Michigan Film & Digital Media Office Sponsors Ann Arbor Film Festival

LANSING – The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office announced Monday it is sponsoring the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which runs March 15-20.

The 54th annual AAFF, which built its reputation on showcasing experimental and avant-garde films, received $5,000 from MFDMO. The film festival is internationally recognized as a premier forum for “film as an art form,” and as an Academy-Award qualifying festival.

“As the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is a true pioneer in advancing and introducing the public to avant-garde, independent filmmaking,” said Jenell Leonard, commissioner of the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

“The festival aligns with our office’s new direction through the ‘Expanding Frames Workshop Series’ that connects emerging talent with opportunities to network and learn from other creative filmmakers,” she said.

MFDMO is a catalyst for statewide advocacy and promotion of world-class film talent, and the development of a network of production professionals and film festivals focusing on the advantage of working and producing creative projects in Michigan.

The office changed its name and broadened its mission in September to reflect a new focus subsequent to the elimination of the film incentive program in July. The renewed emphasis aims to attract businesses and talent that create content across all media channels, including mobile, CGI, animation, digital, gaming and social media. 

“Our mission embraces new media, so the new rebranding of the MFDMO is exciting and aligns nicely with who we are and what we are trying to do as a festival,” said AAFF Executive Director Leslie Raymond.

More than 3,200 submissions from 35 countries were reviewed and placed in 10 categories. Screenings take place from midday to midnight. Two awards shows will be held Sunday, March 20 at the Michigan Theater, the primary venue for showings and events.

AAFF is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a partnership with the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art.

Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs has also provided support to the film festival.