Ann Arbor Film Festival

308 1/2 S. State St.
Suite 22
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 995-5356

Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono are just two film makers who showcased their early works at this annual event, the oldest experimental film festival in the U.S. This year, the organization turns 50 and promises to offer an exciting lineup of film of all lengths and genres, including experimental, narrative, animation, documentary and genre hybrids. Last year’s festival presented 188 films, videos and live performances in 40 programs in 6 days, including more than 20 new-work premieres. The 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival runs March 27 to April 1.

What to do with your extra time
The Ann Arbor calendar of events any and all festival-related activities: Take in a lecture about archaeology in Egypt, play a ukulele or attend a wine tasting. Ann Arbor is a Mecca of stimulating activities for the intellectually curious.

Take a hike

(credit: Matthaei Botanical Gardens)

Sitting in a cinema seat for hours at a time can result in an inconvenient case of monkey butt. Combine inside viewing with outdoor leisure at the the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum. This 300-acre garden has a variety of outdoor displays and nature trails for exploring, or wander the city of Ann Arbor to count the number of fire hydrants festively painted by school children.

Meet a celebrity
This festival draws big-name film makers, including the likes of Michael Moore, who has attended the event for more than 40 years. Moore is an edgy, award-winning film maker who documents American inequality and speaks loudly about social injustice. The United Nations observes Feb. 20 annually as the World Day of Social Justice — it pledged to promote greater access to resources through equity, equality and opportunity for all. Moore is a leading figure in keeping issues of social justice exposed to the public eye.

Related: Michael Moore Traverse City Film Fest Tops $500,000 Fund Goal

Support the arts
Ebay will list items for the charitable benefit of the Film Festival. Signing up is easy, and re-purposing any unwanted household items is both good for the environment and highly encourage by this tax-exempt organization. Just about anything imaginable can be sold on Ebay, and proceeds will be issued directly to the festival’s account. Your old 8-Track tapes could be someone else’s treasure, and the emerging film makers trying to get their break at the festival will treasure your support.

Get inspired

(credit: Thinkstock)

Taking the time to study other film makers’ works is well worth the effort, and may even inspire you to create your own film to submit to next year’s festival. Any genre is considered, as is any subject, from birding to psychic healing. If becoming the next Cecil B. DeMille isn’t your cup of tea, travel the country as a tour assistant with the winning films. Volunteer placements and internships open to applicants in April.

Related: Ann Arbor Film Festival Tours U.S.

Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at