Ann Arbor Film Festival

Ann Arbor Film Festival

51 Annual March 19, 2013 to March 24, 2013


The Ann Arbor Film Festival is committed to support bold, visionary independent filmmakers, advance the art form of film and new media, and engage communities with remarkable cinematic experiences.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. Internationally renowned as a premiere forum for film as an independent art form, the AAFF screens works across a broad range of genres including: experimental, animation, documentary, narrative and hybrid works. The AAFF is steeped in a rich tradition of ground-breaking cinema as thousands of filmmakers screened early work at the AAFF, including luminaries such as: Kenneth Anger, Agnes Varda, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant, Barbara Hammer, James Benning, Bruce Conner, Chick Strand, Les Blank, Lawrence Kasdan, and George Lucas.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival serves as one of the few Academy Award®-qualifying festivals in the United States for the Short Films category. The AAFF presents over $20,000 in cash awards to filmmakers in competition, as determined by the awards jury. The AAFF is highly competitive, receiving over 2,600 submissions annually from more than 60 countries. All submissions are reviewed by a minimum of 3 trained screeners, with many films watched and discussed collectively by 4 – 7 members of the festival screening team.

The festival main venue, the Michigan Theater, is a gorgeous 1920s movie palace with a historic organ that is performed prior to many of the programs. The theater has two screening spaces: the impressive 1,700-seat main auditorium and the state-of-the-art 200-seat screening room. The AAFF is committed to high quality exhibition of all films at the festival and presents work on 16mm, 35mm, super 8mm and digital formats.

Many accepted filmmakers attend the festival as guests each year and receive complimentary festival pass, housing with host families, shuttle transportation to/from airport, filmmaker party, catered green room and swag bag. The AAFF also provides additional opportunities for select filmmakers accepted into the festival. As a pioneer of the traveling film festival tour, each year a “best of” shorts program travels to more than 35 theaters, universities, museums and art house cinemas throughout North America. Filmmakers participating in the tour are paid for each screening of their work.

Becca Keating (Development Manager) ; David Dinnell (Program Director) ; Maria Feldman (Operations Manager)

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is open to independent film and digital media in all categories that demonstrate a high regard for the moving image as an art form. Each year we select 100-125 shorts and features for exhibition in the awards competition portion of the festival. Films previously submitted (and not selected) may be re-entered if there has been a significant change to the edit. You must complete an entry form for each film submitted. Entry fees are per film entered, and must accompany the entry form for confirmation. Make checks and money orders payable to the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Entry fees are non-refundable.

Entries are accepted in the following formats: DVD, Blu-ray, Internet Links (URL) Secure Online Screening and 16mm. Please note: Region free NTSC DVDs are preferred for screening purposes, though we do accept PAL and region 1. We do not accept VHS or video data files for screening purposes.

DVDs & cases must be labeled (preferably using permanent marker/ink) with film title, filmmaker name, phone, email and WAB tracking ID number. Please place DVDs in a DVD sleeve, no hard plastic cases of any kind.

If you have a link (ie., Vimeo) you may submit via Withoutabox or with an entry form found on our website ( and send an email to with the link, title of film, director and Withoutabox tracking number (if applicable).

This option is only available for short films in the documentary, animation, narrative and music video categories. We do not accept the SOS option for experimental works.

If you would like the festival to preview a 16mm print of your film, please contact the festival directly to make arrangements.

Please review the following postmark deadlines carefully.

Early Deadline – August 20, 2012 (postmarked by)

Official Deadline – October 8, 2012 (postmarked by)

Late Deadline – November 8, 2012 (postmarked by)

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