Ann Arbor Film Festival: A conversation with director Donald Harrison

Mar 26, 2012

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The range of films and videos are diverse. They can be bizarre, funny, or beautiful. It's "art for art's sake," says Donald Harrison, the festival's executive director.

"We're most interested in ideas, and techniques and concepts, and engaging audiences in something that might be outside of their normal viewing experience," he says.

Harrison says the festival will highlight some of the best independent films from years past as well as new films.

Bruce Baillie premiered his films back in 1963, the first year the festival began. His films will be featured again at this year's festival.

"He's in his 80's, he rarely makes appearances, and he's somebody that we know is not a famous name...but we feel he's an artist that has had a level of mastery in his work, who's really had a unique vision and we want to use our fiftieth as a platform to make sure that somebody like a Bruce Baillie, or a Barbara Hammer that's coming in, really gets that due that we fell they deserve."

More than 230 films, videos, installations and live performances, plus discussions with filmmakers.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is one of the longest running independent and experimental film festivals in North America. The festival runs March 27 through April 1.