The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest running independent and experimental film festival in North America. Founded in 1963, the AAFF was independent before "independent film," serving as a critical forum for filmmakers to show their creative work outside of the studio film industry. Today the festival continues its strongly independent spirit as a champion of filmmakers as artists, a celebration for the art form of film and an event that engages audiences with experimental, independent cinema both challenging and rewarding.
The AAFF receives more than 2,600 film submissions from over 60 countries of all genres and lengths. The festival awards more than $20,000 to over 20 filmmakers, providing direct support to talented and independent artists. Since its inception, the AAFF has provided support and recognition for the early works of thousands of influential filmmakers and artists, including: Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Kenneth Anger, Gus Van Sant, Barbara Hammer, George Lucas, Agnes Varda, Les Blank, and Devo.
Each year the AAFF presents a Traveling Tour of award-winning and favorite short films in more than 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada, providing additional income and exposure to participating filmmakers.
The Ann Arbor Film Festival was recognized in Variety magazine's "Top Ten Festivals We Love" in 2007 for its championing of artists and strong artistic vision. The AAFF also serves as one of a handful of qualifying festivals in the U.S. for the Annual Academy Awards short film category.