The eighth annual Freep Film Festival, a celebration of documentary film produced by the Free Press, will wrap up Sunday night after five days of featuring films that touch the lives of metro Detroiters and Michiganders.
Moviegoers gathered under Sydney G. James’ mural titled “Girl with the D Earing,” to watch “Alumination,” an ode to the Airstreams, and get an up-close look at the incomparable travel trailers.
They came out in support of student filmmakers who were part of “Real Fresh Shorts,” a showcase of young filmmakers honing the craft at local universities.
And they stayed home in droves to watch documentary films — including the tale of Detroit’s Boblo boats and a film capturing the highs and lows of a local newspaper trying to survive — from the comfort of their living rooms.
Amid the pandemic, the festival has offered viewers more than 40 events, including in-person screening opportunities (which require a vaccination card or negative coronavirus test in the previous 72 hours) and the opportunity to watch 19 full-length documentaries and shorts programs.
There’s one day left in this year’s Freep Film Festival. Here’s a slice of what’s on deck. Learn more at freepfilmfestival.com.
“The First Step”: This documentary is a deep at Van Jones’ controversial efforts to work with the Trump administration to pass criminal justice reform. After the film, Rochelle Riley, who leads the city of Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship, will discuss next steps in criminal justice reform with producer Lance Kramer; Louis L. Reed, senior director of membership and partnerships at REFORM Alliance, who is featured in the film; Joshua Hoe, policy analyst at Safe & Just Michigan; and Ashley Goldon, statewide program director at Nation Outside. 1 p.m. Sunday, Detroit Film Theatre at Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
“Since I’ve Been Down”: Filmmaker and Detroit native Gilda Sheppard explores the societal ills that lead to imprisonment and follows the efforts of a group of incarcerated people to create a model of education that is transforming their lives and communities. After the film, Detroit Free Press education equity reporter Lily Altavena talks with Sheppard and Tonya Wilson, reentry outreach coordinator for the Freedom Project in Seattle, in a recorded conversation. 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Cinema Detroit, 4126 Third St., Detroit
“Company Town”: This film follows the fight to save manufacturing jobs at a General Motors SUV and pickup plant in Oshawa, Ontario, a facility where generations of residents have built their livelihoods. After the film, watch a pre-recorded conversation, where Free Press auto writer Jamie LaReau talks with director Peter Findlay and Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor. And after the program, meet Findlay.6 p.m., Sunday, Cinema Detroit, 4126 Third St., Detroit
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