Note: Most educational documentaries are listed with the daily Events.
Ann Arbor District Library. FREE. 327-4555. AADL multipurpose room (lower level), 343 S. Fifth Ave.
Mar. 15: "Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football" (Rashid Ghazi, 2011). Award-winning documentary that follows a predominantly Arab American Detroit high school football team as they practice during Ramadan when Muslims traditionally fast during daylight hours. Followed by a discussion led by U-M American culture lecturer Matthew Stiffler. 6-8:30 p.m.
Every Wed. (except Apr. 3), Mar. 20-May 8: "America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway." A weekly series of film screenings, followed by discussion led by U-M musicology professor Mark Clague. Part of a Tribeca Film Institute project (see 13 Wednesday Events listing). 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mar. 20: "Feels Like Going Home," the 1st episode of the 2004 Emmy-winning series Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, and a 17-minute segment from Say Amen, Somebody (George T. Nierenberg) featuring gospel pioneers Thomas A. Dorsey, Willie Mae Ford Smith, and Sallie Martin. Mar. 27: "Syncopated City (1919-1933)," the 2nd episode of the award-winning TV series Broadway: The American Musical (Michael Kantor, 2004). 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Mar. 26: "Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" (2008). Screening of 2 episodes from this 7-part PBS documentary exploring the ways racism and economic disadvantage effect health. "When the Bough Breaks" explores how racial justice and civic engagement improve community health, and "Not Just a Paycheck" explores the negative health effects of layoffs, unemployment, and job insecurity. Followed by a discussion led by U-M Community Scholars Program faculty and students. 6-8:30 p.m.
Ann Arbor Docu Fest. Screening of a different documentary film every Mon. FREE. 929-9979. Event Theater (below Elmo's T-Shorts), 220 S. Main, 7 p.m.
Mar. 6: "Surviving Progress" (Mathieu Roy & Harold Crooks, 2011). Documentary exploring whether contemporary global civilization is caught in a "progress trap" that, in his best-selling A Short History of Progress, Ronald Wright argues destroyed past civilizations.
Mar. 13: "Green Fire" (Steve Dunsky and Dave Steinke, 2011). Documentary about the pioneering 20th-century conservationist Aldo Leopold.
Mar. 20: "Tears of Gaza" (Vibeke Lokkeberg, 2010). Documentary about the impact of contemporary warfare that follows 3 children though the 3-week 2008-2009 Gaza War and its aftermath.
Mar. 27: "Bitter Pill" (Vivekanand Palavali, 2012) Director Palavali, a Flint neurosurgeon, introduces his documentary about America's deteriorating health care system.
51st Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival. Mar. 19-24. The oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals in North America features 6 days of film screenings, panel discussions, and parties that culminate in screenings of the award-winning films on Mar. 24. The competition showcases new experimental and independent 16-mm, 35-mm, and digital films and videos in a wide range of genres and of generally high quality. Past contributors have included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian De Palma. Tickets: $95 (members, students, & seniors, $80) for the entire festival & $55 (members, students, & seniors, $45) for weekend passes in advance at aafilmfest.org, and $9 (students, seniors, & members, $7; midnight movies, $6) per evening show at the door. 995-5356. Michigan Theater (unless otherwise noted), various times.
Mar. 19: Opening Night. The festival kicks off tonight with screenings of independent short films, including animation, documentary, narrative, and experimental films, as well as the North American premiere of Da Vinci, Yuri Ancarani's film, set in an operating room, that depicts a surgical procedure performed by robots controlled by a physician. Preceded from 6-8 p.m. by a gala reception ($35; members, students, & seniors, $25; screening only, $9) with music spun by DJ Jeremy Wheeler. Also, open bar & appetizers from local restaurants. Also, a "Backstage Fundraiser Dinner" from 6-8 p.m. ($150). 8-10 p.m.
Mar. 20: Polish animation shorts curated by festival judge Marcin Gizycki. FREE, noon. "Films in Competition " (4:30 p.m.), including The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott, Luke Fowler's film that combines archive footage and new material in a meditation on the Marxist critic, historian, and activist E.P. Thompson who taught literature and social history to adults in the industrial towns of northern England. The program begins with Nathaniel Dorsky's elegiac short August and After. "Psychedelic Visions and Expanded Consciousness: Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s" (7 p.m.), hyperkinetic experimental films and animation from the late 1960s and early 1970s. "Films in Competition 1" (7:15 p.m.), including Bill Brown's Memorial Land--about homemade 9/11 memorials--and other experimental, documentary, and animated films. "People's Park & Ernst Karel" (9:15 p.m.). Karel, a sound artist and composer who made the soundtrack for People's Park, performs before a screening of Libbie Cohn and J.P. Sniadecki's single-shot documentary that winds its way through a famous urban park in Chengdu, China. "Out Night: History, Glamor, Magic" (9:30 p.m.), includes films in competition that are inspired by the mythologies and artifice of Hollywood and revolve around queer/trans issues. Films are followed by an after party at the autBar (11 p.m.-2 a.m.), with fire pits in the courtyard and free appetizers.Mar. 21: Films chosen by festival judge Laida Lertxundi, including her short 2012 experimental soundscape The Room Called Heaven, as well as films by Hollis Frampton, Bruce Baillie, and Morgan Fisher. FREE, noon. "Critical Means #1," a panel discussion on the current state of film criticism and writing. FREE, 2:30 p.m. Talk by legendary documentarian Ken Burns. FREE, 5:10 p.m. "Films in Competition 3" (7 p.m.), including recent animation, experimental, and documentary films. Leviathan (7:15 p.m.), Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel's experimental, impressionistic documentary about commercial fishing. With an appearance by soundtrack creator Ernst Karel. "Suzan Pitt Retrospective Program One" (9:15 p.m.). First of two screenings of films by celebrated animator Pitt, who is in attendance. "Films in Competition 2" (9:30 p.m.), including the North American premieres of Takashi Makino's epic abstract film 2012 and Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt's Some Part of Us Will Have Become, a sci-fi film from the perspective of a robot who's witnessing a massive man-made disaster. Also, Passage, Madison Brookshire's double 16mm film that operates as a meditation on color and sound, with music by composer Tashi Wada. Other shorts TBA. Films are followed by an after party at the Ravens Club (11:30 p.m.-2 a.m.).
Mar. 22: Films by critically acclaimed Virginia-based artist (and festival judge) Kevin Jerome Everson, including the world premiere of Rhinoceros. FREE, noon. "Critical Means #2," a continuation of the panel discussion on Mar. 21 (see above). FREE, noon. "Polish Avant-Garde Animation Films" (5 p.m.), including Jan Lenica's 1963 stop-motion masterpiece Labyrinth, Zbigniew Rybczynski's 1975 short New Book, and Tango, Rybczynski's Oscar-winning 1980 short that operates as a collage of people performing repeated patterns. Feature-length film TBA (7 p.m.). "Films in Competition 4" (7:30 p.m.): Kathryn Ramey's WEST: What I know about her, an experimental documentary about her ancestor Elizabeth Crandall Perry, an adventurer and midwife. I Remember: A Film about Joe Brainard, Matt Wolf's documentary about the late artist Brainard and his memoir poem "I Remember." The Mutability of All Things and the Possibility of Changing Some, Anna Marziano's film that explores human adaptability in the face of catastrophe. Hope Tucker's Handful of Dust. "Films by Pat O'Neill" (9:30 p.m.). Acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker O'Neill is in attendance for this screening of several of his shorts from the late 1960s to the present. He is known for his innovative optical techniques. "Animated Films in Competition" (9:45 p.m.). Recent animated shorts by Emily Hubley, Maureen Selwood, Maya Erdelyi, Meejin Hong, Shin Hashimoto, Kevin Eskew, and others. The films are followed by an after party at the Bar at 327 Braun Ct. (11 p.m.-2 a.m.), with a live audiovisual performance by the Brooklyn duo Synthhumpers.Mar. 23: Your Day Is My Night (11 a.m.), Lynne Sachs' documentary, part of the AAFF competition, in which residents of New York City's Chinatown tell their stories of personal and political upheaval. Central Park Five (noon), Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon's documentary that tells the story of 5 black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were arrested in 1989 and later wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. Followed by a discussion with Ken Burns, Raymond Santana (one of the "Five"), and Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions director Steve Drizin. "Films in Competition 5" (1 p.m.), including new films by Ana Vaz and Ben Rivers, the North American premiere of Stephen Connolly's Zabriskie Point (Redacted)--an impressionistic documentary that combines images of the eponymous location of Antonioni's 1970 film Zabriskie Point with contemporary research on the location and the film--and Bette Gordon and James Benning's 1975 conceptual bicentennial masterpiece The United States of America. Water and Power (4 p.m.), an award-winning 1990 film that combines visually and aurally dense tableaux with advanced motional control, optical printing, and animation techniques to depict the complex battle for natural resources waged between L.A. and the Owens Valley. Director Pat O'Neill is in attendance. "Films in Competition 6" (3:30 p.m.), including animated, experimental, and narrative films by Jesse McClean, Lori Felker, and James Lowne, as well as Circle in the Sand, Michael Robinson's 2012 film, set in the near future during a 2nd American civil war, that follows a band of exiled political prisoners and their supervising soldiers who live in the ruins of a seaside military fort. "Suzan Pitt Retrospective Program Two" (7 p.m.). Second of two screenings of films by celebrated animator Pitt, who is in attendance. The program is highlighted by the world premiere of her latest film, Pinball. "Films in Competition 7" (7:15 p.m.), including animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative films TBA. Suitcase of Love and Shame (9:15 p.m.). World premiere of this film that reconstructs a mesmerizing and erotic love story based on 60 hours of reel-to-reel 1960s audiotape (discovered in a suitcase) that chronicles the details of an adulterous affair between a Midwestern woman and her lover. Director Jane Gillooly is in attendance. "Films in Competition 8" (9:30 p.m.), including animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative films TBA. The films are followed by a FREE after party at the Last Word (301 W. Huron) from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Mar. 24: "Films in Competition 9," including animated and experimental films appropriate for kids ages 6 and up. $5, 11 a.m. "Regional Films in Competition," including narrative, experimental, and documentary films made in Michigan. $5, 11 a.m. "Music Video in Competition." FREE, UMMA Auditorium (525 S. State), noon. "Films in Competition 10" (1 p.m.), including new documentary and experimental films by Dani Leventhal, Mike Hoolboom, and others, as well as Spend It All, Les Blank's 1971 portrait of Cajun culture. The Radiant (1:30 p.m.), the Otolith Group's film, part of the AAFF competition, that explores the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and contributed to the partial meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the east coast of Japan. Our Nixon (3:30 p.m.), H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin's documentary, part of the AAFF competition, that compiles previously unseen archival footage of Nixon's presidency, filmed by White House aides on Super 8 home movie cameras and subsequently seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation. "Award Program 1" (6 p.m.). "Award Program 2" (8 p.m.). Followed by an after party (10 p.m.-1 a.m.) at Arbor Brewing Company.
Ann Arbor Senior Center. 794-6250. 1320 Baldwin. Every Mon.: "Movie Matinee," with films TBA. FREE. 12:30-3 p.m.
Mar. 24: "Michigan at War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1812-1815" (Chris Cook, 2012). Director Cook introduces his fast-paced 30-minute educational documentary about the Michigan territory's role in the War of 1812. $5 (seniors age 60 & older, $4; members & kids under 12 accompanied by an adult, free). 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Ann Arbor Women Artists. FREE. 996-2551. 4844 Jackson Rd. (suite 100), 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 18: "Women Art Revolution" (Lynn Hershman Leeson, 2010). Documentary with rare archival footage and interviews with leading women artists about the Feminist Art Movement. With an introduction by Michigan Women's Caucus for Art president Brenda Oelbaum.
Canterbury House Lenten Film Series. FREE. 764-3152. 721 E. Huron, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 6: "The 49th Parallel" (Michael Powell, 1941). A WWII German U-boat, stranded in northern Canada, tries to escape to the still-neutral U.S. Also, film scholar Mary Tubbs gives an introductory talk on "Invasion-Free since 1812: Walking with the Enemy and Talking Freedom in The 49th Parallel" and leads a discussion of the film.
Mar. 13: "The Deer Hunter" (Michael Cimino, 1978). 3 Pennsylvania factory workers end up in a Vietcong POW camp. Robert De Niro & Christopher Walken. Also, Tubbs gives an introductory talk on "Over Here Over There: Meanings of Survival in The Deer Hunter" and leads a discussion of the film.Mar. 20: "Catch-22" (Mike Nichols, 1970). Film based on Joseph Heller's classic WWII black humor novel about a bombardier who tries to escape the insanity of the war. Also, Tubbs gives an introductory talk on "Looking Forward by Looking Back, Part 2: An Enemy for a New Age in Catch-22" and leads a discussion of the film.
Center of Light "Conscious Movie Night." FREE. 330-5048. 200 Huronview Blvd., 8 p.m.
Mar. 22: "Stealing Africa" (Christopher Guldbrandsen, 2012). Documentary about the reasons Zambia's copper resources have not made the country rich.
EMU Art Department. FREE. 487-0465. EMU Halle Library Auditorium (off Oakwood from Washtenaw), Ypsilanti. 5:30 p.m.
Mar. 27: "Images from Detroit's Cass Corridor" (Kathryn Brackett Luchs & Shaun Bangert, 2002). Documentary about Detroit artists of the 1960s & 70s who worked in a rundown area near Wayne State University, exploring such post-Modernism themes as industrial and post-industrial Detroit, existential vulnerability, the human need for shelter, the presence or absence of order in nature, and others. In conjunction with the current exhibit (see Galleries).
Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth. $5 suggested donation. 327-0270. 704 Airport Blvd., 8 p.m.
Mar. 16: "Spiritual Cinema." Screening of a feature film or several shorts TBA with spiritual themes. Followed by discussion.
Jewel Heart Buddhist Center. FREE. 994-3387. Jewel Heart (1129 Oak Valley Dr. between Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. & Ellsworth), 7 p.m.
Mar 29: "The Lamp: All Things Are Possible if You Just Believe" (Tracy J. Trost, 2011). Drama about a father who regains hope after a devastating loss.
Michigan Theater Foundation. Unless there is a live show in the main theater, 2 or 3 different films are shown, usually twice, almost every night. For complete, updated schedules, see michtheater.org or call 668-TIME. Tickets (unless otherwise noted): $10 (children under 12, students with ID, seniors age 55 & older, & U.S. veterans, $8; MTF members, $7.50; films before 6 p.m., $7). Michigan Theater (unless otherwise noted), times TBA unless otherwise noted.
Mar 2-7: "56 Up" (Michael Apted & Paul Almond, 2012). Documentary about a group of British citizens who have been interviewed every 7 years since 1964, when they were all 7 years old.
Mar. 3: "The Princess Bride" (Rob Reiner, 1987). Sweet, witty, tongue-in-cheek fairy tale about a farm girl kidnapped by a villainous ruler who intends to make her his princess. Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal. Kids under 12, free. 1:30 p.m.
Opens Mar. 8: "A Place at the Table" (Kristi Jacobson & Lori Silverbush, 2012). Documentary about the millions of Americans who go hungry. With Jeff Bridges & Tom Colicchio.
Mar. 9: "Glove" (Kang Woo-suk, 2011). A hot-tempered former pro baseball player hides out from the media in the countryside, where he coaches a team of deaf players. Korean, subtitles. FREE, 2 p.m.
Mar. 11: "The Player" (Robert Altman, 1992). Satire about a Hollywood studio executive who murders an aspiring screenwriter he believed was sending him death threats. Tim Robbins. 7 p.m.
Mar. 13: "Best in Show" (Christopher Guest, 2000). Clever, very funny satire about dog lovers bound for a dog show. Followed by a talk by U-M biopsychology lecturer Camille Ward on the development of social behavior in dogs and human-canine communication. 7 p.m.
Mar. 16: "In Another Country" (Hong Sang-soo, 2012). A young film student and her mother run away to the seaside town of Mohang, Korea, to escape their mounting debt. Korean, subtitles. FREE, 2 p.m.
Mar. 16-18: "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" (Werner Herzog & Dmitry Vasyukov, 2010). Documentary about the indigenous people living in Bakhtia in the heart of the Siberian Taiga whose daily lives have barely changed over the last century. English & Russian, subtitles.
Mar. 18: "Dumb and Dumber" (Peter Farrelly, 1994). The adventures of two idiot buddies on a cross-country trip. Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels. 7 p.m.
Mar. 25 & 26: "Brooklyn Castle" (Katie Dellamaggiore, 2012). Documentary about a junior high school champion chess team.
Mar. 26-28: "Barbara" (Christian Petzold). Drama set in 1980s East Germany about a doctor who's banished to a small country hospital after applying for an exit visa. German, subtitles.
Mar. 27: "Shenandoah" (David Turnley, 2012). See Inside Ann Arbor, p. 11. Documentary about a coal mining town whose traditions and identity are challenged when 4 of its star football players are charged with beating to death an undocumented Mexican immigrant. Followed by a panel discussion with speakers TBA. 7 p.m.
Mar. 28: "The Truman Show" (Peter Weir, 1998). Jim Carrey fantasy-drama about an insurance salesman who discovers his entire life is a TV show. Followed by a panel discussion with U-M philosophy professors. FREE. 8 p.m.
Opens Mar. 29: "On the Road" (Walter Salles, 2012). Adaptation of Jack Kerouac's classic autobiographical road novel.
Mar. 30: "Old Boy" (Park Chanwook, 2003). A young man is drugged and kidnapped in front of his house. After a 15-year imprisonment, he's released without explanation. Korean, subtitles. FREE, 2 p.m.
U-M Center for Chinese Studies. Chinese Documentary Film Series. FREE. 764-6308. Angell Hall Auditorium A (entrance at the Fishbowl on the east side of the bldg.), 7 p.m.
Mar. 16: "When China Met Africa" (Nick & Marc Francis, 2011). Exploration of China's expanding footprint in Africa through the stories of 3 people in Zambia: a Chinese farmer, a Chinese multinational's road project manager, and Zambia's trade minister. Mandarin & Zambian, subtitles.
Mar. 23: "The Transition Period" (Zhou Hao, 2009). A startlingly candid look inside the unsavory dynamics of Chinese politics at the local level seen through the eyes of a retiring Communist Party secretary in a rural inland province. Mandarin & Henan dialect, subtitles.
U-M Confucius Institute. FREE. 764-8888. Angell Hall Auditorium B, 435 S. State, 7 p.m.
Mar. 1: "The Savage Land" (Ling Zi, 1981). Film adaptation of Cao Yu's 1937 Expressionist play exploring the primitive passions, sexual deprivation, and defiant courage of life in a remote peasant community.
UMMA. FREE. 764-0395. UMMA Auditorium (525 S. State), different times.
Mar. 8 & 24: "Fold Crumple Crush: The Art of El Anatsui" (Susan Vogel, 2011). Documentary, filmed over 3 years in Venice, Nsukka, and the U.S., about internationally renowned Nigerian artist El Anatsui, whose work is currently on display at UMMA. Also, a screening of Anatsui at Work: Eight Short Films, Vogel's 2011 collection of short, instructive documentaries that depict Anatsui demonstrating his artistic process and discussing his theories on specific media as he creates one of his most ambitious works in Nsukka and installs it on the fašade of the Palazzo Fortuny Museum in Venice. 7 p.m. (Mar. 8) & 3 p.m. (Mar. 24).
Mar. 12: "Which Way Home" (Rebecca Cammisa, 2010). Documentary that follows the journey of several unaccompanied child migrants as they travel through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "the Beast." Part of the "UMS on Film" series. 7 p.m.
WCBN-FM. FREE admission. 763-3500. Arbor Brewing Company (114 E. Washington), 8:30 p.m.
Mar. 12: "Interstella 5555: The Story of the Secret Star System" (Kazuhisa Takenouchi, 2003). Futuristic animated musical adaptation of an album by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk.
Whole Foods "Brew and View." Proceeds benefit the Whole Planet Foundation. Cash bar. $5 admission. Wolverine State Brewing Co. (2019 W. Stadium), 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).
Mar. 23: "Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus" (Holly Mosher, 2011). Documentary about Nobel laureate Yunus, who popularized microloans to help small businesses.