57th Ann Arbor Film Festival: Trailers for Sunday, March 31 screenings

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

Still from Mathilde Lavenne's film Tropics

Still from Mathilde Lavenne's film TROPICS.

SUNDAY, MARCH 31 TRAILERS & EVENT LISTINGS:

Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series Winter 2019 lineup

Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series collage of winter 2019 events

U-M alumna Penny W. Stamps died from leukemia on Dec. 18, 2018, but her dedication to bringing arts and ideas to Ann Arbor community continues with the school and speaker series named in her honor.

The winter lineup of U-M Stamps School of Art & Design's Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series was announced Jan. 11 with 12 events, primarily at the Michigan Theater and many in conjunction with other performances and events at the university and in the community.

Immersive India: Rasa Festival celebrates arts and cultural from the subcontinent

Rasa Festival 2018 logo

Building a month-long festival from the ground up is challenging enough when it focuses solely on one artistic discipline, such as music.

But last year's inaugural Rasa Festival was a multidisciplinary party with performing, visual, literary, media/films, and culinary arts from India, presented in various Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti venues.

It was a big achievement and the 2018 edition (September 1-October 7) looks to build on that success with more art exhibitions, dance performances, poetry readings, music concerts, film screenings, and a foodie event.

Here's the full calendar of events, many of which are free:

Middle School Memories: Bo Burnham's "Eighth Grade" at Cinetopia

FILM & VIDEO REVIEW

Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade

I saw nine films over four days at Southeast Michigan's annual Cinetopia film festival, beating my record of eight last year. While I enjoyed many of movies, the one I truly loved was opening night’s Eighth Grade.

The film follows 13-year-old Kayla during her final week of middle school as she tries to overcome her classmate’s perception of her as shy. The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at Sundance and is Bo Burnham’s directorial debut. If you recognize that name, it may be from Burnham’s early 2000s YouTube videos, successful comedy specials, or supporting roles in recent films including The Big Sick and Rough Night

Film Studies: A preview of this year's Cinetopia movies in A2

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

Cinetopia logo

Cinetopia's website states that its film festival, which features acclaimed movies from Sundance, Cannes, and more, was "created for the people of southeastern Michigan." 

That's cool, but for our Pulp preview, we're keeping it strictly provincial and have highlighted films playing in Ann Arbor at the Michigan and State theaters. (Click here for the full Cinetopia schedule.)

We've also embedded the fifth episode of the Michigan Theater and AADL podcast Behind the Marquee, which features hosts Nick, Caitlin, and Brian talking about all things Cinetopia, including some of their favorite films arriving this year.

Get out your calendars and plan your May 31 to June 10 cinematic experiences.

"Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?" is a film about threats -- racial and otherwise

FILM & VIDEO REVIEW

“Trust me when I tell you this isn’t a white savior story. This is a white nightmare story.”
--Travis Wilkerson

If I were a moth, the story of white men reckoning with race in America would singe my wings every time. With that in mind, I was not disappointed when I went to see Travis Wilkerson’s Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? on March 24 as part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. In fact, there are about eight pieces I could write about this film, which was one of the 10 features in competition at the year's fest and ended up winning the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film.

Diaspora Dimensions: The films in URe:AD TV grapple with black representation

FILM & VIDEO REVIEW

“The diaspora is a cultural continuum. An ever-evolving consideration of Blackness is its vehicle.”
--Ashley Stull Meyers

The United Re: Public of the African Diaspora Television (URe:Ad TV) special program at the Ann Arbor Film Festival was an experience. 

URe:AD TV is a network of creators who make print and audiovisual work by and for the African diaspora. Curated by Shani Peters and Sharita Towne, the works grapple with the meaning(s) of black representation. By "grapple," it could be said that these works record meaning, and make meaning.

Ephraim Asili’s "Diaspora Suite" explores the influence of African culture throughout the world

FILM & VIDEO REVIEW

Ephraim Asili The first time that I really thought about the African diaspora was in college. During a Caribbean literature class, the concept of diaspora was ever present. Despite having taken several American history classes, considering the Caribbean diaspora is what led me to attempt to understand myself as a part of the African diaspora. 

Ephraim Asili’s Diaspora Suite -- shown March 22 at the Michigan Theater as part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival -- presented an excellent opportunity to examine someone else’s take on the topic. This collection of five films explores the interaction of past, present, and place it relates to the African diaspora. The films were shot in a variety of locations, among them Ethiopia, Harlem, Ghana, Philadelphia, Brazil, and Detroit. 

"Those Who Come, Will Hear" speaks loudly for indigenous languages at the Ann Arbor Film Fest

FILM & VIDEO REVIEW

Those Who Come, Will Hear film still

The best thing a film about languages can do is let the speakers speak for themselves.

Those Who Come, Will Hear, a Canadian documentary that shines a spotlight on several indigenous languages of Quebec, not only gives voice to languages that are endangered (such as Innu-aimun and Inuttitut) but also deftly illustrates how language is so tightly woven to culture and tradition. (The film is one of the 10 features in competition at this year's Ann Arbor Film Festival.)

Vick's Picks: Former A2 Film Fest exec Vicki Honeyman curates an evening of cinema

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Vicki Honeyman & Elizabeth Cox

Vicki Honeyman and Elizabeth Cox, former directors of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, July 1992. Photo by Michael Curlett/The Ann Arbor News via AADL's Old News.

Vicki Honeyman knows a thing or two about film.

As executive director of the Ann Arbor Film Fest from 1988-2002, Honeyman nurtured and expanded the event by acquiring sponsorships, personally screening films for the festival, and much more. 

Honeyman is now the owner of the hand-crafted jewelry store Heavenly Metal at 208 N. Fourth Ave. in Kerrytown, but she's been invited to use her cinematic curatorial skills once again for AAFF's 56th anniversary, March 20-25. "Vick’s Picks," shown March 24 at 9:15 in the Michigan Theater, features 13 films from Honeyman's 15-year tenure as AAFF's leader.

We chatted with Honeyman at Heavenly Metal about her picks for this year's AAFF.