For an inside peek at where Hollywood goes to get fresh new
ideas for its movies, come check out the Ann Arbor Film Festival at
the Michigan Theater. 42nd annual Ann Arbor Film Festival starts
Tuesday and runs until March 21, showcasing independent films by
artists visiting from around the country and around the world.

Julie Pannuto
Interns and volunteers piece together posters and publications to hype the festival. (Trevor Campbell/Daily)

The show is completely run by nearly 100 volunteers. Volunteers
are invaluable to the festival. Without their hard work, dedication
and passion, there is no way that this exceptional event would take
place. They run everything from mundane office work to deciding
which films will be entered into the competition and even wait
tables at benefits.

Volunteers for the festival are not just film majors. For
example, Lauren Bridges, the volunteer coordinator of the Ann Arbor
Film Festival, is a political science student. Although she was
asked by Festival Director Chrisstina Hamilton to take on the
position, she was more than glad to do it. “I’ve always
been interested in film and I knew it would be a great
experience.” Planning for the festival starts in the summer
at the beginning of the school year. “As soon as I got the
position, I already started getting e-mails from people asking to
volunteer,” she added.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is an event that many people hold
dear. “People feel so passionately about this festival
because there is just something so special about it” said
Lauren. Everything from setting up at the Michigan Theater to the
films themselves is “…driven by the heart. It is a
celebration of work that is not out make millions of
dollars.”

Some volunteers are local residents, and others don’t even
live in Ann Arbor or attend this university. Some volunteers even
have families of their own and have children who come with them to
help out. Most of the volunteers are generally needed during the
week of the festival to set up and to make any other last-minute
arrangements. They come into Ann Arbor from areas around Michigan
and Ohio for this event.

Several Ann Arbor residents will even open their homes to house
artists who will be coming from out of town. Artists will be
visiting from countries including Austria, France, Hong-Kong,
Britain, and the Czech Republic. Residents of Ann Arbor have been
housing out-of-town artists for years in order to provide visitors
with a free, comfortable place to stay.

As Bridges explains, “Going to the Ann Arbor Film Festival
is not like going to your typical Cineplex. These films come out of
the artist’s own desire and passion. They don’t make
any money by putting so much of their time and effort into these
films.”

So, if you are looking to support a cause that is driven solely
by the passion and raw emotion of artists and their vision, and are
looking for something exciting and cheap to do this week, visit the
Michigan Theater. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

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