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Ann Arbor Film Festival opens tonight

The 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival explores “the new world of independent cinema," beginning with the Opening Night Gala and screening Tuesday, March 24th!

This year's Opening Night Gala takes place from 6:00 – 8:00pm in the Grand Foyer of the historic Michigan Theater. The celebration kicks off with live music from Los Gatos, open bar and catering from local favorites including Seva, Totoro Japanese Restaurant, eat catering & chef services, Morgan & York, Avalon Bread, Schakolad chocolates and cakes by Heather Leavitt. The open bar includes beer by Arbor Brewing Company, wine by Sandhill Crane Vineyards, coffee provided by Roos Roast and teas by Arbor Teas. Stylish attire is encouraged.

Tickets for the 6:00pm gala are $30 for general public, and $20 for AAFF members & students/seniors.
Opening Night Screening
Following the festival director's welcoming remarks, some of this year's most memorable short films in competition across all spectrums and styles of independent cinema will screen starting shortly after 8:00pm.
Featured artists include AAFF alum such as Michael Langan, Sam Green, and Danny Plotnick, along with revered artists such as PES, Run Wrake, Eva Weber and Don Hertzfeldt with the regional premiere of his latest I am so proud of you.
Ticket prices for the Screening are only $9, and $7 for AAFF members and students/seniors.

826michigan Reviews of Opening Night Films
Last month the AAFF held a workshop with students at 826michigan, a non-profit that teaches young students creative and expository writing skills. We previewed several Opening Night films and the students learned how to write reviews. Highlights are as follows:
Western Spaghetti is the latest stop-motion masterpiece from PES. Kathleen, age 14, said, " if all simple everyday objects, hobbies, or events in our lives were chopped up and placed in a "pasta sauce" over spaghetti, what would it taste like? Would it be bitter, or sweet? Salty? Tangy?" Snow, age 12, summed the film up, "A different delight. Strange and simple, an animated film that is two minutes of pure enjoyment. It is funny how someone can turn the simple unnecessary thing in the day into the delicious part. Very witty and creative. However, I did not get the relation between candy corn and flame except for the colors."
Team Taliban looks into the world of professional wrestling through the eyes of Adeel Alam, a Muslim-American who plays the role of a terrorist in order to further his career. This paradox lent itself towards a great deal of reflection from our reviewers. Otto, age 13, wrote, “It showed how simple, stage-acting could enforce racism into a young mind.” Sofi, age 11, saw it this way, "The main character makes a choice. He chooses to dress like a middle east-type person, using humor that can barely be called humor and shouting at the crowd, etc. He wants attention, but he chooses the wrong means. By becoming this "evil" character, he gets himself the wrong type of attention. He's up there representing his entire race, and he chooses to portray hatred and evil.
Cattle Call creates a fast-paced profile of champion auctioneer, Tim Dowler, with animation, live action and experimental techniques. John, age 13, worked to make sense of the film, "I believe the movie is showing how crazy cattle auctions can be. I - and probably many people who haven't seen a cattle auction - will be confused at first view. They show a man calling the bids and men attacking each other. Every few frames there would be dollar signs just to make sure you knew they were bidding, not trying to kill each other." And Preston, age 12, wrote, “The highest bidder wins the cow… and the ending.”
Complete reviews of the films from our 826michigan workshop will be added to the AAFF website soon - stay tuned and enjoy Opening Night!

The 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 24 - 29, 2009

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