination for cinephiles, so they've launched the annual Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti (IFFY).

"I've imagined a film festival happening in Ypsilanti for almost a decade," Harrison said via email, "but venue options have been limited. Last year Martin expressed interest in starting it with me -- it was especially appealing that the festival's identity would be IFFY -- so we set things in motion."

The inaugural Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti happens April 16-18 at the Riverside Arts Center (RAC).

"We'd heard that Riverside Arts Center had invested in an improved cinema setup," Harrison said, "so last year we hosted the Ottawa Animation Festival's traveling tour there as a pilot run. It was a great experience working with RAC and an awesome, sold-out show, so we decided to build on it."

IFFY tickets will be available in early March once the full festival schedule is announced.

"We're putting together programs we think audiences will find fun, dynamic and mind-expanding," Harrison said." We're starting IFFY on a smaller scale for year one -- six programs over three nights -- so we're selecting films through our networks and research. There's short film programs curated by Juliet Hinely and Hafsah Mijinyawa, each with different themes, and we'll have a regional short film showcase."

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.

Follow for more details and to sign up for announcements.