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Cinema Chat: The 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival to begin on March 21st

61st annual Ann Arbor Film Festival logo
Ann Arbor Film Festival
61st annual Ann Arbor Film Festival logo


A list of this year's Oscar winners can be found here.


The festival runs Tuesday, March 21st through Sunday, March 26. The festival will also be online March 21-29. For more details, tickets and festival passes, go to aafilmfest.org.



A 2023 psychological thriller film written by Ben Hopkins and directed by Vasilis Katsoupisin his feature directorial debut. It stars Willem Dafoe (very interesting NY Times piece on Willem Dafoe last weekend). The film had its world premiere at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival, on 20 February 2023.

It tells the story of Nemo, an art thief trapped in a New York penthouse after his heist does not go as planned. Locked inside with nothing but priceless works of art, he must use all his cunning and innovativeness to survive.



Part of the Late Nights at the State series

Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters. They were all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Determined to save their home -- not to mention his -- Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) to be Farquaad's bride. Rescuing the Princess may be small compared to her deep, dark secret.

"The Tale of the Princess Kaguya"— PLAYS THURSDAY, MARCH 23 AT 7 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Diamonds by the Decade Series

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s finest films, the strikingly beautiful culmination of decades of contemplation by director Isao Takahata. An adaption of a story from the late 9th or early 10th century, it tells the tale of a tiny girl found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. The girl grows into an exquisite young lady. From the countryside to the grand capital city, she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. This film is the culmination of Takahata’s career.

Cultura d'Italia Series (Thursdays at the State)


"Turn Every Page - The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb"

This is a 2022 documentary film by Lizzie Gottliebabout the relationship between biographer Robert Caroand his editor, Robert Gottlieb.

The film focuses on biographer Robert Caro and his editor, the documentarian's father Robert Gottlieb, as they work methodically to complete the final, fifth volume of Caro's Lyndon Johnson biography. The pair, both in their late 80s, had worked together for five decades, starting with Caro's biography of Robert Moses, "The Power Broker," and continuing through Caro's first four volumes about Lyndon B. Johnson. Its story is focused on finishing the book rather than a history of their lives. The film features interviews with politicians and media personalities.

Production: Though Caro and Gottlieb originally declined to be the subject of the documentary, after some convincing, documentarian Lizzie Gottlieb began filming them in 2016. At first, she only filmed them separately, at Caro's request, to avoid moments of contention. The film was in post-production in early 2021 and premiered at the June 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.

"The Quiet Girl" 

A 2022 Irish coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Colm Bairéad. The dialogue is mostly in Irish. Set in 1981, the film follows a withdrawn nine-year-old girl who experiences a loving home for the first time when she spends the summer on a farm with distant relatives in Rinn Gaeltacht, County Waterford. The film was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards.

The film is based on "Foster," a 2010 novella in English by Claire Keegan. It premiered at the Berlinale in 2022. It won a Crystal Bear and received a special mention from the children's jury. The jury stated that "It is a film with a delicate story full of details about childhood, grief, parenthood and rebuilding a family. The very strong narrative is combined with a stunning cinematography. The sound and the images create a unique atmosphere."

The film broke box office records for the opening weekend of an Irish-language film and became the highest-grossing Irish-language film of all time.

"Cocaine Bear" 

An American dark comedy/action film directed and co-produced by Elizabeth Banks and written by Jimmy Warden. It is inspired by the true story of the "Cocaine Bear", an American black bear that ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine in 1985. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kristofer Hivju, Hannah Hoekstra, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta in one of his final performances before his death.

Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner's plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild thriller finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow... and blood.

2023 Oscar Nominated Shorts 


  • "An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It" - AUSTRALIA/11 MINS/2022
  • "Ice Merchants" - PORTUGAL, UNITED KINGDOM, FRANCE/14 MINS/2022
  • "My Year of Dicks" - USA/25 MINS/2022
  • "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" - UK/34 MINS/2022
  • "The Flying Sailor" - CANADA/7 MINS/2022


  • "Haulout" - UK/25 MINS/2022
  • "How Do You Measure a Year?" - USA/29 MINS/2022
  • "Stranger at the Gate" - USA/30 MINS/2022
  • "The Elephant Whisperers" - INDIA/39 MINS/2022
  • "The Martha Mitchell Effect" - USA/39 MINS/2022


  • "An Irish Goodbye" - IRELAND/23 MINS/2022
  • "Ivalu" - DENMARK/16 MINS/2022
  • "Le Pupille" - ITALY, USA/37 MINS/2022
  • "Night Ride" (Nattrikken) - NORWAY/15 MINS/2020
  • "The Red Suitcase" - LUXEMBOURG/18 MINS/2022

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" 

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert ("Swiss Army Man"), collectively known as The Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can't seem to finish her taxes.

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