Hello, Indie Film Creatives!
In this episode, we have a conversation with Ann Arbor Film Festival Executive Director Leslie Raymond. We talk about what it takes to push the film medium beyond the status quo, balancing a two artist relationship, the 60th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Film Festival (coming in March), working past the unsexy parts of the film business to reach your goals and her experiences with Ken Burns and Michael Moore as advisory Board members of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Enjoy!
Questions answered in this episode:
What are some of the special programs planned for this year's 60th AAFF to celebrate its history? What was Leslie Raymond's career path and background before becoming the AAFF director? What have been some of the biggest successes and challenges of Leslie's time as director? What are some of Leslie's favorite movies from 2021? What resources would Leslie recommend for experimental filmmakers? What advice does Leslie have for making experimental film accessible to new audiences How has having figures like Ken Burns and Michael Moore on the advisory board impacted the festival? Summary:
Leslie Raymond, executive director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, joined host Chris Barkley on the Make It podcast to discuss the festival's upcoming 60th anniversary event. Raymond has led the historic festival since 2013, making plans this year for a hybrid in-person and online format due to the ongoing pandemic.
The AAFF, founded in 1962, is the oldest experimental film festival in North America. Raymond highlighted some of the special programs planned to celebrate the festival's rich history, including retrospectives of influential filmmakers like James Benning and curated programs connecting past alumni with contemporary voices. She stressed the festival's commitment to representing diverse stories and storytellers.
Raymond's career path to her current role was unconventional, stemming from her background as an interdisciplinary artist. She discussed the challenges of nonprofit management and her efforts to advocate for filmmakers through equitable payment standards. Raymond also shared advice for welcoming new audiences to experimental cinema through an accessible, communal viewing experience.
The 60th AAFF promises to be a cinematic feast for both diehard experimental film fans and newcomers alike from March 22nd to 27th, both online and in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
More About Leslie Raymond
Leslie Raymond joined the Ann Arbor Film Festival as its executive director in August 2013. In September 2019, Raymond’s leadership role expanded to include festival programming. Prior to her position with AAFF, as a teaching artist and educator, she founded the New Media Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio and served as an assistant professor of art in digital video and new media art at Oakland University, where she was recognized with an Innovations in Teaching award. Raymond is a Film Festival Alliance board member, and a third-generation American of Chinese and Jewish descent. She holds a BFA in film/video from the Rhode Island School of Design, an MFA in new genres from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, and also studied film, video, and new media art at the Art Institute of Chicago.