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<< Entertainment >>

2015 Ann Arbor Film Festival

Friday, 27 March, 2015 11:32 AM

Opening Night at 53rd AAFF dedicated to the late Manupelli

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

From left to right: Steve Wetzel (Of the Iron Range), Steven Woloshen (1000 Plateaus), Terri Sarris and Frank Pahl (Ziegler), Lisa Truttmann and Behrouz Rae (Babash), and Ephraim Asili (Many Thousands Gone).

 

 

by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

 

|

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The visual arts display had yet to be assembled, several attendees were dressed up for going (sing it) to the lobby, and the opening night decorative theme was more of a black/white contrast. But the main significance of this year’s Ann Arbor Film Festival was its dedication to the life of Founder George Manupelli (1931-2014).

The opening program consisted of eight competition entries, by ten filmmakers of which seven were in attendance, and the 1969 short Necrology by another filmmaker lost in 2014, Standish Lawler. The following is a series of reactions, ratings, and when applicable input from the filmmakers themselves concerning the films in this kick-off program.

Twelve Tales Told
Johan Lurf, 2014

Appropriate first film, relying on chopped up production logos to make a creative score. 3/5

1000 Plateaus
Steven Woloshen, 2014

A literal bit of art on film created in the front seat, Woloshen mentioned how “I thought I could stick it to my bosses, saying, ‘ See you can make a big film, I can make a little film.” The plus however would he soundtracking it with Lionel Hampton. 3/5

MeTube: August sings Carmen “Habanera”
Daniel Moshel, 2013

Aside from a candidate for “second best mom ever,” great edit effects, and musical style transition, I might have said it before but I’ll say it now: Me in ten years. 4.5/5

Symphony No. 42
Reka Busci, 2014

I pondered the message intended, but merely concur it’s a chaotically entertaining saga of vignettes focused on nature out of balance. 5/5

Ziegler
Terri Sarris and Frank Pahl, 2015

The pair was asked if Svankmajer was a lingering motivation, to which they revealed that the intended vibe was rooted in classic Gumby cartoons. The stop motion felt limited, yet the main focus of backdrops and thrown in objects pushed the underlying typed story progression along. “We both collect too much stuff. It’s kind of an autobiography for me, about answers,” said Sarris. 3/5

Babash
Lisa Truttmann and Behrouz Rae, 2014

Simple yet interesting take on subject (a bird named Babash) against setting context, yet the magic elevated perfectly with a second subject appearing midway through. And the origin of the work couldn’t be more simple. “I was just visiting, and it was beautiful to see [Babash] and Behrouz interact,” said Truttmann of what compelled her to start shooting. “We came up with ideas like the colors,” said Rae on the inclusion of abstract additions. “We have our own language, a nonsense language.” 4/5

Of the Iron Range
Steve Wetzel, 2014

“I heard about the about the wood tick race on the radio. I thought, ‘That sounds great,’” recalled Wetzel on how he settled on the film’s subject matter. Featuring sound clear enough to make every stepped on grass blade eardrum-piercing, the documentary exploration of a cultural event in a post-industrial region is up-close enough to be almost as disturbing as it is humorous in capturing a social spirit. “A lady said, “See? You can make a movie about anything!” 4.5/5

Many Thousands Gone
Ephraim Asili, 2015

Super 8 looking in its tone, with a soundtrack arranged when given to jazz artist Joe McPhee, Asili’s work aimed to pinpoint a parallel energy on two separate continents, specifically Salvador and Harlem. “I went… to capture that energy,” he said. “The process has been [the] dissolving of the space.” 3.5/5

Necrology
Standish Lawder, 1969

A tribute inclusion, this closing film makes for a hair-raising mashup of 1960s setting and silent movie mood buildup in its graininess and organ dirge soundtrack. Each subject is of immense interest due to their fleeting time on screen, and if the title serves as a hint, the ongoing stationary shot conveys an escalator that may or may not be descending to the afterlife. 3.5/5

For more information or to purchase tickets to the Ann Arbor Film Festival, visit www.aafilmfest.org.

Related Stories: Retrospective: 52nd AAFF Films of Inspiration; 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival: My Take on the Opening Night Program; 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival Preview: Features in Competition and Special Guests

 

 

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Attendees mingling in the lobby of the Michigan Theater

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Welcome by Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Ann Arbor Film Festival Executive Director Leslie Raymond

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

AAFF Program Director David Dinnell

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Another shot of the executive director

 

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