Twenty-five moviemakers were honored by the jury of the 46th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival on March 30th. The three-person jury, including Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, awarded more than $18,000 in categories ranging from experimental and documentary to narrative and animation. In addition to the financial support and prestige that they receive, the winners are also qualified for Academy Award nomination.

The Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival, with a cash prize of $3,000, went to Ellen Kuras for The Betrayal (Nerakhoon). Other awards included the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film to Robert Todd for Office Suite, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film to Lauren Greenfiled for kids + money and the Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film, which went to Elvind Holmboe for Diente por Ojo. There were two winners of the Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film: Andrew Cahill for Spontaneous Generation and Lisa Barcy for The Mermaid.

The iconic Ann Arbor Film Festival took place from March 25th to March 30th, a little more than a month after having reached the goal of $75,000 in their Endangered campaign. The festival needed donations to help recover from state funding cuts and the AAFF’s subsequent lawsuit, which they won in December 2007. Even in the face of censorship, the films recognized this year continue the festival’s eye on avant-garde, pioneering work in moviemaking.

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