56th AAFF’s Opening Night Program: Reviews and Ratings

Opening Night inside the Michigan Theater foyer (Pete Bublitz/AmericaJR)

Not all screened shorts were viewed, therefore reviews and ratings apply to those seen.

Sky Room (Marianna Milhorat, 2017): Reliant on retro footage, the editing ensured a sarcastic tone through a still futuristic foreboding of human/robot coexistence. 3.5/5

165708 (Josephine Massarella, 2017): It’s redundant to say, but any filmmakers who enact an outsider’s cry of “How’d they do that?” have completed their objective. 3.5/5

ISLAND (Max Mörtl and Robert Löbel, 2017)*: Evolution gone surreal has been a hit at the AAFF since I first started going. Emphasizing it as a growing rhythm with an epic climax made it the prize of the viewed program. 5/5

Ayesha (Yanyu Dong, 2017)**: Made as a narrative salute (mainly to the creator’s mother) via a sort of dramatization, the short is able to convey a minimalist approach to storytelling with frame-by-frame portraiture and landscape captures. 3/5

Casino (Steve Woloshen, 2016): What looks like literally direct-to-film animation owes its transition amongst impacting sketches to the soundtrack. 2.5/5

Katagami (Michael Lyons, 2016): Again still-by-still technique was the main shooting style, but the ongoing flickering of the image gets to the eyes after several minutes. 2/5

Extrapolate (Johan Rijpma, 2016): Because it appears done by pencil while maintaining the theme, the transition of images as a linear flow in all directions serve as perhaps the best editing work on display in the program. 4/5

Rhythm of Being (Giada Ghiringhelli, 2017): Somehow 80s in terms of vibe personally observed, the electronic audio backdrop helps maintain the balance of how much the lighting techniques and the subject influence each other’s visual layout. 3.5/5

The Trigger of the Cone (Niyaz Saghari, 2016)*: This additional instance of narration driving the progression of captured people and locale features is less humorous yet more realistic in its capture of the city. 3/5

*- U.S. premiere
**- World premiere


Attendees mingling inside the foyer of the Michigan Theater on opening night. (Pete Bublitz/AmericaJR)


Outside the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pete Bublitz/AmericaJR)



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