Ann Arbor film fest starts

52nd iteration opens tonight, goes through Sunday


The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks-off at 6 p.m. today with an opening night reception and concludes Sunday night with back-to-back screenings of the festival’s award winners. In between, more than 200 films — 180 of which are in competition — will be shown during the festival’s six-day run.

FULL SCHEDULE: click here

The majority of the screenings are at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, with the State Theatre, 233 S. State St., and the Art Helmut Stern Auditorium in the University of Michigan Museum, 525 S. State St., hosting a few events as well.

Ticket prices vary, but a general admission full pass is $95, or $80 for students and seniors. For more information, including a complete schedule of film screenings and festival events, visit aafilmfest.org or call 734-995-5356.

Established in 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. Leslie Raymond, executive director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, said 11,000 tickets were sold to last year’s event and she expects the same number or slightly more this year.

Among the highlights this year, she said, are career retrospectives of documentarian Thom Andersen and director Penelope Spheeris, best known for Wayne’s World as well as The Decline in Western Civilization documentary series and the cult favorite Suburbia, which was produced by Roger Corman. Both filmmakers will be in attendance and, as part of their retrospectives, will be screening experimental shorts Andersen and Spheeris each made early in their careers. The festival also will showcase new shorts, experimental narratives, documentaries, animation, feature-length films, and other genres from around the world in its 40 programs spread throughout the event.