The Ann Arbor Film Festival Returns for its 62nd Year

Poster for the 62nd Annual AAFF. (Courtesy of Ann Arbor Film Festival Instagram)

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF), the oldest experimental and avant-garde film festival in North America, is in its 62nd year this March. The AAFF was founded in 1963, and is internationally known as a premier forum for independent cinema. The festival will run in person March 26–31, 2024, and will also be available online. This year’s festival will include 110 screenings in competition by filmmakers from 23 different countries.

The festival opens with screenings of the “Films in Competition 1” program on Tuesday, and continues throughout the week with feature screenings as well as the rest of the “Films in Competition” programs. Opening night will feature the world premieres of Steve Wood’s “Projector and Audience Calibration Film” and Leah Loftin’s “Dictionary of Emotions in a Time of War.” The following night will consist of two feature-length screenings, as well as the films in competition and special programs, curated by Erin Espelie, Jennifer Peterson and Darrin Martin. While all of the films in competition and features will be available for viewing online, the special programs are in-person events only.

The festival’s closing night offers two programs of the festival’s award-winning films, selected by this year’s panel of distinguished AAFF jurors. There will be one special program curated by David Lebrun, featuring the works of experimental filmmaker Amy Halpern. In addition to the awards ceremony, there will be featured screenings of films “Brief Space of Time,” “Giant’s Kettle,” and “Strange Culture.”

The AAFF accepts submissions for short films and feature films that meet the following criteria: the works must “primarily explore the medium of film or video itself, they are not fundamentally narrative and/or their dominant element is abstraction or lyricism.” 

On the festival’s website, it says “the AAFF works to present cinema as an art form, outside the expectations and restrictions of cinema as entertainment.” The panel is looking for films that create ambiguity and explore a subject rather than follow a conventional storyline or narrative. 

The films will be presented at different venues in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the festival’s programs and film screenings — with the exception of special curated programs — are also available for viewing online until April 7, 2024. To watch the films in competition and the feature screenings online, you can purchase an online festival pass through the AAFF online platform.

About :

Hailey Akau (she/her) is a writer from Honolulu, Hawaii. She currently serves as a section editor for the Independent, the assistant multimedia editor and assistant magazine editor for the Berkeley Beacon, and as an editorial intern for the literary journal Ploughshares. She is passionate about film arts and uplifting marginalized Kānaka Maoli voices.