The Ann Arbor Film Festival

Last night, I went to the Out Night screening of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and it was such a unique experience. It was also endearing to see members of the Ann Arbor community come together to watch and participate in the film festival. I had never gone to the AAFF before, nor had I known that it is the oldest avant garde and experimental film festival in North America. This year marks its 56th anniversary.

Out Night featured a collection of experimental short films with LGBTQ themes. For instance, the first film used stop motion and data collected from floppy disks to assemble a dizzying piece of AOL chat exchanges and homoerotic nude photos, presenting the online persona of a man named “jim.” Another film was shot as a music video and had two elderly women escape together from their boring “sitcersize” class. Overall, the films each had truly indescribable qualities, from using hand-drawn animation, to old footage from the 80’s, to a documentary approach, in order to create an individual piece of art. At the conclusion of the screening, audience members could vote on their favorites (or least favorites).

I walked away a little confused, but inspired. As an art student, I appreciated the hours of hard work that went into each film and the creativity it took to conceptualize that creative work. I realized that there were dozens of people involved in the making of the films, and countless people who helped put together the entire festival. If you haven’t been to the AAFF before, I strongly suggest you check out what’s happening and bring a friend! There are also afterparties and other events this week. Let yourself be inspired!


Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communications, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact.

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