Detroit Film Festivals Showcasing Local Talent

Detroit Film Festivals

If Detroit wants to become a world-class cinematic city, it needs to harness its local creative talent. Films like these are an important step in that direction.

Qasim Basir’s drama about the first all-Black WWII battalion is a tough one, but it’s also beautifully shot and emotionally touching. It’s a must-see.

The Detroit Black Film Festival

The Detroit Black Film Festival is a showcase of independent films made by black filmmakers. It offers a diverse selection of narratives, including documentaries and dramas. The festival will run from Friday to Sunday, and tickets are available online through Eventbrite. The films will be screened at two venues: the Carr Center inside Park Shelton (15 E. Kirby St.) and the Marlene Boll Theater at the Downtown Detroit YMCA (1401 Broadway St.).

Locked Out, which recently won the Shine a Light award at the American Black Film Festival in Miami, follows Detroit women fighting modern-day redlining to own their homes. Director Kate Davis and co-director Luchina Fisher talk to Gadi Elkon about the film, its team, and more.

This weekend, metro Detroiters can take in 74 independent movies at the 3rd annual Detroit Black Film Festival. They can also enjoy a variety of other cultural events, from eating halal food to watching a performance by Peter Gabriel.

The Michigan Refugee Film Festival

The Michigan Refugee Film Festival is a new series of films from the Southeast Michigan Refugee Collaborative. The films focus on refugee stories and highlight their contributions to the United States. They hope to counteract the anti-refugee sentiment that has been circulating in the US.

The first film of the festival, Simple as Water, was filmed over five years in multiple countries and chronicles Syrian families’ struggle to overcome the effects of war and separation. It is a powerful film that shows the humanity of refugees and their desire to live in peace.

The founder of the festival, Michael Moore, announced on Thursday that the Traverse City Film Festival would return with a year-round format. The new TCFF Tuesdays will feature 52 stellar movies over 52 weeks. It will be held at the State Theater in Traverse City and feature many of the same edgy, entertaining fare that made the original festival famous. It will also be a great opportunity to meet local filmmakers.

The Detroit Film Theatre

This is the Detroit Film Theatre, a theater inside the Detroit Institute of Arts that has been showing highly acclaimed films since 1974. Its current winter/spring schedule features a range of movies that cover topics from an illegal adoption agency to a woman on trial for murdering her child.

One highlight is a screening of Federico Fellini’s 1957 classic “Nights of Cabiria,” the story of a prostitute who weathers betrayals and suffering with a wry sense of humor. Another is a documentary about Detroiters who are working to bring the city back from the brink.

This year’s festival also includes several short films, including “Fractured Hope,” a drama about parents of an autistic child directed by Highland Park native James C. Turner, and “Intimate Betrayals,” a story about infidelity directed by Detroiters Mike Jeffers and the late Melissa Talbot. Both films are available to watch on Tubi. The festival is open to all. The DTIFF also offers workshops and discussions led by local and national experts.

Film Freeway

Film Freeway is the world’s leading submissions platform for films, contests and screenplays. Over 12,000 festivals and contests use FilmFreeway to collect submissions, manage judging forms, and stay organized. Customizable dashboard analytics, reports and a secure entrant portal provide a better experience for submitters and organizers alike.

The festival accepts films in the categories of animation, comedy, drama, documentary, experimental, LGBTIQA+ and music video. Films with a Detroit or Michigan connection are strongly encouraged to be submitted. Running lengths should be no longer than 25 minutes. Non-English language films must have legible English subtitles.

By submitting a film to the BCFF, all authors and owners of the film grant the festival a nonexclusive, global, royalty-free license and right to publicly display the film for promotional purposes. If selected for screening, the film must be presented at the event in front of a live audience on the Event Date listed on the festival’s FilmFreeway listing. If the festival is unable to present the film for the full duration of its run, it will forfeit all security hold amount.

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