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March 25, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-25

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Ann Arbor Film
Festival returns

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 5

AAFF still going
strong after
five decades
Community t Culture Editor
In an era when every
neighborhood has its own film
festival and every freshman has
made a film,
it's right to 52nd Annual
celebrate one
of the pioneers, Ann Arbor
The Ann Arbor Film Festival
Film Festival,
bringing us the March 25-30
finest in film VariousLocations
fare for 52 years.
AAFF came to Single Screen-
life at a special ing: $7-$9
moment in our
city's - and
country's - cultural history. The
1960s were charged withtheenergy
from the civil rights movement,
anti-war protests and the
flowering desire to voice individual
expression; this charge propelled
cross-disciplinary collaborations
in the arts and spawned some
insane creative works. At the heart
of Ann Arbor's art scene was the
Once Group, a community of artists
spanning many media, who put on
performance-based "happenings"
and a range of festivals. One of the
group members, George Manupelli,
foundedtheAAFF in 1963.
"My sense is that one of the
things that (Manupelli) brought to
that group was the filmmaking,"
said AAFF Executive Director
Leslie Raymond. "But there were
architects involved in the group,
musicians, dancers and it was
really out of that sort of movement
that the film festival was born."
The Festival's boundary-
blurringlegacylives on bringingus
in experimental and independent
film today. Program Director
David Dinnell travels to film
festivals around the world as part
of his job. He spoke about some
of his favorites, beginning with
"From Deep," a feature-length,

experimental documentary
about basketball created by Brett
Kashmere - a timely choice as the
Wolverines bask in the glow of the
Sweet Sixteen.
"I'm absolutely not a sports fan
at all," Dinnell said. "ButI found it
a really compelling film because it
looks at American history through
basketball, which includes the
history of race in this country -
and itspends a good part of the last
third ofthe film on the intersection
of hip-hop and basketball from the
'90s on to the current time. I just
thought it was really illuminating
that way."
Grounded in a sense of history,
the festival hosts retrospective
programs revisiting the works
of prominent filmmakers and
bringing them in to talk about
their work. This year's series looks
at the works of Joseph Bernard,
Penelope Spheeris and Thom
Anderson. Bernard is an artist
from Detroit. He started out as a
painter, but worked for a decade
making collage-like films in the
Super 8 format, which was made
for small, personal filmmaking.
These films have rarely been
exhibited, making the screening
on March 26 an exceptional one.
"Joseph Bernard was at the Art
Institute of Chicago and he was
able to study with Stan Brakhage,
who was a seminal experimental
avant-garde filmmaker from the
period when the film festival came
about," Raymond said.
Spheeris, who many may
know as the director of "Wayne's
World," will be featured in the
Penny Stamps Speakers series and
the AAFF about her first "auteur"
film, "The Decline of Western
Civilization," a cult classic that
delves into the punk rock scene
of Los Angeles in the late '70s
and early '80s. In addition to
those screenings, there will be
a program for her short films,
including two shown originally
in the AAFF in 1971 and 1973.
Another of her films with a fierce
cult following, the 1984 film
"Suburbia," which features young
punk rockers and musicians of
the day (including Flea from the

Red Hot Chili Pepper's) rounds out
AAFF's Spheeris program.
"(Spheeris) has done a lot of
well-known popular films," Dinell
said "but she's also had this sort of
parallel career as an independent
filmmaker ... she has this really
amazing capability of just being
present with her subjects and
really capturing unguarded
glimpses of their lives. I think that
really comes out in the third film."
The festival is finalizing its
education program "Expanding
Frames" this year, which
offers workshops, discussions
and collaborates with various
University departments. The
favorite "What the Hell Was
That?" panel is a space to ask
questions, because, as the AAFF
staffexplain,whensomething's an
experiment, you're not supposed
to "get it," but rather observe how
you react to it.
"I think one of the things that's
really great about that panel is
that the title is really inviting in a
way," Raymond said. "There's not
a sense of barrier ... you don't have
to have a special language or you
don't have to feel like you need to
unlock a secret meaning, but this
is a place to really explore the
work andget deeper into it -meet
some of the filmmakers and things
like that."
Beginning Tuesday, the
screenings will attest to the
festival's history and tradition
of innovation. Some of the films
look back at the careers of artists,
while others push the traditional
limits of narration and imaging by
blurring the boundaries of fiction
and nonfiction, or employing new
filmmaking technologies such as
Lidar - a way to render images
through radar-like sensors.
"That kind of spirit of
exploration and personal
expression really has continued
all the way through each year,"
Dinnell said. "Technology
changes; different concerns about
the medium or about fiction -all
these things constantly evolve and
change, butI think the underlying
force is this exploration in

some of these people are famous now
The 'Veronica Mars'
effect: shows as films

Last week, "Veronica Mars"
made the jump from TV to film.
In a comeback of "Arrested
Development" proportions,
the follow-up movie - entirely
funded by fans of the show - gave
the canceled-too-early "Veronica
Mars" and its cult following a
chance at a satisfying ending. It's
a Cinderella story, for sure, but
of all the TV shows in the world,
was "Veronica Mars" really the
most deserving of a comeback?

finale, and its stars have hardly
faded into obscurity - the show

Gossip Girl


d the movie careers of The fact that "Gossip Girl"
Franco, Seth Rogen and could captivate millions of
drama-hungry tweens as a book
series set it up well for being a
television success, capturing the
Nhich TV hearts of overly exposed 10 year
olds and mothers alike. I'm sure
g rams w ould that the same millions out there
would agree with me that "GG"
k as movies? 's life is not yet over. So, isn't
the next step obvious? If "Sex
and the City" could win over
the box office, then I have faith
egel, to name a few. in its middle school companion,
gh school reunion could "Gossip Girl," to do the same.
the question of what The characters are loud, the sets
ed to Lindsay, Sam, Daniel are fun and we all have questions
gang and jump straight left unanswered from the finale.
e hilarity of middle-aged A movie is the perfect way to
rity. There's a ton of answer them. I can't think of a
l here. Imagine a thirty- better cherry to top my guilty
ng Bill Haverchuck. pleasure sundae.
e Sam facing ex-girlfriend - GraceHamilton

The M
few oth'

ichigan Daily TV/New Jason Si
writers came up with a A hi;
er shows we'd like to see bypass
in theaters. happens
and the
Pushing Daisies into thi

Music and film collide
in Bollywood culture

Before Bryan Fuller was
mesmerizing "Hannibal" viewers
on NBC, his quirky creation
"Pushing Daisies" became a quick
hit when it premiered on ABC in
2007. A victim of bad timing -
premiering just one month before
the Writers Guild Strike - the
show was only able to air nine
episodes before a 10-month hiatus
between seasons. Not surprisingly,
the show fizzled in its return and
was tragically cancelled after only
22 episodes. For its visual splendor,
fantastic imagination and
hilarious wit, "Pushing Daisies" is
gone yet not forgotten - and ripe
for a comeback. So, let's touch this
thing on the cheek and bring it
back to life in a big way. The world
needs more "Pushing Daisies," one
of television's most original and
magical series ever.
- Alec Stern
When "Chuck" ended its run
in 2012, it ended in a way that set
up a "new beginning" for Chuck
and Sarah. If Zachary Levi and
Chris Fedak feel like they have
a story worth telling, "Chuck"
could naturally jump onto the big
screen. With a bigger budget, the
stunts could be even better and
more exciting, and the producers
could probably get a B-list movie
star to play an out-of-this-world
villain. There's potential for a
"Chuck" movie tobe huge, in both
quality and amount of Subway
sandwiches eaten.
- Alex Intner
Freaks and Geeks
There couldn't be a better
time for a "Freaks and Geeks"
reunion. Nearly 15 years have
passed since NBC's tragically

Cindy fi
by now
a mom,
an officE
I kno
see this

CurbYour Enthusiasm
If anything, a "Curb Your
Enthusiasm" moviewould justbe a
chance for Larry David to be Larry
David on camera for 90 minutes
or more. If that doesn't make the
world a better place, I don't know
what will. The show has been on
hiatus for a while, with a future
shrouded in uncertainty. If the
show's ending, a movie could be
the perfect finale for one of the
funniest TV comedies ever made.
- Drew Maron

or the first time since they
ed (she is definitely a
can senator or something
). Imagine Kim Kelly as
Daniel Desario working
e job! And, of course, the
le countless celebrity
iw I'd pay good money to
movie. h
- Chloe Gilke

Party Down
"Party Down" was a mediocre
TV show. The humor was quirky
and the general premise of the
show was almost too simple -
a bunch of actors, writers and
directors trying to make it in
Hollywood work forma catering
company when they're not out
trying to follow their dreams. The
best thingabout"Party Down"was
the cast. Featuring Jane Lynch,
Martin Starr and Kristen Bell,
as well as Adam Scott and Lizzy
Caplan as an on-again-off-again
lead romantic duo, the characters
were hilarious, charming and most
importantly, memorable. Due to
its somewhat formulaic nature, it
failed as a half-hour comedy. But
a movie version could reinvigorate
the writers, mandating a definitive
start and end point that would
help remedy structural issues and
give the actors a chance to shine.
- Maddie Thomas

Daily Arts Writer
In Bollywood, there's no
popular music without film.
Search for Bollywood music
on YouTube, and you'll get a
loud, overwhelming dance set to
melody. Search for movies, and
you'll get music suited for a party.
It's ridiculous, really. It's
strange, the idea that chart-
topping songs in India wouldn't
be where they are had they not
had a place on the soundtrack of
a movie. But at the same time, it
felt normal while I was growing
up. While classical forms of
Indian music reminded me of
crinkled, old women and dusty
cars, popular Bollywood songs
played an integral part of what
I perceived to be my culture.
A Bollywood movie without
musical interludes was a stale
experience, and music that didn't
draw any recollection of a movie
was forgotten moments after.
Since the early 1900s, the vast
majority of Bollywood movies has
been musicals. However, while
most Indian movies are inter-
spersed with music and dance,
the music is rarely considered a
natural progression of the plot
like something you would see on
Broadway. Rather, the music cre-
ates a break from the story, help-
ing the characters materialize
their inner fantasies, or giving the
writers a chance to fast forward
through several scenes at once.
Indian music is peculiar in the
way that a large share of the music
industry is embedded within the
film industry. If I were a popular
singer in India, I would always run
the risk of being overshadowed by
the actors and actresses who lip

sync toi
music, t
with hi
with th
that cot
a song
based or
its mus
The mu
a singlei
but rath
adds tot
to make
India, m
like Ind
and it c
in any c
music h
It rarely
the oths
and se
of the s
role inc
the soni
song's er
the spec
place du
a movie.
stand or
the visu

my songs. it. Maybe that's why actress-
the contrary, American turned-singer Priyanka Chopra
asvalueinitself.Incountry decided to fly all the way over to
the slide guitar and vocal L.A. before she officially launched
tell my heart what to feel. her career in music, opting
p hop, I feel myself move for English as her language of
e bass. The visual picture choice and releasing singles with
mes to mind when I hear will.i.am and Pitbull.
is a personal conception, There's always more we could
n how I decide to interpret learn from the music of other
ical and lyrical qualities. cultures. There's the idea going
sic video that accompanies around that pop music - music
is not the focus of the song, that is catchy and, for whatever
her a second thought that reason, acoustically enjoyable - is
the music. baseless. The admiration devoted
to St. Vincent and Grizzly Bear,
with their cacophonous wails and
rIndia, o chaotic beats, is rarely given to
,p(Jp mainstream musicians who gar-
iCi is a visual pner greater audiences and pinna-
cles of fame by just creating fun,
medium. uncomplicated compositions.
As long as independent musi-
cians continue to evolve, I will be
forced to adjust my perceptions
of what it means to produce good
aps the reason why autono- music and learn to adapt my sens-
released Indian music fails es to more unfamiliar sounds.
its mark is thatbecause in At the same time, there are
nusic is visual. Bollywood, some things Bollywood music can
ian culture in itself, is vivid, learn from us. Our appreciation of
an't be entirely portrayed music for the music itself allows us
sne dimension. Bollywood to seek out new genres within the
as color, and it has light. realm of popular music. It forces
'comes nucleated from all musicians to constantly innovate
er forms of visual art, but and discover new sounds, and
is a perfectly synchronized pushes audiences to be on the
mation of plot, character constant lookout for music that
tting. The chromaticity blows boundaries. As long as
urroundings plays a vital Bollywood music remains a part
delineating the purpose of of the financially-dependent film
g, and on every replay, the industry's payroll, it'll find a
motional value is driven by deadlock when tryingto challenge
ific plot elements that took popular norms.
ringthe song's presence in But at least I know that when
I don't have the patience to
lar music in India cannot appreciate the obscurity of today's
n its own two feet without independent music,there'll always
al gimmicks that support be Bollywood to turn to.

short-lived dramedy aired its "Do you wanna make flowers?"
an opera by Wo gang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in German with projected English translations
Univ. Opera Theatre directed by Kay Walker Castalde
Univ. Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Martin Kiat
March 27-30, 2014 " Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Reserved Seating $28/$22 " Students $10 with ID
League Ticket Office " 734-764-2538


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