Those making the trek to Ann Arbor, or visiting from within the city, to attend the first day of the Cinetopia Film Festival this year at the Michigan Theater are in for more than just a silver-screen treat.
This year’s festival involved a record number of Michigan premieres and a trio of U.S. premieres.
The festival will run from June 1 to 11 and the premieres and other features will span the Michigan Theater, the Detroit Film Theatre, and the Maple Theatre, as well as many more across southeast Michigan.
Included in the more than 60 films featured, 24 will be Michigan premiers and the three U.S. premiers will include McLaren, premiering at the Henry Ford on Friday, June 2. These silver-screen works come from Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, SXSW and Tribeca.
The June 1 kickoff of Cinetopia will also occur at Lorch Hall on the University of Michigan campus.
A special Midwest Premiere of the documentary Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry will take place at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Dexter on Wednesday, June 7.
Cinetopia will open on the evening of Thursday, June 1 at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, with an opening night party at 5:30 p.m. in the foyer followed by the Michigan Premiere of Sundance favorite The Hero starring Sam Elliott, Nick Offerman, and Laura Prepon at 7 p.m.
A list of the films currently announced is attached here and also available at cinetopiafestival.org. More films, events, panels, and guests will be announced in the weeks to come.
Some of the 60+ films being screened at the festival include:
12TH AND CLAIRMOUNT Metro Detroiters’ vintage home movie footage provides the heart of 12th and Clairmount, a documentary looking back at the cause, duration, and aftermath of the 1967 Detroit riot/rebellion. Those five days in July were among the most pivotal – and divisive – in the city’s history, with the turmoil leaving 43 dead. While the impending 50th anniversary of the summer of ’67 was the impetus for the film, the found footage in 12th and Clairmount captures a wide spectrum of Detroit life, from proud streetscapes to dance parties to neighborhood sporting events. Drawing from more than 400 reels of home movies from the era, other unearthed footage, and newly recorded oral histories, the documentary was produced by the Detroit Free Press in collaboration with Bridge Magazine, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and a group of metro Detroit cultural institutions, led by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Sponsored by the Detroit Free Press.
BAND AID MICHIGAN PREMIERE Tired of having the same fights over and over again, a struggling married couple (writer-director ZOE LISTER-JONES and ADAM PALLY) decide to turn their anger and dissatisfaction with each other into something more fun and productive: a rock band. Soon they’re clearing out their Los Angeles garage for rehearsal space and enlisting the help of their neighbor, “Weird Dave” (FRED ARMISEN), on drums. With their upbeat, garage punk songs, they find a new, healthy way to communicate their range of issues – both the comical ones (not doing the dishes) and the more serious one at the heart of their rift (their struggle to conceive a child). It’s not long before they realize that their problems may be too great for any indie-pop song to mend. This honest comedy from an entirely female-led production crew uses music to show how we hurt, how we heal, and how we can move on together.
THE HERO MICHIGAN PREMIERE Western star of yesteryear Lee Hayden (SAM ELLIOTT) likes to reminisce with his drug dealer buddy Jeremy (NICK OFFERMAN) about the good times gone by. But when Lee runs into a roadblock, he gets a fresh chance to reclaim the spotlight with the help of his new lover Charlotte (LAURA PREPON) and an industry award for his work. Director BRETT HALEY (I’ll See You in My Dreams) gives a strong, funny, and touching take on a man in his later years making the best of being in the moment.
IL CINEMA RITROVATO Cineteca di Bologna, one of Europe’ s most renowned archives for film restoration and preservation, organizes the world-renowned festival Il Cinema Ritrovatoevery summer in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore. The festival’ s purpose is to make sure that important cinematic restorations – which are often undertaken as a matter of genuine rescue, rather than simple “sprucing up”– aren’t just hidden away in a deep, dark film vault that only scholars will have access to. This year’s touring program of nine rare, newly-restored feature-length and short films will take place during Cinetopia exclusively at the DIA’ s Detroit Film Theatre. This series is curated by Guy Borlée of Cineteca di Bologna and Elliot Wilhelm of the Detroit Film Theater, in collaboration with the Italian Consulate in Detroit.
LOOK & SEE: A PORTRAIT OF WENDELL BERRY MIDWEST PREMIERE CORNMAN FARMS SPECIAL SCREENING. Told through the lens of writer, environmentalist, and farmer WENDELL BERRY, Look & See takes you on a journey that challenges how you think about land. This meditative look at the culturally- and physically-changing landscape explores the ideological struggle between the deeply ingrained values of local farmers and the growth of industrial agriculture. Directors LAURA DUNN and JEF SEWELL delicately blend interviews with residents of Henry County, Kentucky (Berry’s birthplace) with stunning images of the landscape through all four seasons of the farming cycle. They invite you to look through the window Berry looks through as he explores the natural world with an artful eye. Winner of the SXSW FILM FESTIVAL SPECIAL JURY AWARD.
MCLAREN U.S. PREMIERE Born 80 years ago in New Zealand, BRUCE MCLAREN overcame a childhood illness to realize his dream of becoming a racecar driver. Ultimately, his unfaltering commitment to himself, his family, and the art of racing has inspired generations of sports fans around the world. Acclaimed director ROGER DONALDSON (Thirteen Days, The World’s Fastest Indian) punctuates this fascinating story with first-hand accounts from racing luminaries EMERSON FITTIPALDI, ALASTAIR CALDWELL, MARIO ANDRETTI, DAN GURNEY, and SIR JACKIE STEWART, along with an unprecedented look into the McLaren family archives. The “favourite son” of two nations and one of motor racing’s greatest icons is a shining example of the human spirit.
Cinetopia passes are available on cinetopiafestival.org and include Festival Passes (offering unlimited film screenings, priority admission, opening night parties and other hospitality events), Movie Passes (unlimited film screenings and priority admission) and a Student Passes for those with valid student identification (unlimited film screenings). A Personal Sponsorship Pass is also available for individuals interested in supporting special features like guest filmmaker appearances and post-screening panel discussions.
Tickets to individual films are $12 for the general public and go on sale May 12, while members of the Arab American National Museum, Cinema Detroit, DIA, Charles H. Wright Museum, The Henry Ford, and Michigan Theater can begin to purchase tickets on May 9 at the member price of $9. All tickets can be purchased at cinetopiafestival.org.
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