Freep Film Festival | ABOUT US
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Mission statement

The Freep Film Festival will showcase films that are about or relevant to Detroit, the region and Michigan in the hopes of fostering engagement and discussion about the issues and challenges we face while at the same time celebrating what makes us unique.

Who we are

The Freep Film Festival is being presented by the Detroit Free Press and, which manages the newspaper’s business operations. The event’s venue partners are the Fillmore Detroit, the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cinema Detroit, Emagine Theatres and others to be announced.

The fest’s day-to-day staff and board of directors are comprised of employees of the Detroit Free Press and Its programming board also includes representatives from the festival’s venue partners.

Detroit Free Press and

Brian Priester,
President, and Detroit Free Press

Peter Bhatia,
Editor and Vice President,
Detroit Free Press

Aaron Velthoven,
Vice President of Marketing, Gannett

Barbara Bennage,
Event Marketing Director,

The staff

Steve Byrne,
Executive Director


Kathy Kieliszewski,
Artistic Director


Brian McNamara,
Web Director


Jewel Gopwani,
Community Engagement Director

Festival programming board

Steve Byrne
Kathy Kieliszewski
Elliot Wilhelm
Josh Newman