Ann Arbor, MI—The 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) will be presented as a free live-streamed six-day event March 24-March 29, 2020. Due to growing health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, we made the decision to suspend all in-person events for the 58th AAFF and instead present short and feature films in competition entirely online for the safety of our community. The online event is designed to be accessible and will be streamed through Vimeo. Moderated live Q&As with filmmakers will be streamed following the film screenings in order to continue discourse between filmmakers and our audience.
Jurors will fulfill their commitment of reviewing programmed films in competition in order to confer the $22,500 in awards. In order to make sure that all films are judged fairly, the jurors will be sent a hard drive with folders corresponding to the program of screenings so they can see all the films in the context designed by our programmer. We are asking them to find the best, most consistent viewing environment they can, and to watch all the films in the same conditions. Jurors are motivated to engage in discussions throughout the process, just as they would in our typical festival setting.
“We did explore options of canceling the festival entirely and rescheduling. We just don’t have the resources available to both hold the 58th AAFF while planning for next year’s 59th AAFF at the same time,” said Festival Director, Leslie Raymond. “Even though we are 58 years old, we are a tiny organization with a team of three full-time employees, a festival assistant, and a crew of interns. Once we tie up loose ends after the festival week concludes, it does take us the whole year to put the next festival together.”
“Our commitment to the filmmakers, the art of moving image, and to our audience is too strong to throw everyone’s hard work away. The filmmakers deserve to have their work seen by an audience and by our jurors in consideration of the awards. In this time of quarantine lockdown, people are in the perfect position to take in the best moving image art of our time.”
Films are not rated and all programs are intended for mature audiences unless otherwise noted. Some films have imagery of a stroboscopic nature.
About the Ann Arbor Film Festival
Founded in 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest independent and experimental film festival in North America and is internationally recognized as a premier forum for film as an art form. The AAFF typically receives nearly 3,000 film submissions a year from more than 70 countries, and the festival serves as one of a handful of Academy Award–qualifying festivals in the United States. The AAFF is also a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour. Each year the touring programs visit more than 35 theaters, universities, museums, and micro cinemas around the world. The 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival takes place March 24-29, 2020. For more information, please visit aafilmfest.org, and be sure to join AAFF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo.
Major AAFF Partners and Foundation Support
AAFF gratefully acknowledges support from and partnerships with the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, which encourages, initiates, and facilitates an enriched artistic cultural and creative environment in Michigan; the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office, which supports the media industry in Michigan and helps the state of Michigan become a production destination; the historic Michigan Theater, a vital partner whose beautiful venue serves as the primary location for AAFF events; the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation; and the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, with a mission focused on creative practice as an engine for cultural change and innovation.