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Stamps Students Animate for 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival

During the Fall 2020 term, students in Professor Heidi Kumao’s Experimental Animation class created animations to promote the 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF), the longest running avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. The festival is streaming online March 23-28, 2021.

“The festival’s emphasis on independent and unconventional cinematic experiences aligns perfectly with the work students create in my Experimental Animation class,” Kumao said.

Students used a multi-draft process to create visually arresting, brand-compliant, thirty-second ads to reflect the values of the film fest. Students were required to include the festival and sponsors’ logos in their projects but were given complete artistic freedom to design their 30 second spot. The festival staff selected four winners which will play on rotation as the introduction to each program/screening: Madisyn Hicks (BFA ‘22), Jeremiah Kastl (BFA ‘22), Elizabeth Mizer (BFA ‘22), Hannah Mutz (BFA ‘22), and Destini Riley (BFA ‘21).

Three of the works feature art and imagery that looks and feels handmade and is a little rough around the edges: loosely painted, collaged, hand drawn. There is a gritty, off-beat quality to them that matches the festival’s independent and artistic spirit. The fourth piece focuses on the fact that the festival is completely online and emphasizes the experience of watching from home with information displayed on the phone and computer, as well as microwaved popcorn.

“All four videos appeal to the festival’s current commitment to presenting edgy moving image art to viewers, even if they’re quarantined at home,” Kumao said.

“Heidi’s animation students bring a breadth of approaches and techniques in creating these AAFF trailers,” said Leslie Raymond (Stamps MFA ‘99), Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. “Expressing the unconventional and sometimes zany character of the festival can be tough – and Stamps students were more than ready for this challenge.”

Madisyn Hicks (BFA ‘22) and Hannah Mutz (BFA ‘22)
Jeremiah Kastl (BFA ‘22)
Elizabeth Mizer (BFA ‘22)
Destini Riley (BFA ‘21)

Learn more about the 59th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, unfolding online March 23-28, 2021: