100 - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 8, 1998
A2 Film Festival offers choices
By Gerard Cohen-srtgnaud
saily Arts riter
Does' the thought of seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger,
spouting one-liners in yet another overhyped, poorly
acted and bewilderingly inane movie make you sick to
If so, you might find solace in the offerings of the Ann
Atbor Film Festival, which features a refreshing and eclectic
mix of experimental films, documentaries, and animated
The festival showcases the efforts of talented filmmakers
from across the United States and around the world. For
many directors, the festival has been a springboard to recog-
nition and financial backing.
Director Arthur Dong, whose documentary "License to
Kill" was shown at the 36th annual festival, acknowledged
the importance of the festival.
"They showed my very first film" Dong said. "As a
young filmmaker, it was important to receive exposure. To
know that people were watching my film was very encourag-
The festival, Dong said, has stayed faithful to the focus it
held when he showed his earliest work.
"Ann Arbor accepted works of all kinds, especially exper-
imental films" Dong said. "I've always followed the growth
of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The spirit of the festival is
intact, as far as focusing on the art of film." ay
That attention to art is what many say distinguishes the
Ann Arbor Film Festival from more commercial festivals
such as Sundance.
"We're about experimental film," said Vicki
Honeyman, who directed the last festival. "We're not
about distributors, contracts or Hollywood We're about
the film and the art." sew
In the past, the festival has shown the works of many up-
and-comers, including George Lucas, Brian DePalma, Andy
Warhol, Yoko Ono, and Gus Van Sant, director of the Oscar-
nominated "Good Will Hunting."
The festival attracts many participants because it is known
internationally as a showcase for innovative films.
"The festival is really geared to 16 mm filmmakers
Honeyman said. "Many filmmakers enter here before any-
where else. It's very prestigious to be included:'
One major goal of the festival, Honeyman said, is to
reward the hard work of aspiring filmmakers. An awards jury
will decide which films receive the $12,000 available in prize
money. FILE PH
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Nwscul1.1pture0As from four artissadd
varinety to Matthaei Botamc al Gardens
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By Amit Pandya
Daily Staff Reporter
Attempting to capture attention from
Ann Arbor residents and add another
dimension to its gardens, the Matthaei
Botanical Gardens is displaying sculp-
tures by artists from the Great Lakes
"With the sculptures, we look for-
ward to bringing a new audience from
the community," said David Michener,
an assistant curator of the Matthaei
Botanical Gardens. The sculptures "will
also give visitors another way to enjoy
and take advantage of the gardens,"
The project is a collaborative effort
with the Gardens, the University
Museum of Art and the University
Planner's Office, along with the Great
Lakes sculpture community. The attain-
-ment and installation of art have been in
the works since last fall.
Four artists have each donated a
sculpture, which have been deemed
appropriate for placement in the natural
setting of the Gardens.
The relevance of each sculpture to its
immediate surroundings may not be
obvious to the observer, but when con-
sidered in a broader context, such as the
entire Great Lakes region, the relevance
of the sculpture stands clear, Michener
Tom Phardel, creator of "Arc" a
sculpture that has found a temporary
home in the Matthaei Wetland, assem-
bled his piece with portions directly
relating to his environment.
"The welded steel (in my sculpture)
is a direct response to my environment,
industrial Detroit," Phardel said. "The
stone comes from Grindstone City -
once a boomtown when stone was
'king' making industrial grinding
Phardel believes his audience will see
how his artwork naturally compliments
its immediate surroundings when they
consider the entire Great Lakes region.
Another piece, located at the trail
entrance, has a direct visual correlation
Jim Melberg, the artist of "Forest
Murmurs, Two Figures," used cast alu-
minum to "reflect light, colors and
shades of the immediate environment."
"There is a shimmering effect similar
to reflected light on the rippling surface
of water or light filtering through the
forest canopy of leaves," Melberg said.
"Arc,""Forest Murmurs" and most of
the other sculptures, will not be perma-
nent fixtures at the Botanical Gardens.
But Michener said he hopes the project
will be "an ever-changing sweep of
sculptures and objects."
The sculptures are part of a loan pro-
gram, in which contemporary artists
from the Great Lakes region will be
able to submit their work for eventual
display at the Gardens.
A single piece of art has a permanent
place at the Gardens. Michener said the
Jane Larue Sundial is a memorial to a
longtime staff member of the Gardens.
But the Gardens has an admirable
ulterior motive in the placement of the
"The sundial represents a time in
which people had greater link to nature,
when they could tell time by simply
looking at shadows made by the sun."
Michener said. "Hopefully, regular vis-
itors to the Gardens will be able to, in a
way, recalibrate themselves to nature."
Michener said there are many in
opposition to the placement of such
pieces in the gardens, since the artwork
was not a part of the "original" environ-
"If it is a matter of the idea of only
plants occurring naturally, many of the
Gardens' plants are from Europe and
not the Great Lakes region," Michener
said. "However, the sculptures, like the
new plants are simply bringing another
facet of nature to the surface."
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are
open everyday, from 8 a.m. to sunset.
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