Ann Arbor Film Fest: 22 CalArts Filmmakers, Including Suzan Pitt Retrospective

'Joy Street' by CalArts faculty Suzan Pitt is part of a two-part retrospective at Ann Arbor. | Production still: Courtesy of the artist

‘Joy Street’ by CalArts faculty Suzan Pitt is part of a two-part retrospective at Ann Arbor. | Production still: Courtesy of the artist

The 51st annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, which runs March 19-24 in Michigan, features more than 200 films, videos and performances from artists from all over the world. As the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, Ann Arbor has earned a reputation for showcasing notable avant-garde independent and experimental films, dramatic narratives, documentaries and animation.


The festival lineup includes a strong representation of work from CalArts School of Film/Video alumni and current and former faculty, as well as a two-program retrospective of films by Experimental Animation faculty Suzan Pitt; a showcase presented by festival juror Laida Lertxundi (MFA 07); and a historical program, Psychedelic Visions and Expanded Consciousness Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70swhich includes films by Beth Block (MFA 77), Daina Krumins (MFA 72) and Adam Beckett (BFA 72).

Pitt’s retrospective includes screenings of Asparagus (1979, 19 min.); El Doctor (2006, 24 min.); Joy Street (1995, 24 min.) and a newly restored print of her 1971 film Crocus—a sexual fantasy in a family setting that employed animated paper cutouts. The short was included in the first Women’s Film Festival in New York in 1972, and the original artwork is now part of the Walker Art Center’s permanent collection.

CalArts’ alums and faculty screening films at Ann Arbor are:

Pat O’Neill, a founding faculty member of the School of Film/Video, will be present with a program of short films from the 1960s to the present, including Ojo Caliente (2012), Painter & Ball 4-14 (2011), Squirtgun/Stepprint (1998), Foregrounds (1979), Saugus Series (1974), Downwind (1973) and Last of the Persimmons (1972)

Lertxundi screens several films at her juror presentation on March 21, from Hollis Frampton’s Lemon (1969) and Bruce Baillie’s All My Life (1966) to several of her own including Cry When it Happens (Llora Cuando Te Pase) and My Tears are Dry.

Also included in the festival is Peter Bo Rappmund’s (Film/Video, Music MFA 10) latest work, Tectonics, an hour-long video projection with accompanying photos that explores the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s currently installed at the Work Gallery where it continues through April 5.

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