AADL is an Ann Arbor Film Festival Community Partner

Ann Arbor Film Fest LogoAnn Arbor Film Fest LogoThe Ann Arbor Film Festival is here again, and with it comes another year of films, events, and community partnership. AADL will once again be an official AAFF community partner for Films in Competition 4, on Saturday March 28 at 11 am at the Michigan Theater, which features films especially for viewers and filmmakers age 6 and up.

You can check out the list of films playing and buy tickets on the Ann Arbor Film Fest’s website. Make sure to enter the code AAFF53_AADL for half off your advance ticket – normally $6!

When you come to the screening, you’ll even have a chance to hear the premieres of the film scores participants created in our Making Movie Music workshop, held in conjunction with the AAFF.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. The 53rd AAFF takes place March 24-29, 2015 and presents over 200 films from across the world with dozens of world premieres. For more information, please visit the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s website.

Film & Discussion: Race To Nowhere

Wednesday March 18, 2015: 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

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

Parents today are expected to raise high-achieving children, skilled in a multitude of talents, and ready to respond to many complex challenges. Bombarded by academic standards, competition for educational opportunities, and run-away schedules, young people struggle to accommodate the intense demands. From preschool through college, children are pressured, pushed, coached, sculpted, scheduled and reviewed, running a never-ending gauntlet towards adulthood.

Race To Nowhere, rated PG-13, is a call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become the healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens in the 21st century.

A community discussion led by Elizabeth Koschmann, PhD, Research Investigator in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and a member of the U-M Depression Center, will follow this screening.

Center for Japanese Studies Special Event

Each year, approximately 30,000 Japanese die by suicide, a rate nearly double that of the U.S. The Center for Japanese Studies is hosting a local effort to educate the public about this problem by sponsoring a series of three free events over three days that combines film, lecture and discussion. It begins Thursday, February 5th, 12-1:30 at the School of Social Work with four brief presentations by Japanese Studies experts and U of M faculty, under the theme "Beyond Seppuku: A multidisciplinary Context to Suicide in Japan". On Friday, February 6th from 6:00-8:00 PM will be the screening of the award winning documentary Saving 10,000: Winning a War on Suicide in Japan at Palmer Commons. A discussion on suicide issues in the Japanese population will be led by a diverse panel after the screening.On Saturday, February 7th from 10:00 AM-Noon at the Holiday Inn, Livonia this film will be screened and the discussion afterword will be in Japanese. For more information email: umcjs@umich.edu

Film & Discussion: ‘Never a Bystander‘

Monday April 20, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

"Never a Bystander" is a documentary made by Ann Arbor filmmaker Evelyn Neuhaus, about Holocaust survivor Dr. Irene Butter. At age 14, Irene, along with her family, endured deplorable conditions during internment in two concentration camps in Nazi Germany. "Never a Bystander" tells Irene's story, and shares her message of optimism and courage in the face of injustice. We will screen the 30-minute film, then Irene will give a talk about her work and experiences educating and uplifting audiences with her story.

Film & Discussion: 'Valentine Road'

Thursday September 25, 2014: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm -- Michigan Theater

2013 Sundance film, "Valentine Road" will be screened at the Michigan Theater followed by a Q&A with its director, Marta Cunningham.

In 2008, eighth-grade student Brandon McInerney shot his classmate Larry King twice in the back of the head. With keen insight, the film connects the human wreckage of Larry’s and Brandon’s troubled lives—both bullied and both searching for a sense of belonging.

This event is sponsored by U-M Library in conjunction with Film Forward and AADL. For more information and for a list of sponsors please see Sundance.org. There will be no charge for admission to this event and the film is not rated.

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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.

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