Expanding Frames


MARCH 25-30, 2014

The Ann Arbor Film Festival has been host to many educational activities, both formal and informal, over the years. Expanding Frames provides a framework for containing and formalizing these initiatives. The program aims to foster a deeper understanding of the work being exhibited at the festival, and to open a space for dialogue that nurtures both community and critical thinking.


Tuesday March 25,  2 - 4pm

Symposium Introduction and Orientation
Leslie Raymond & James Snazell

James Snazell

A number of three-to-five-person collectives will be created. Each collective will function as mini discussion group to engage the work being screened at the Festival. Topics, themes and other content discussed by each collective, as well as discussion duration, will be determined by each group.

James Snazell is an experimental filmmaker and lecturer based in Manchester and teaches animation and visual effects at Edge Hill University in the UK.

Show & Tell: Shooting Gear
Chris McNamara, facilitator; AAFF visiting guests TBA

Film and video artist Chris McNamara teaches courses in new Media production in the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures at the University of Michigan.


Wednesday March 26, 10am - 12pm

Identity, Creativity and Wellbeing: The Role of the Arts Festival in Engaging Communities
Owen Evans & Tristi Brownett

Drawing on research and interviews with festival organizers and participants, this presentation will explore the potential role arts festivals such as the AAFF can play in engaging different types of communities in a variety of ways. We will concentrate in particular on how festivals might develop cultural and social capital and wellbeing, evidence of which is increasingly demanded by arts funders in the United Kingdom.

Tristi Brownett works in Occupational and Public Health and as sessional lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK).

Owen Evans is Professor of Film at Edge Hill University (UK).

Convergent Media Activism through Projection
Joseph Lopez

When teaching is merged with community service and activism, transformational experiences for all participants can take place. The Convergent Media Collective engages in reciprocal learning and mentoring experiences where the collective learns from each other as well as from their clients. This talk includes real world examples of how to engage your community through projection and other “new media” technologies.

Joseph Lopez is a professor at the University of the Incarnate Word. He is also founder and member of the Convergent Media Collective.


Thursday March 27, 10am - 12pm

Making is a Form of Thinking
Sasha Waters Freyer

This talk posits Art as a methodology to acquire and expand human knowledge. We invite film lovers, students, and curious members of the public to view three short films framed by research inquiries – questions posed but not necessarily answered. Eschewing anecdotal information about the artists and their training, our goal is to stimulate the intelligence of the audience and invite their feedback. With works by Jennifer Chan, Tova Mozard and Bahar Behbahani.

Sasha Waters Freyer makes films, videos, photographs, pillows, dresses and curtains.  She is the Chair of the Department of Photography and Film at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ask the Programmer
David Dinnell

An open discussion and q&a about the Festival and programming with AAFF Program Director David Dinnell.


Friday March 28, 10am - 12pm

Politics: Aesthetics: Action
Caitlin Horsmon

What is the revolutionary potential of the cinema? This session focuses on the ways in which non-fiction and experimental film and video use form to produce political messages. It will explore aesthetic theory to better understand the complex ways that avant-garde works produce social outcomes. A conversation about art, audience, and the possibilities of experimental aesthetics to produce change.

Caitlin Horsmon is an artist, teacher and curator based in Kansas City Missouri. She is an Associate Professor at UMKC and Co-Director of Plug Projects.

Avant-Garde as Kitsch: Experimental Film and Internet Video
Colin Beckett

The vernacular video forms that have emerged on YouTube, Vine and other online services over the last eight years frequently bear striking resemblance to the non-narrative strategies that have constituted the history of avant-garde film and video, as critics and scholars have noted.

As these internet video services eclipse traditional narrative cinema in viewership and cultural influence, it appears that the cinematic avant-garde has triumphed. But if this is a triumph, it initiates a profound crisis in the avant-garde, liquidating the structuring relationships that have defined it, and proving false many claims about its ideological force.

This lecture, illustrated with internet videos, examines the implications of the rise of fragmentary, non-narrative forms, asking how it recasts the history of avant-garde film and video and what sort of space it leaves for contemporary avant-garde moving image practice.

Colin Beckett is a writer based in Brooklyn New York. His work has appeared in BOMBblog,The Brooklyn Rail, Cineaste, Moving Image Source, Idiom Magazine, The L Magazine, and wuxia.


Saturday March 29, 10am - 12pm

What The Hell Was That?
Daniel Herbert; AAFF visiting guests TBA

Within the realm of cinema, experimental film is often misunderstood. Join us for an educational screening and discussion hosted by Daniel Herbert, Assistant Professor in the UM Department of Screen Arts and Cultures. Several challenging, short experimental films from this year’s Ann Arbor Film Festival will be presented and screened by participating panelists, followed by open discussion with the audience.

Daniel Herbert is author of the book Videoland: Movie Culture at the American Video Store (UC Press, 2014).  His essays appear in Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Film Quarterly, Millennium Film Journal, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video.


Sunday March 30, 10am - 12pm

Stop Motion Magic
Squeaky Wheel Staff

With some imagination and innovation, many household and common items can be turned into an experimental video! Participants in this hands-on workshop will collectively explore the elements of moving image through multiple forms of stop motion animation. By the end, you will have co-produced a short experimental video with some new friends! All materials are provided, but feel free to bring photos, magazines, art supplies…or anything else you can get your hands on!

Visiting artists for this workshop are staff members from Squeaky Wheel, a long-running film & digital art center in Buffalo, NY



Expanding Frames has been made possible in part


by the generous support of the Rhode Island School of Design