The Free Press and Michigan.com partnered yet again to bring Detroit natives and visitors the third annual Freep Film Festival.

Once again, Freep focused on documentaries and celebrated the stories and the cultures that surround them. Given the festival’s setting, the four-day event featured content with heavy ties to Michigan. For many viewers, the content evoked native roots and feelings. For others, it opened eyes to family and friend cultures behind which they didn’t previously know the tales. For everyone at the show, a sense of community pervaded the room and allowed viewers to leave with a new connectedness to one another and their community.

Given the event’s success the last two years, 2016 was slated to be even bigger and better than before, and it did not disappoint. Films were vast, covering a breadth of topics in new lights and introducing curious musical pairings and cinematographic elements. Panels that allowed the audience, producers and fellow filmmakers to react to the films and discuss their power followed many.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s event roster:

  • Freep Film Festival celebrated 11 screening sellouts! Bravo, Detroit!
  • Jason Zeldes screened his provoking story of Donte Clark in the autobiographical version of Romeo and Juliet, “Romeo is Bleeding.”
  • The original roadshow version of “Apocalypse Now” was showcased
  • “The Goat Yard” sold out its screening.
  • “Life in Osborn” drew a similarly impressive crowd.
  • Red Bull House of Art in Detroit got a private screening of ‘Fire Photo -> 1’.
  • Walter V Marshall and Life Remodeled hosted an engaging panel after the sold-out showing of “Life in Osborn.”
  • “Superior” offered the moving story about the 1,300 mile trek along Lake Superior. Edd Benda led the project in only 21 days.
  • Greg Kohs produced another triumphant film, “The Great Alone,” which follows Lance Mackey’s struggles with cancer and substance abuse.
  • Senator Bert Johnson tweeted about the Hantz Farms Detroit Documentary and urged citizens to follow in Hantz’ footsteps to clean up Detroit and reclaim the area.
  • Mitch Albom led the panel discussion of Kohs’ screening and the two explored Alaskan culture and its many ties to life in Michigan, present and past.
  • Fire photographer, Bill Eisner, had a moving display at Red Bull HOA.
  • Requiem RB promoted education and awareness on student athletes, concussions and their side effects.
  • The highly anticipated screening of Parducci sold out.
  • “Predator/Prey: The Fight for Isle Royale Wolves,” premiered with excellent success and reviews.

If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s show, head to www.freepfilmfestival.com.  Recaps will be coming out all week and information on next year’s event will be available in the coming months! You don’t want to miss another beat of this beautifully enriching documentary path.  

EM360 Digital

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