Welcome to this year’s documentary lineup

  • All
  • Documentary
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Short Docs Program
  • Sunday
  • Thursday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday

’12th and Clairmount’

It’s a return engagement for this Free Press documentary that debuted at the 2017 Freep Film Festival. Home movie footage donated by…

‘All Sports Shorts: Shorts Program 2’

Move over Pistons, Tigers and Lions. Under-the-radar Michigan sports are the focus of this program that features a legendary motorcycle…

‘Bean’

A casual right swipe on dating app Tinder forever changes the lives of two young women. Within weeks of their…

‘Beauty and Ruin’

Does art matter to a city fighting for its life? This film follows the battle over the artwork at the…

Beyond ‘Flint Town’

The acclaimed new Netflix documentary series has been heralded for its nuanced and detailed look at the troubled city of…

‘The Big House’

This documentary eschews gridiron grandeur to look closely at everything — from the cooks to the cops to the cleaners — that goes into hosting more than 100,000…

‘The Blood is at the Doorstep’

In 2014 an unarmed black male named Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed in Milwaukee by a police officer, who…

‘Call Us Ishmael’

“Call Us Ishmael” is an intimate look at the world’s obsession with Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick,” which many consider the great…

‘Clear Water: Detroit’s River Revival’

The film, directed by metro Detroit native Randin Brown, tells the story of the environmental recovery of the Detroit and…

‘Clerks’

Kevin Smith’s hilariously foul-mouthed debut about a clan hanging at a New Jersey convenience store gets an afterparty screening following…

‘Dark Money’

A century ago, corrupt money swamped Montana’s legislature, but Montanans rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the…

‘Descent into the Maelstrom’

Sydney, Australia. 1974. A group of outsiders form the high energy rock ’n’ roll band Radio Birdman, forever determined to…

‘Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route’

“Detroit 48202” examines the rise, demise and contested resurgence of Detroit through the lens of mail carrier Wendell Watkins and the residents he has…

‘Dinner in Abruzzo’ + ‘A Wife Called Phoenicia’

1 SPECIAL EVENT It’s a return engagement for this documentary short from Free Press restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik – but with a couple new twists….

‘El Mar La Mar’

This meditative, experimental journey across the Sonoran Desert is one of two films in this year’s festival co-presented by Detroit’s…

‘Fighting the Good Fight: Shorts Program 1’

A group of concerned citizens, dedicated activists and stubborn residents prove that their communities and the environment are worth fighting…

‘Filmworker’ and ‘The Shining’ (DOUBLE FEATURE)

This Redford Theatre double feature pairs a documentary about a longtime assistant of legendary director Stanley Kubrick with one of…

‘Freedom for the Wolf’

This strident documentary argues that global democracy is in crisis. Filmed over three years in five countries, “Freedom for the Wolf” is an…

‘From the Streets of Detroit: Shorts Program 3’

Detroit’s streets are filled with stories that reflect the dynamic changes and numerous challenges affecting the city and its citizens….

‘The Gateway Bug’

Over 2 billion people on earth eat insects for protein. “The Gateway Bug” explores how changing our daily eating habits…

‘I Am Evidence’

Set partly in Detroit — where the discovery of thousands of untested rape kits made national headlines — “I Am Evidence” exposes the alarming backlog of untested rape…

‘I Like to Hurt People’

This bonkers vintage wrestling doc shot entirely in Detroit was originally conceived as a schlock horror film. Only after embarking…

‘The Joe’

The Joe Louis Arena was the home of the Red Wings from its opening in 1979, through their most glorious…

‘Last Days of Chinatown’

Detroit’s Cass Corridor, one of the roughest areas in the city for the past 100 years, is experiencing a complete…

‘Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba!’

This powerful introduction to South African singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba played a few film festivals in 2011, but…

‘Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen’

A coveted starred rating from the Michelin Guide can make a chef’s career. Missing out on one can also break it. This…

‘Minding the Gap’

Three young men bond through their love of skateboarding, while escaping volatile family lives in their Rust Belt hometown. As…

‘Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself’ and ‘Paper Lion’ (DOUBLE FEATURE)

This double feature at the Redford Theatre pairs a documentary about famed participatory journalist George Plimpton with a 50th anniversary…

‘Pick of the Litter’

“Pick of the Litter” follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide…

‘The Pretender’ + ‘Rocky III’ (DOUBLE FEATURE)

Eye of the tiger! This double feature at the Redford Theatre pairs the third installment of the Rocky franchise with a documentary (“The…

‘The Price of Everything’

With unprecedented access to pivotal artists (including Jeff Koons, Larry Poons and Marilyn Minter) and the white-hot market surrounding them,…

‘Ramen Heads’

Take a journey with Japan’s top ramen masters and their legions of devoted fans. Osamu Tomita, Japan’s reigning king of…

‘The Registry’

“The Registry” breaks open the hidden history of the U.S. Armyʼs Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II –…

‘Rodents of Unusual Size’

The residents of Louisiana never know what will attack them next: floods, hurricanes, even monstrous swamp rats. Gigantic orange-toothed nutria…

‘The Russian Five’

This is the dramatic story of the five Russian hockey stars who helped propel the Detroit Red Wings to two…

‘The S Word’

Metro Detroit native Lisa Klein directed this film that follows suicide attempt survivor Dese’Rae Stage, who is on a mission to find fellow survivors and…

‘Soufra’

Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon – sets…

‘Street Fighting Men’

In a rapidly changing America where mass inequality and dwindling opportunity have devastated the black working class, three Detroit men…

‘Tell Me a Story: Shorts Program 4’

Everyone has a story to tell, as evidenced by this group of shorts that explore interesting histories, complicated characters and…

‘Through the Banks of the Red Cedar’

The daughter of Michigan State University football legend Gene Washington uncovers the Spartans’ key role in integrating college football in the ‘60s, a Duffy…

‘The United States of Detroit’

Residents of Detroit’s neighborhoods fight for survival and growth in a city with an uncertain future, working tirelessly to improve…

‘A Visit With Jam Handy’

Between the 1910s and the 1980s, the Jam Handy Organization made thousands of advertising, industrial and training films, many in…

‘Voices of the Sea’

From producer and Detroit native Capella Fahoome comes the story of this tiny, remote coastal village in Cuba where poverty…

‘The Wall’

“Build the wall.” A simple, three-word phrase that helped define a campaign. But along the U.S.-Mexico border, nothing is that…

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”), “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” takes an intimate look at America’s favorite…

‘You Are Never Too Old To Fall in Love’

Though they arrived three decades apart, these two documentary shorts have a remarkable commonality: Both were created by Michigan-connected directors….

‘The Sentence’

Drawing from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for…