Preview: That Brown Show

Michigan Sahana is a student organization that performs Indian classical dance and music. That Brown Show is an annual celebration of South Asian performing arts, featuring performances by not just Sahana members, but also other music and dance groups on campus. South Asia is a vibrant, colorful place, and this show highlights that: when I saw it two years ago, I walked out feeling the urge to dance.

The show is at the Michigan Theater Saturday, April 15 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be bought at the door (student price $12), or free admission is available with the Passport to the Arts.

PREVIEW Dance Mix 2017 The Galaxy Edition

Sometimes you need to take a break from exam studying and paper deadlines. That’s where Dance Mix 2017 comes in!

Where: The Power Center (121 Fletcher St)

When: Tuesday, April 18th @ 7 PM

Cost: FREE with Passport to the Arts

Tickets are also on sale at the Mason Wall posting wall April 14th & 17th, 10-4pm

A quick list of all the groups performing:

  • EnCore
  • FunKtion
  • Impact Dance
  • RhythM Tap Ensemble
  • Cadence Modern Dance Company
  • Dance2XS University of Michigan
  • The Ballroom Dance Team at the University of Michigan
  • Michigan Izzat
  • Michigan Manzil
  • Outrage Dance Group
  • Salto Dance Company at the University of Michigan
  • Photonix
  • Revolution Chinese Yo-Yo

Here’s a link to the Facebook Event so you can put that you’re attending

REVIEW: M-agination Film Festival

After a brief delay due to technical difficulties, the festival was quickly underway. A total of sixteen student films were shown at this festival and the run-time was approximately three hours. There was a brief intermission, but transitions between films were otherwise kept short. M-agination board members only gave one little talk–the rest of the event was entirely films. Almost every film was fantastic and they covered a wide variety of  genres, so despite the lengthy runtime, the event was quite enjoyable.

Unfortunately, it would be impossible to give an individual review for each film shown, so I will stick to the highlights, and discuss some films that stood out to among an outstanding collection of films:

Cheater: This was the perfect movie to start off the festival. The plot of Cheater is that, well, a student is attempting to cheat on his exam, but the execution of this relatively simple idea is masterful. Things begin with an edge-of-your-seat-intensity that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie or spy thriller, and from there, the “action” builds and builds in both intensity and ridiculousness, until by the end of the film we’ve witnessed a mental breakdown, a phone chucked across the room, and a even a guy getting stabbed in the eye. Satire is a difficult art to master, but this movie hit all the right notes and the entire audience was laughing nonstop.

Jam: Taking us in another direction of ridiculousness, there was Jam, a movie which involved a man killing people so he could make jam from their blood. The film was entirely in black and white with the exception of the jam which provided a somber splash of color. It was well-shot and the narration was excellent. Although disturbing, it was too strange–cannibalistic jam eventually became a global obsession–to be threatening. The film filled it’s role as “that one super weird film” quite well.

Millenia: Many of the films at the festival were comedies or, at least, comedic. Dramas are a far more difficult feat, but Millenia pulled it off. The film revolved around two college students feeling isolated from their community and peers, who go around narrating their hopelessness until finally meeting at a party. Despite some moments of cheesiness (“welcome to the mind of me”), the film overall does a wonderful job of realistically depicting depression in college students. Furthermore, it was easily the most gorgeous film shown at the festival–it gives viewers a new appreciation for familiar Ann Arbor.

Anna Garcia Does a One Woman Play: This one was my personal favorite. For a film that has essentially one character (Anna Garcia), it does an amazing job at keeping viewers engaged. The premise of the film is that Anna Garcia arranges to do a one woman play, and to have a documentary about herself doing the play, and there’s just one little problem: she doesn’t have a script or any idea what her play will be about. Viewers watch as Anna desperately scrambles around Ann Arbor, trying to get other people to write her play. It’s funny, it’s meta, and it’s even got a bit of heart.

The Little Grebe: As the only animated film at the festival, this film immediately stood out. Though the animation was no Pixar, its painted style and simple movements made it beautiful. However, the real draw of the film was the narration. On screen we saw a little bird floating through the debris of a drowned city as we listened to the narrator telling its story as one that her mother once shared with her. The story of the bird was simple, but the emotional intensity of the actress playing the narrator elevated the piece beyond the confines of the story. It isn’t the story of the bird that makes this film great so much as it is this story of a girl who was told said story.

Low Expectations: Unlike the other things shown at this festival, this piece wasn’t a film but a pilot episode to a sitcom. The sitcom follows three college roommates as they navigate love and other hardships on a college campus. It was hilarious and real, but also hyper-aware of itself.

Overall, the festival (despite it’s length) was a great showcase of some amazing work. I plan on attending next year’s festival and I recommend it to everyone.

REVIEW: M-agination Film Festival

After sixteen years of existence, the M-agination Film Festival has only improved with time. Being at the Michigan Theater, the event felt more like a night at the Ann Arbor Film Festival than an evening of student-made films.

Actually, I think M-agination’s festival was better. Before the festival started, I noticed the number of small touches that made it feel like a full event. Not only was there free popcorn and T-shirts and the obligatory programs, but I also saw a photo op  area with the M-agination logo and posters of each movie set on the a table in front of the theater.  

Of course, the most important part about a film festival are the films. I was impressed at the level of production of each film. Several that I saw, such as Millenia and Anna Garcia Does a One Woman Play looked pretty darn close to something I might see on TV or at a regular movie theater.

The very first film, Cheater, was admittedly pretty superficial. One boy’s goal to cheat on an assignment any way possible, with the action escalating, until the very end when we find that the assignment was to write five things about himself. Simple, yet I was nevertheless laughing throughout the film.

Foodie Daddy was a fresh take on  the concept of a sugar daddy, but with food. Innuendo played to everyone’s predilection for sexual humor. The Little Grebe was an adorable animated children’s story about a bird with a message in search of a recipient.

Like many student films, however, the M-agination docket lacked the depth that you would see in award-winning films. The Ladies Room was a “drunkumentary” that capitalized on the novelty of following girls as they prepped themselves before and after a party. I really enjoyed the idea of the film, but I would have liked to see a little more of a cohesive story there. Perhaps if the filmmakers did a genuine documentary shot in a ladies room, there could be some filmmaking gold.

Low Expectations, an honors thesis in the form of a sitcom pilot and the last film of the night, followed three girls as they struggled through the trials of college. It was a good film, but it was also the kind of film that is almost frustrating because it could have been much better with a few tweaks here and there. As most student films go, Low Expectations was color-corrected like a Marvel Movie (desaturated and flat). There were several wonderful jokes and ideas throughout the pilot, but they felt too far apart. Alas, it’s still worth a watch.

I highly recommend watching a few of this year’s films. Hopefully they will be uploaded to the M-agination Vimeo Page soon.

PREVIEW: M-agination Films

IF you’ve ever wanted to see the great work your fellow students are producing, come tonight (4/6), to the Michigan Theater for M-agination. The event features many student films and is certain to have something for everyone, and best part yet, it’s free! Doors open at 7:30 and the show begins at 8.

PREVIEW: M-Agination Film Festival

First, watch this film:

That’s only a taste of what you’ll see at the 16th Annual M-Agination Film Fest.  M-Agination Films is a student group operating out of UAC. Producers work with directors, actors, and other film crew members to make passion projects a reality. All films made throughout the year are screened at the festival in April.

When: Thursday, April 6. Doors open at 8 PM and the show starts at 8:30

Where: The Michigan Theater

Cost: FREE!

Also includes FREE T-SHIRTS & POPCORN!

Link to Facebook Event

Link to the M-Agination Films Vimeo Page