Stories We Tell

Stories We Tell, a documentary directed by the accomplished Sarah Polley, showcases the idea of storytelling as an art form. Intrigued by the life of her deceased mother, she interviews members of her family and others linked to Diane Polley to uncover the truth. Sarah was born to older parents, and her family often joked that she looked nothing like her father. While researching Diane's past as an actress in Montreal, she finds more than she bargained for... and opens the door to a new reality.

The film takes viewers on an emotional ride that gradually reveals the relationship of each storyteller to Polley, who layers their raw emotion with staged footage and family photos. Each person has their own version of the story that weaves into the others for a nearly complete tapestry. As said in the film, many of the best stories come from within one's own life rather than outside of it.

"Stories We Tell" first debuted at the Venice Film Festival, and has since played at the Toronto Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival. It was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2013. Sarah Polley directed Away from Her and Take This Waltz, and is known for her acting work in Splice, The Secret Life of Words, and My Life Without Me.

Gravity: Visually Stunning, Prize Winning Film

For an entertaining 90-minute break from Earth, check out the movie Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. "Houston" down below is the voice of Ed Harris. Space is depicted as a very dangerous place -- a New York Times reviewer called this film a "Jack London tale in orbit."
Last night the film won seven (7!) Academy Awards, including best director, best cinematography, and best visual effects.
In the film, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a star scientist and mother who has lost her young daughter. George Clooney is a seasoned astronaut. Following an accident, the two are stranded in space, facing daunting challenges such as trying to avoid a lethal storm of debris.
Alfonso Cuaron wrote the script with his son Jonás. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is beyond fabulous. State-of- the- art special effects, both analog and digital, made me feel like I was, yes, floating in space.
Rating is PG 13. Currently at AADL there are 680 requests on 40 copies of the DVD and 437 requests on 30 copies of the Blu-ray. Place your order now!

Film & Discussion: The Ghosts in Our Machine

Thursday April 24, 2014: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

It’s Ann Arbor Veg Week 2014 and, as part of the Veg Week events, AADL and VegMichigan will host a special screening and discussion of "The Ghosts In Our Machine," the 2013 multi-award winning documentary by Liz Marshall that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world.

The film follows acclaimed photographer Jo-Anne McArthur over the course of a year as she photographs several animal stories in parts of Canada, the U.S. and in Europe. Each story is a window into global animal industries: Food, Fashion, Entertainment and Research.

The film (which has a running time of 92 minutes and is not rated) charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic that most of humankind strives hard to avoid. Are non-human animals property to be owned and used, or are they sentient beings deserving of rights?

VegMichigan will lead a discussion following the screening.

Oscar nods to films based on books


This year's Academy Award nominations include 5 out of 9 best pictures that are based on books, all of them non-fiction.

Have a read while you await the award show on March 2 (and don't miss AADL's Academy Awards Preview on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 pm at the Downtown Library).

12 years a slave based on the book by Solomon Northrup
American Hustle based on the book, the Sting Man: inside Abscam
Captain Phillips based on the book, A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips
Wolf of Wall Street based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort
Philomena based on the book Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search by Martin Sixsmith

Other award nominated movies based on books include:
Inside Llewelyn Davis based on the book Mayor of Macdougal Street : a memoir (nominated for cinematography & sound mixing)
Lone Survivor based on the book Lone survivor : the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10 (nominated for sound mixing)
Dirty Wars based on the book Dirty wars : the world is a battlefield (nominated for best documentary feature)

Lastly one play to film was nominated:
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress & Julia Roberts for best supporting actress)

Filmmaking 101

Do you consider yourself a filmmaker? Maybe not yet, but check out these brand new AADL teen nonfiction titles - as well as these film-related events!

Stop motion animation: how to make and share creative videos gives you guidance to create your very own stop motion film! You probably knew you could make your drawings animated by flipping Post-It-Notes, but did you know you could use whiteboards, paper cutouts, Legos, or even Smartphones? Ternan also gives tips on how to edit and share your videos once they’re ready for the world to see.

You can also check out the brand new autobiography by award-winning Andrew Jenks, My adventures as a young filmmaker. Jenks has created multiple documentaries and the YouTube series “It’s About a Girl.” In his book, he includes photos, opinions, lists, and other personal tidbits.

If you like viewing or making films, be sure to attend AADL’s great upcoming January events:

View the Sundance Film Festival Award-Winner: American Promise on Thursday, January 23 at the Downtown Library. This thorough documentary follows two African-American boys from kindergarten all the way through high school, and shows their triumphs and defeats along the way.

On Tuesday, January 28 at the Downtown Library, you can learn from Community Television Network staff how to make your own iMovie and edit the footage.

Martin Bandyke's Moving Pictures: Academy Awards Preview With Special Guest Russ Collins!

Wednesday February 26, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Movie buffs!!!! Oscar fans and experts!!! Do not miss this event!!!

Will it be Cate or Sandra? McConaughey or Dern? Gravity or 12 Years A Slave? Will Jennifer Lawrence win twice in a row? Who was left out? Who did not deserve to be included?

Martin Bandyke, morning host and movie maniac at Ann Arbor's 107one, hosts a lively discussion with Russ Collins of the Michigan Theater about who should win and who will win the 2014 Oscars.

Martin & Russ will also take questions from the audience and give a preview of hot films coming to the Michigan in 2014.

Film & Discussion: We Can't Eat Gold

Thursday November 14, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

“How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” Residing about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage the people of Dillingham, Alaska have lived off of caribou and the world’s largest, most spectacular sockeye salmon fishery located in Bristol Bay. But now the proposed Pebble Mine that seeks to extract valuable deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum threatens that way of life.

The documentary We Can’t Eat Gold, casts light on the sustainable living the people have made off the land and sea. It also gives voice to the concern of the Alaska Native elders and youths not only about the future but also the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations. With government approval pending will the people’s voice be heard?

Film director Joshua Tucker and producer Giovanna Marcantonio will be on hand to lead the discussion following the viewing of the film.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program.

Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'

Featuring an all-star cast of Academy Award-winning and -nominated actors Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern, The Master is another fascinating film from Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson’s previous films Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will be Blood have all been well received.

The Master is a striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post-World War II America. It unfolds with the journey of a naval veteran who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future, until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. Believed by many to be based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, Anderson has said parts of the story were lifted from early drafts of the script for There Will Be Blood, as well as Navy stories that Jason Robards told him.

If you're drawn to The Master, you may want to check out the bestselling book by Lawrence Wright: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. The book features many interviews, including the infamous one with Paul Haggis featured in the February, 2011, New Yorker article THE APOSTATE Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.

Exclusive Ann Arbor Screening of "Room 237" The New Documentary About The Horror Classic "The Shining" - With A Discussion Led By Shining Expert And "Room 237" Star Geoffrey Cocks

Thursday June 6, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Have you ever wondered if there are hidden symbols and messages in Kubrick’s masterpiece, "The Shining"? Learn more about this classic horror film, when the AADL screens the documentary “Room 237".

The film will be introduced by "The Shining" expert Geoffrey Cocks, who is also prominently featured in "Room 237".

Enjoy an evening of film and enlightening discussion - and find out more about the secrets hidden deep in "The Shining"!

Film: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective

Wednesday May 22, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

AADL joins the Performance Network Theatre for a special screening of the acclaimed documentary "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective". The film examines the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- the subject for the Performance Network's May production of Katori Hall's new play "The Mountaintop".

In this award-winning documentary, writer/director Thomas Friedman takes a look Reverend King's ideas, actions, and influence on the fight to end racial segregation. Performance Network staff will be on hand to provide an introduction to "The Mountaintop," which is having its Michigan Premiere at the Network through June 2.

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