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www.michigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 95 ©2006 The Michigan Daily
A record 2,000 films
from 31 countries were
submitted this year
By Amanda Andrade
Daily Film Editor
From its humble inception in 1963, when
a modest assembly of local film students
and filmmakers crammed into the Lorch
Hall auditorium to screen a few indepen-
dent movies, the Ann Arbor Film Festival
has relied on the give-and-take of goodwill:
nurture and be nurtured.
* The festival, which kicks off tonight at
7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, strives to
be a guardian of creative expression by fos-
tering independent and experimental film.
Created in a decade when constant innova-
tion in the film medium dared artists to step
* onto the very edge of the avant garde, the
festival will retain its original mission of
promoting filmmakers who accomplish the
unconventional and the extraordinary.
"There's total creative freedom here, as a
forum for the avant garde, and that is so rare,"
said Christen McArdle, the festival's execu-
tive director. "It's a showcase for the arts and
for the people who do cutting-edge work."
But film junkies cramped in a dim and
smoky auditorium could only do so much. It
took the community's support to transform
such inauspicious beginnings into the inter-
national event the festival has become, boast-
ing more than 2,000 film entries from 31
countries (13 of the films were programmed
at the world-famous Sundance Film Festi-
val). Having separated from the University
in 1980, the festival is now an independent
nonprofit arts organization, relying entirely
* on the Ann Arbor community.
"Something like (the Ann Arbor Film
Festival), which is a celebration of experi-
mental art, is something that the commu-
nity should be aware of and celebrate and
keep strong," McArdle said. "It's the first
thing to get cut when money goes down,
like we're seeing in Michigan right now,
and the only way to keep arts organizations
strong is through community support."
McArdle, who makes her debut as festi-
val director this year, has a new strategy to
encourage precisely that kind of audience
participation and patronage. This year will
see the unveiling of the Audience Awards,
in which audience members vote on their
favorite film of the night. A $500 award will
be bestowed daily during the six-day festi-
val for a total of $3,000 in prize money.
"I think it's one of the most interesting
awards, and I hope it encourages people to
be more invested," McArdle said.
In addition to the audience awards, the
festival doles out $15,000 in prize money
to a film or films selected by a three-per-
son jury. This year, the jury is composed
of experimental filmmaker Courtney Egan;
* last year's festival winner for Best Michi-
gan Director, Richard Pell; and David
Baker, director of the Kalamazoo Anima-
tion Festival International.
The judges will choose the top in artis-
tic achievement from the approximately 100
films in competition. But win or lose, the
films selected to compete have already made
it through a rigorous screening process.
Filmmakers submitted a record 2,000
entries this year.
McArdle said the current method for
culling the very best - amounting to only
5 percent of the submitted works this year
- will probably need to be revamped
because of such overwhelming interest in
For this year's process, two commit-
tees, consisting of three members each,
spent between 20 and 30 hours per week
watching all the entries. The process took
While the overall quality is exemplary, the
festival headlines a handful of major films.
"Wassup Rockers," a film focusing on a
group of L.A.-based Latino teenagers, has had a
particularly large amount of pre-festival hype.
In short : Co
The ordinance will push provi
back the date when renters viewi
can see a property or sign a
lease to 90 days into the cur- - By Andr
rent rent period. Daily Staf
It is designed to alleviate : In the<
the fall housing rush. an unpr
At last night's meeting, Assembl
landlords argued against the cil, last n
ordinance and students for it. - approved
date ordinance OK'd
uncil leaves out
sion to stagger
ng, signing dates
culmination of what has been
ecedented level of collabora-
ween the Michigan Student
y and Ann Arbor City Coun-
ight the Council unanimously
an ordinance pushing back
The ordinance, first proposed by
Mayor John Hieftje in an interview
with The Michigan Daily almost
exactly a year ago, prohibits the sign-
ing of rental agreements until the cur-
rent lease has been in effect for 90
days. It also prevents landlords from
showing property to potential tenants
for the same period.
For September-to-September leases,
that means contracts for the following
fall could not be signed until Dec. 1.
One version of the ordinance stag-
gered the earliest date a property can be
shown and when a lease can be signed,
creating a one-month "shopping peri-
od." The Council unanimously voted
to remove that provision last night after
landlords pressured them to do so. With-
out staggering, students will have less
time than they wanted an abundance of
time to appraise the true quality of the
property they are renting.
Students showed strong support for
the ordinance throughout its develop-
ment. Landlords generally opposed it.
"We're jumping out of our seats
for this one;' MSA President Jesse
Levine was so eager to lend his sup-
port to the proposal that he rushed to the
microphone at the first opportunity for
public comment. The mayor informed
Levine that the first public comment
period at last night's meeting was on
the rezoning of a lot on South Division
Street, not the lease-signing ordinance.
Landlords were not nearly as enthu-
siastic about the proposal.
Landlord Mike Davalos sprinted
from his South Forest Street home
when he saw the proceedings under-
way on television. Although he arrived
just after Hieftje closed the comment
See ORDINANCE, page 7
MSA ELECTIONS 2006: PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PROFILES
FOR PROFILE OP$F RESE LFX AND N1(C01LE STALL I ING ( S, TO M41C1GADA*\JIXC (AM
DFEN AFFIRATIVEACI N PAT
PHOTOS BY MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
By Dave Mekelburg
Daily Staff Reporter
The chants were echoing in the courtroom. The signs were hung
out the window. Protesters brandished slogans on poster boards:
"Save Brown v. Board of Education" and "Don't turn back the
And Monica Smith, now the Michigan Student Assembly presi-
dential candidate running on the Defend Affirmative Action Party
ticket, was there.
On April 1, 2003, thousands of affirmative action supporters
gathered on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. They were there to support
the University as it faced the Supreme Court and a lawsuit that
threatened its use of affirmative action in admissions. Smith was
Smith wasn't always politically active. In high school, she cap-
tained the softball team. She said she was curious about politics in
high school, but remained uninvolved.
Smith grew up in western Detroit. She attended Lewis Cass
See SMITH, page 7
involved in MSA
Karl Marx's "Com-
the Michigan Civil
By Caitlin Cowan
Daily Staff Reporter
Ryan Fantuzzi deals with a lot of hot issues. But what are his
thoughts on arguably the most ferocious debate on campus?
"It is pop!" the Sterling Heights native said when asked about the
eternal soda vs. pop debate. "It is pop, it is pop, it is pop!"
Fantuzzi's booming voice has a resonant power. He argues about
all issues with equal relish: from the minutiae of pop culture to polit-
ical issues and back again.
The lively Student Conservative Party presidential candidate,
who makes a habit of speaking bluntly and had all the most memo-
rable lines of Sunday's presidential debate, realized the transforma-
tive power of pop early last year while writing a paper.
"I was filled with four liters of Mountain Dew," he said. "And
I think that's the secret to success: Johnny Cash and Mountain
Pausing a moment, he smiled and said, "No, make those four
liters of Coke."
Bringing Coca-Cola products back to campus is just one of many
See FANTUZZI, page 7
- Not currently
involved in MSA
cal science, crim-
" Pledging Phi Alpha
: Delta (pre-law fra-
" Campaign prom-
ise: Bring Coke
back to campus
THE DIRECTOR SPEAKS
MSA parties vie for majority
62 candidates Voter participation numbers are said he anticipates that S4M will
I4 expected to rise from the abysmal remain the majority party on the
compete to win z4
By Neil Tambe
Daily Staff Reporter
In one of the most competitive
levels of previous years, according
to party leaders.
Some attribute the likely spike in
voting to an increased choice of can-
didates, the emergence of SCP and
MPP and more visible campaign-
DAAP is fielding eight candi-
"I think we'll do well," said DAAP
party chair Kate Stenvig.
Jon Koller, campaign manger for
MPP, said he wasn't sure how suc-