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Years running: 56 (since 1963)

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Oldest American film festival for independent filmmakers.

About

Created as an alternative to commercial cinema, the annual week-long festival remains true to its original mission of promoting film as an art form. The Ann Arbor Film Festival also fosters the growth of emerging and established film and video makers.

The festival is open to film and video of all lengths and genres, including experimental, narrative, animation, documentary, and genre hybrids. The festival’s mission is to supporting bold, visionary filmmakers, promote the art of film & new media, and provide communities with remarkable cinematic experiences.

The winner of the short film competition automatically qualifies for the OSCARcompetition for the Best Short Film.

Awards

  • Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design

    Given for excellence and originality in sound design, this award is provided by Leon Speakers.
    Sponsor: Leon Speakers
    Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The Prix DeVarti Award for Funniest Film

    Awarded to the film likely to create the most laughs in the festival. This prize honors the 40-year friendship between Dominick's pub and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and honors the memory of Dominick and Alice DeVarti. Supported by an Endowment Fund established by the DeVarti Family.
    Sponsor: No Sponsor
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • George Manupelli Founder's Spirit Award

    Provided to the filmmaker that best captures the bold and iconoclastic spirt of the founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, George Manupelli, whose vision for the festival continues to this day. Supported by Dave & Rich DeVarti.
    Sponsor: No Sponsor
    Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film

    Recognizing the animated film that delivers the best style, creativity, and content. This award is given in honor of the spirit of Chris Frayne, a key participant in the festival's early years, whose approach to life was reminiscent of his colorful cartoon characters. Special thanks to Ann Arbor?s colorful Q+M Marketing for lead support of this award.
    Sponsor: No Sponsor
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival

    Presented to the film of any genre or length that best represents the artistic standards of excellence for the festival. This award is generously provided by influential documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, a graduate of Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School.
    Sponsor: Ken Burns
    Cash Award Value: 3000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker

    This award is intended to support an emerging filmmaker that the Award Jury expects will make a significant contribution to the art of film in the course of his/her filmmaking career. This award is endowed by the Berman family in honor of the memory of Tom Berman, who was a University of Michigan film student, an early festival supporter and close friend to many within the festival community.
    Sponsor: No Sponsor
    Cash Award Value: 2000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film

    The best non-fiction film of the festival will receive this award from documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who received inspiration from hundreds of films he viewed over the years at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Proceeds from his film, Roger and Me, fund this annual award.
    Sponsor: Michael Moore
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film

    The narrative film that best makes use of film?s unique ability to convey striking and original stories will receive this award distinction. A notable Hollywood filmmaker, Lawrence Kasdan got his start in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan and continues his connection through support of this festival award.
    Sponsor: Lawrence Kasdan
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Best Experimental Film

    Honoring the film that most successfully showcases the use of experimental processes, forms, and topics. This award is supported by Ann Arbor residents Ron & Robin Sober.
    Sponsor: Ron & Robin Sober
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • RingSide Creative Archival Film Award

    For the best film of the Festival using a significant amount of archival film footage, including home movies and found footage. The recipient of this award will receive $1000 in 16mm and 35mm film scanning services from RingSide Creative.
    Sponsor: RingSide Creative, a SE Michigan integrated media studio
    Value of Goods/Services: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Gil Omenn Art & Science Award

    This award honors the filmmaker whose work best uses the art form of flm and video to explore scientific concepts, research natural phenomena or embrace real world experimentation. Provided by Gil Omenn who seeks to encourage a positive exchange between the arts and sciences.
    Sponsor: Gil Omenn
    Cash Award Value: 1000 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • PROCAM Best Regional Filmmaker Award

    This award supports our top Michigan talent. The winner will receive $750 in store credit from PROCAM.
    Sponsor: PROCAM
    Value of Goods/Services: 750 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Eileen Maitland Award

    This award is to be given to the film that best addresses women?s issues and gives voice to female voices. It was created to honor of the spirit and memory of Eileen Maitland who was a dear friend and long-time supporter of the festival, as well as a patron and practitioner of the arts.
    Cash Award Value: 600 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The No Violence Award

    Provided to reward the film that best exemplifies themes and images of peace, whether addressing the topic directly or simply turning the mind toward gentleness. No depictions of weaponry or fighting, human or animal suffering, or destructive activities. Provided by Ann Arbor residents Matthew Graff and Leslie Lawther.

    Sponsor: Matthew Graff and Leslie Lawther
    Cash Award Value: 512 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Award for Best International Film

    Granted to the film produced outside of the United States which most strongly impresses our Awards Jury, this award is supported by Ann Arbor?s Tios Mexican Cafe.
    Sponsor: Tios Mexican Cafe
    Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.
     

  • The Peter Wilde Award for Most Technically Innovative Film

    The film which showcases the most pioneering, cutting-edge technical innovations will receive this award. Peter Wilde was a long-time projectionist for the festival and master of special effects. This award honors his creativity and pursuit of new techniques.
    Sponsor: No Sponsor
    Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Vox Populi Audience Award

    Selected by the audience, an award of $500 will be awarded the highest-rated films in competition at this year?s festival.
    Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • The FILM Award for Best LGBT Film

    This award honors the film that best addresses and gives voice to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) issues. The \aut\BAR of Ann Arbor contributes this award to promote a diversity of voices that achieve excellence in filmmaking.
    Sponsor: BAR
    Cash Award Value: 300 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Best Music Video

    Provided to recognize excellence in the art form of music video, which serves as a unique collaborative relationship between musician and film/video maker. This award is supported by Ann Arbor's beloved and independently owned Wazoo Records and Overture Audio.
    Sponsor: Wazoo Records and Overture Audio
    Cash Award Value: 300 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

  • Jury Awards

    Remaining prize monies that are distributed at the awards jurors' discretion as honorable mentions to films of distinction and artistic accomplishment.
    Cash Award Value: 1500 U.S. Dollar
    This prize is shared with other categories.

Rules

  • Submit your film(s) with either the online form OR at withoutabox.
  • Short films run no longer than 59 minutes.
  • Feature films run 60 minutes or more. 

Subtitles language: English

Premiere Requirements

No premiere requirement

Jury and Organizers

  • Executive Director: Leslie Raymond 
  • Development Manager: Becca Keating 
  • Program Director: David Dinnell 
  • Operations Manager: Kyle Stefek

Documents

Place

United States
Ann Arbor

Official website

aafilmfest.org

Contacts

Address:
PO Box 8232
Ann Arbor MI 48107
USA

Phone: 734-995-5356
Fax: 734-995-5396

Email: info@aafilmfest.org

Social Networks:

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Dates & Deadlines
  • Opening date
    July 01, 2017
  • Earlybird Deadline
    August 01, 2018
  • Regular Deadline
    September 01, 2018
  • Late Deadline
    September 30, 2018
  • Notifications
    February 01, 2019
  • Event dates
    26 — 31 March 2019
Categories & Fees

maximum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $30
  • Regular Deadline — $45
  • Late Deadline — $60

minimum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $40
  • Regular Deadline — $55
  • Late Deadline — $70

maximum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $30
  • Regular Deadline — $45
  • Late Deadline — $60

minimum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $40
  • Regular Deadline — $55
  • Late Deadline — $70

maximum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $30
  • Regular Deadline — $45
  • Late Deadline — $60

minimum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $40
  • Regular Deadline — $55
  • Late Deadline — $70

minimum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $40
  • Regular Deadline — $55
  • Late Deadline — $70

maximum 60 minutes

  • Earlybird Deadline — $30
  • Regular Deadline — $45
  • Late Deadline — $60

maximum 60 minutes.

  • Earlybird Deadline — $30
  • Regular Deadline — $45
  • Late Deadline — $60
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