Playing 'Footsi' - Ann Arbor Filmmakers of the 1960s-1980s

  • No Smoke
  • Gerard Malanga as the Baron von Richthofen
  • The Garden of Forking Paths
  • Footsi
  • Ida May
  • Circumflex
  • Danger Is My Business
  • Chicago
  • The Bridge
  • The Lunch Club
  • Smile and Relax
  • No Smoke
  • Cinema Street
  • Plow, Skid, Drag
  • Ozone Burgers (To Go)
  • 107 ½


The State Theatre #1 Fri, Mar 29 9:00 PM






Education Partner

U-M Lloyd Hall Scholars Program

Community Partner

Annette & Bernard Coakley



George Manupelli launched the Ann Arbor Film Festival in part as a way to screen his own work, but it soon inspired other locals to take up cameras. Many were members of student film societies like Cinema Guild, Cinema II, and the Ann Arbor Film Cooperative, the latter formed explicitly to help filmmakers at a time when the university offered scant support. During this pre-digital era many films made here, or by recent expatriates, were shown at the festival, won prizes, and went on tour. This program compiles some of the best of this work and includes films by or featuring people who are remembered today through awards – Tom Berman, Chris Frayne, Peter Wilde, and George Manupelli himself. The screening will include both original 16mm prints and recent digital restorations. Thanks to all the filmmakers, the LSA Theme Semester, Kitty Kahn, and Professor Frank Beaver.

No Smoke
Mary Cybulski & John Tintori
Ann Arbor, MI | 1975 | 1 | 16mm

A public service announcement produced for Cinema Guild by future script supervisor Cybulski and NYU graduate film chair Tintori.

Gerard Malanga as the Baron von Richthofen

George Manupelli
Ann Arbor, MI | 1967 | 3 | 16mm

The festival founder’s tribute to the WWI flying ace, starring poet/Andy Warhol associate Gerard Malanga, shot when he was a juror at the fifth festival.

The Garden of Forking Paths

Susan Norton & Keith Varnum
Ann Arbor, MI | 1970 | 10 | 16mm

A man’s mysterious journey is traced in this hauntingly photographed short. Originally screened at the eighth festival.


Pat Oleszko
New York, NY | 1979 | 5 | 16mm

An exploration of the world by a tiny pair of fingers, made by the festival’s beloved performance artist. Soundtrack by “Blue” Gene Tyranny, a.k.a. Robert Sheff.

Ida May

Woody Sempliner
Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 3 | 16mm

A series of objects are arranged beside a river. What will happen next? Sempliner was manager of the festival when he made this short.

Larry Hussar
Ann Arbor, MI | 1976 | 3 | 16mm

Spinning lights create colorful geometric patterns in this dynamic abstract film. Soundtrack performed on a kit-made synthesizer.

Danger Is My Business

Sally Kellman
Oakland, CA | 1982 | 5 | 16mm

Film noir meets punk rock in this “pocket detective novel” by former Cinema Guild member Kellman. Music by Mike Richards.


Kevin Smith
Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 7 | 16mm

Positive and negative images are combined to evoke the Windy City in springtime.

The Bridge

Tom Berman & Robert Halper
Ann Arbor, MI | 1970 | 10 | 16mm

As two men play billiards in a darkened room, a sinister undercurrent emerges. Featuring Nick Bertoni.

The Lunch Club

Mitch Peyser & John Beaver
Ann Arbor, MI | 1987 | 7 | 16mm

Students at Angell Elementary eat and talk about food. Award winner at the 25th festival.

Smile and Relax

Robert Ziebell
Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 8 | 16mm

A woman tells stories and smokes in a pinball arcade photo booth. The interchange between photography and film is explored in this experimental short featuring Claudia Obrosey.

No Smoke

Dan Bruell
Ann Arbor, MI | 1983 | 1 | 16mm

Eadweard Muybridge movement studies and the filmmaker’s own animation merge to provide this gentle admonishment made for Cinema Guild.

Cinema Street

Jay Cassidy
Ann Arbor, MI | 1971 | 4 | 16mm

Two episodes from a series of informational shorts made for the ninth festival by subsequent festival manager and Oscar-nominated editor Cassidy. Featuring “Ticket Fred” LaBour and projectionist Peter Wilde.

Plow, Skid, Drag

Andrew Lugg & John Orentlicher
Ann Arbor, MI | 1972 | 5 | 16mm

Performance artist Orentlicher and a tractor are the stars of this film made by Cinema Guild member and future philosophy professor Lugg.

Ozone Burgers (To Go)

Chris Frayne
Ann Arbor, MI | 1974 | 1 | 16mm

Hand-drawn and stop-motion animation are combined to dazzling effect in this short by the legendary Ann Arbor multimedia artist.

107 1/2

John Nelson
Ann Arbor, MI | 1979 | 3 | 16mm

A variety of analog techniques were used to create mind-bending imagery in this short by future Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Nelson. Named for the address at the New Old Brick in downtown Ann Arbor, where it was filmed.

Cultural historian Frank Uhle writes about the fascinating people and stories behind beloved film and music projects, with an emphasis on his adopted hometown of Ann Arbor. A projectionist since the early 1980s, Uhle’s devotion to film was catalyzed when he joined one of the University of Michigan’s student film societies as an undergraduate. His book Cinema Ann Arbor was published by University of Michigan Press and Fifth Avenue Press in 2023.