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Local News / Entertainment

Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 11:52 AM

'Jan Villa' win Ken Burns Award at the 2011 Ann Arbor Film Festival

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

AAFF Executive Director Donald Harrison and award juror Rebecca Meyers announce the award winners.

by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This past Sunday signified an end to the major film awards season (at least in Michigan) with the Awards Night programs of the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Prior to two separate film lineups, the presentation of 26 awards to a total of 28 shorts that varied among experimental, narrative, documentary, animated, and otherwise was announced.

The six-day event’s chief award, the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival, went to Natasha Mendonca’s Jan Villa, a jumpy tour through post-flood Bombay that centers on the both the cityscape and residents that made it through. The 20-minute piece fittingly closed out the 6:00 p.m. block, preceded by eight others.

The first replayed winner of the night was Fern Silva’s In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails, the winner of the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film that gave a chopped up look at life’s aim to move forward.

Arguably the most captivating shorts, in terms of affecting opposite senses of humor and utter sorrow, were Braden King’s Home Movie and Atsushi Wada’s The Mechanism of Spring, which won the respective Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative and the Prix DeVarti for Funniest Film. The accolades would double for Wada, despite also winning the award for In a Pig’s Eye, presented during the second film block beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Perhaps in order to provide a sense of bookending to the festival, AAFF 2011 ended as it began: with subject matter centered on species of the fine-feathered kind. While Ray’s Birds (which appropriately won the On the Fly Award) by Deborah Stratman was the first to be screened last Tuesday, the final winning short shown Sunday night was Richard Wiebe’s Aliki, an observation of what is symbolically hinted to be the sun setting on a lone flamingo’s existence. For this film, Wiebe was awarded the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker.

With such winged variety in this year’s content, the hope for plenty to be packed into the 50th anniversary celebration of the Ann Arbor Film Festival is already flying high.

For details on the full listing of award winners and descriptions of what the awards represent, please visit the following Film Festival pages: http://aafilmfest.org/award-winners-49th-ann-arbor-film-festival.

Related Story: 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival excites young filmmakers

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Natasha Mendonca's Jan Villa (2010) won the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival - $3,000.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Timoleon Wilkins' Drifter (2010) won the Stan Brakhage Film at Wit’s End Award - $1,000.

 

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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

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