Metro Detroit Rolls Out the Red Carpet at Local Film Festivals


With streaming services, and movies being quickly and readily available on any electronic device, why are film festivals essential? Film festivals have been around for as long as some of us can remember but have you stopped to think about who makes film festivals successful? Nope, not the filmmakers, but the audiences. Untraditional movie goers wait eagerly for film festivals to come to their local movie theater which are pillars in the community.  These monumental buildings such as the Michigan Theater and The Fillmore, draws audiences locally and internationally and not just filmmakers, but screenwriters, creatives and artists. So silence your phone, grab some popcorn and kick back because the feature is about to start. Check out these upcoming film festivals in the metro Detroit Area.

Celebrating it’s 56th year this year, The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. According to aafilmfest.org “this six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works.” There are so many layers of the Ann Arbor film Festival!  

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Deborah Greer, Member of Board of Director for the Ann Arbor Film Festival states, “I would say there are five beautiful threads that have continued at the center of the festival, the threads always stay in tack even as the outside may change. The hospitality, innovation, radicalization,  experimental and the graciousness of the community of Ann Arbor opening their doors to filmmakers is also a thread. ”

The Ann Arbor Film Festival opens March 20th and goes through March 25th with films, film-themed Salons, and hands on workshops for all ages. Don’t forget to check out the after parties in Ann Arbor.

The Detroit Free Press and Michigan.com, presents The Freep Film Festival for it’s 5th year in a row.  Starting April 11th and going through April 15th, films are shown at historical venues near and dear to the city of Detroit such as Fillmore Detroit, the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cinema Detroit. One of the anticipated films to come is the opening night, sold out film the “Russian Five”,the behind the scenes story on how the Red Wings created the famous line up.

Executive Director of The Freep Film Festival, Steve Byrne states,“Five years is a great time to reflect on the festival’s growth. In our first year, we were at two venues, and showed a dozen or so films. This year, we’ll be at a dozen venues, with more than 75 programs. While we’ve gotten bigger, we’ve been able to stay true to the original mission: Showcasing great documentaries – especially films that really connect to Detroit or Michigan.”

The Detroit Freep Film Festival will open on April 11th and go through April 15th. Check  the schedule for upcoming films and events.

Additional Upcoming Film Festivals:

Capital City Film Festival

Offering a multimedia showcase of films along with live touring bands in Lansing for it’s eighth year, movie goers can look forward to diverse and culturally moving films.
Opening Night April 11th- April 15th

Cinetopia Film Festival

This film festival features the best in everything from full-feature films to documentaries and everything in between, from all over the world.
Opening Night May 31st – June 10th

Traverse City Film Festival

Make a summer weekend of it and attend The Traverse City Film Festival. Sit outside on the lawn and watch classic movies on a large inflatable screen for free. Enjoy free panel discussions with directors, writers, actors, and other members of the film industry. Opening Night July 31st – August 5th

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