Returning for its fifth year, the Freep Film Festival kicks off today, featuring its largest lineup to date. From April 11-15, the event will feature a variety of documentaries, including 75 different events and screenings.
The annual festival specifically showcases films that are about or relevant to Michigan and Detroit, in hopes of fostering discussion and celebrating the state. “There [are] so many important and interesting films being made by Michigan filmmakers or Michigan filmmakers [who have moved away.],” says Kathy Kieliszewski, the artistic director for the Freep Film Festival. “Also, there are so many films that are about us.”
With eight world premiere films in tow (a festival first), the five-day event will kick off with the sold-out engagement of “The Russian Five,” a documentary focused on the five Russian hockey stars who helped the Detroit Red Wings win two Stanley Cup championships.
Highlights from this year’s lineup include, “I Am Evidence,” “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win,” and a return engagement of the popular 2017 debut “12th and Clairmont.” Moderated panels will also be incorporated alongside select films with its filmmakers to discuss the important societal messages behind the piece shown.
Another event to look out for is the screening of “Pick of the Litter,” a film which explains to audiences about the training of service dogs. Puppies of such leader dogs will be available to pet at both of events.
The festival will span across 12 venues in Detroit, Royal Oak, and Novi. Participating venues include The Fillmore Detroit, Emagine Theaters, the Detroit Film Theatre, and Cinema Detroit. New metro Detroit locations have been added to the roster this year, such as the historic Redford Theatre and Wayne State University.
The festival will also include a Roaring Twenties Gala hosted at the Detroit Institute of Arts. At $120 a ticket, the event will transport guests back to the glamour of Old Hollywood. With a rolling dinner and open bar provided, the evening will be an elegant blast from the past. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Detroit Film Theatre inside of the museum.
For the full list of films, venues, and more, visit freepfilmfestival.com.