2017: BEYOND THE FILMS

There’s lots happening at Freep Film Festival beyond movie screenings. Details — and links to buy tickets — are below. Many of the activities are free.
Download our day-by-day film schedule grid here!

‘Jay and Silent Bob Get Old’

Live Nation

Director-writer-actor-podcaster Kevin Smith will kick off this year’s Freep Film Festival with a pre-party on Wednesday, March 29 at the Fillmore Detroit. In a podcast-tied event dubbed “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old,” he’ll be joined by longtime comedic partner Jason Mewes. The two famously paired as the rabble-rousing, rarely-do-wells Jay and Silent Bob in indie comic classics like “Clerks,” “Mallrats” and “Chasing Amy.”

Smith and Mewes now host a podcast under the “Get Old” banner through Smith’s Smodcast empire, and regularly make live appearances at theaters around the country. The Freep Film Festival show will be recorded for the podcast.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Wed., March 29, with the show starting at 8 p.m, the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave, Detroit. Tickets ($20-$60) at the link below, 800-745-3000, or the Fillmore box office.

“Vrtually There” virtual reality experiences

Freep Film Festival is offering event attendees the opportunity to test out some cool virtual reality programming free of charge, thanks to the Free Press’ affiliation with the USA Today Network.

We’ll have the equipment and content so festivalgoers can watch the news come to stunning life in 360-degree video and virtual reality with “VRtually There,” the industry’s first regularly scheduled VR news series.

Ready to get virtual? Launch off an aircraft carrier, dive with sharks, explore America’s National Parks, relive Pearl Harbor, and more, in a selection of stories from the first season of “VRtually There.” It doesn’t just tell amazing stories, it lets you live them in fully immersive environments.

See “VRtually There” demonstrations at:

The Fillmore Detroit: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thu., March 30. Free, but film ticket required for entrance.

Cinema Detroit: 4-8 p.m. Fri., March 31; 4-8 p.m. Sat., April 1; 1-5 p.m. Sun., April 2. Free.

‘Flint is a Place’ installation

“Flint is a Place” is a cross-platform look at the city of Flint — its people, its struggles and other topics. Led by filmmaker Zackary Canepari (“T-Rex”), it includes videos, photos, virtual reality, text, interactive elements and more.

A portion of the project — including some virtual reality — will be installed in the Crystal Gallery at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts during the festival weekend, beginning Friday, March 31.

Experience the installation for free with either DIA admission (which is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties), or with a Freep Film Festival ticket at a DIA venue. 

Voguing workshop with Jose Xtravaganza

Want to strike a pose? Learn from the best.

Join Jose Xtravaganza for an all-levels, 90-minute voguing workshop during the Freep Film Festival.

Jose Xtravaganza, a dancer and choreographer featured in the documentary “Strike a Pose,” will be in town for the film’s Michigan premiere. He is one of the original dancers on Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, and was featured prominently in the famed “Truth or Dare” documentary.

See “Strike a Pose.” Then learn to vogue.

1 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Boll YMCA, 1401 Broadway St., Detroit. $25.

Buy Tickets

Detroit ’67 Bus Tours

After seeing “12th and Clairmount,” learn more about what led to the unrest of 1967 and visit some of the most significant sites of the time.

The 2.5-hour bus tour will be led by Jamon Jordan of the Black Scroll Network and produced by the Detroit Experience Factory. It will include stops at Gordon Park, which now occupies the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard (12th Street) and Clairmount, as well as the Birwood Wall, erected on Detroit’s Birwood Street in the 1940s to create a barrier between black and white residents.

3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, leaving from outside of the Detroit Film Theatre, on the John R side of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The tour follows the 1 p.m. screening of “12th and Clairmount” at the DFT. It will return to the departure point following the tour.

3:30 p.m., Sunday, April 2, leaving from University Street and Main, just north of Emagine Royal Oak. The tour follows the 1 p.m. screening of “12th and Clairmount” at Emagine Royal Oak. It will return to the departure point following the tour.

Saturday DFT tour tickets sold out
Sunday Emagine tickets sold out

‘‘Creativity Matters: Careers in the Film and Creative Industries’

How do you get started in filmmaking, television and the digital arts? Hear from people who have built their careers in these fields, those who are teaching the skills to succeed in creative careers and those who are doing the hiring.

This panel, presented by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office, is a great chance to find out what you should do next to fund your passion project, find your next job or get started in a creative career.

Kathy Kieliszewski, Freep Film Festival artistic director, leads a discussion that will include:

— Jenell Leonard, director, Michigan Film & Digital Media Office

— Mark Canavan, executive creative director, McCann Detroit

— Steve Julin, vice president of curriculum and online learning, Specs Howard

— Jasmine Rivera, filmmaker (including fest entry “American Prophet,” pictured), 2014 Kresge Arts Fellow

— Kathryn Dimond, advocacy and program strategist, CultureSource

4 p.m. Fri., March 31, Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Free with DIA admission, which is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Reservation required at link below.

Works-in-Progress Panel

Directors of four in-progress documentaries will be on hand to show off their work at the first-ever Freep Film Festival Works-in-Progress event.

They’ll talk about their movies, their filmmaking careers and offer sneak peeks at their films.

Kathy Kieliszewski, the Freep Film Festival artistic director, will lead a discussion that will include:

— Hamtramck-based filmmaker Bruno Filip Lumetta, whose upcoming documentary “Dhaka / Detroit: The Film” chronicles cross-continental connections between Hamtramck and Bangladesh.

— Joshua Riehl, the Detroiter who is nearing completion on the documentary “The Russian Five,” about the famed quintet of Russian-born hockey stars who helped return the Red Wings to Stanley Cup glory.

— Michigan-based filmmaker Mike Ramsdell, who is juggling a few projects, including a film called “War Photographers.”

— Pam Sporn, a former Detroiter now based in New York who is in postproduction on “Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route,” which views a neighborhood through the eyes of a postal worker who has long walked its streets.

1 p.m. Sun., April 2, The Eastern, 3434 Russell St. (in Eastern Market), Detroit. Free. Reservation required at link below.

’12th and Clairmount: The Art of Rashaun Rucker’

Rashaun Rucker, deputy director of photo and video at the Free Press, is also a noted visual artist whose work has been exhibited at galleries around the country. About a dozen of the pieces he drew for “12th and Clairmount” will be on display at Detroit Artists Market during Freep Film Festival.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thu.-Sat., Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Admission is free.

Preservation Detroit Theater Tour

Join Preservation Detroit in celebrating the Freep Film Festival’s fourth year and learn more about the rich movie palace history in the city of Detroit. A guide will lead you on a walking tour past some of Detroit’s famous movie palaces and theaters, including the United Artists Theatre, Michigan Theatre, Telenews Theatre, Detroit Opera House, Music Hall and more.

At the end of the walking tour, attendees will go behind the scenes at the Fillmore Detroit Total tour time will be about 2-2.5 hours.

Tours will begin and end at the Fillmore, departing at 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 2. $17 if purchased online in advance. $20 if available.

Purchase of a Preservation Detroit tour includes a 25% off code for the Freep Film Festival Screening of “Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future” at 5 p.m. Friday, March 31, at the Detroit Historical Museum. Discount code will be sent with tour ticket receipt from Eventbrite and is subject to ticket availability; not transferable in case of a sellout.

‘Family Histories and Community Stories’

Photos and home movies are important part of a family’s history. But when shared publicly, they also can reveal a lot about a community’s collective story.

That’s the premise of this conversation featuring representatives from two projects that are collecting personal media — photography and films — and presenting them in public realms.

As part of the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit ’67 effort, “Family Pictures: USA” will be holding a series of weekly community photo-sharing events in eight locations around Detroit starting in May. The Grand Finale event, a 2-hour multimedia performance with a live audience, will feature participants sharing their stories while family photographs are projected on a large screen. It will be held on July 21. One of the project’s founders, Donald Perry, will share details and the philosophy behind the project.

Larry Baranski, director of public programs at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will represent “1967 Detroit: Home Movies,” a collaboration by several key Detroit institutions — including the Free Press and the DIA — to collect home movies and other found footage from the late ’60s. Some of the films are featured in the Free Press’ “12th and Clairmount,” while the DIA is hosting an ongoing series of screenings of raw footage, culminating with a marathon event on July 29.

Join us for a discussion of the importance of photography, film, family histories and preserving community narratives.

5:30 p.m. Sat., April 1, Nora Modern, 4240 Cass Ave. Suite 109, Detroit. Free event.