See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Force of conviction 

A filmmaker who puts his money where his consciousness is, writer-director Gus Van Sant has added his support to the Ann Arbor Film Festival by sponsoring an award “to be given annually to the film that best represents the artistic and creative standards of the festival.” Van Sant, director of such powerful, thoughtful films as Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, Good Will Hunting and the recently released Finding Forrester, once entered his own independent short flicks in the festival and understands the role that such a venue plays in assuring the ongoing health of film creativity. Says Van Sant, “I feel that the Ann Arbor Film Festival, by far the best experimental film festival in the country, is sometimes overshadowed by the more commercially oriented festivals. This is my way of showing that experimental filmmaking is every bit as valid, as vibrant, and as important as any commercially successful film.”

Other filmmakers who have become Festival sponsors (and who also have Michigan connections) include Lawrence Kasdan (director of The Big Chill) and Michael Moore (director of Roger & Me). This year’s Festival (the 39th annual installment) takes place March 13-18 at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Check for more info.

The Hot & the Bothered is edited by MT arts editor George Tysh. E-mail him at

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December 2, 2020

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