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Today’s email included a notice from the Ann Arbor Film Festival, in the usual convoluted language which festivals seem to think is required to say their piece:

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2011 01:52:09 -0500
Subject: Ann Arbor Film Festival – submission notification

Dear John Jost,

Thank you for submitting “Swimming in Nebraska” and “Dissonance ” for consideration to
the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Although we recognize the merit of your films, they were not selected
for this year’s festival. We recognize that you have screened in the past at the AAFFand very much appreciate seeing your latest works.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is strongly committed to a rigorous screening
and selection process. Each work receives multiple viewings by screeners
and programmers. We are always eager to discover new work for each year’s
program and hope you will consider our festival in the future.

Again, thank you for sending your work to us.

With kind regards,

-The Ann Arbor Film Festival

Some many many years ago I think I got their first prize or some major prize for PLAIN TALK AND COMMON SENSE (1987 or so) and I vaguely recall a few other films getting in it and maybe winning a prize or two.  Ann Arbor is sort of the grand-daddy of American experimental festivals, beginning in the 1960’s.  I recall going to one shortly after I got out of prison, in 1967 or maybe 1968.  Recall being at a party with Norman Mailer and some of Andy Warhol’s Factory people.  I recall not being impressed much, but rather a bit depressed at the sycophantic fashion side.  I have no fond memories of the fabled ’60’s.   Here’s what I wrote Ann Arbor:

I always find the letters from festivals (if they bother) saying “no” to be a source of amusement with their elaborate ways of explicating “we didn’t like it” which is what it boils down to, never mind the rhetoric.  My impression, perhaps false, of Ann Arbor, is you tilt to shorter works, and from what tiny bit I have seen of what usually gets shown, towards what I’d call derriere garde work – kind of old-fashioned “experimental” as refashioned by academia.  Given the 2 things I sent (75 and 65 mins) I suppose they were too long, and I guess they don’t slip into the whatever of the day.  Since I doubt I’ll be doing anything in the future that might fit the Ann Arbor criteria I suspect I’ll save the postage, packaging and DVD money and let it go.

Best and have a good festival

Professor Jon Jost,
Yonsei University
Graduate School of Communication and Arts
134 Shinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu
Seoul 120-749, Korea

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