‘And The King Said, What A FANTASTIC MACHINE’

The camera is a fantastic machine. Filmmakers Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck turn their cameras directly on society, this time to explore, explain and expose how our unchecked obsession with image has grown to change our human behavior.

And The King Said, What A Fantastic Machine

‘And The King Said, What A FANTASTIC MACHINE’

The camera is a fantastic machine. Filmmakers Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck turn their cameras directly on society, this time to explore, explain and expose how our unchecked obsession with image has grown to change our human behavior.

And The King Said, What A Fantastic Machine

‘Being Mary Tyler Moore’

With unprecedented access to Mary Tyler Moore’s vast archive, “Being Mary Tyler Moore” chronicles the screen icon whose storied career spanned 60 years. Weaving Moore’s personal narrative with the beats of her professional accomplishments, the film highlights her groundbreaking roles and the indelible impact she had on generations of women who came after her. Michigan premiere.

Being Mary Tyler Moore

‘Being Satori Circus ~ A Performance Documentary in Five Acts’

For 34 years, artist Satori Circus has enlightened and astonished audiences in Metro Detroit with his unique style of theatrical performance art. “Being Satori Circus ~ A Performance Documentary in Five Acts” tells this story in a narrative that fuses non-fiction and fiction storytelling and keeps the artist’s mystery intact.

Being Satori Circus’ - A Performance Documentary in Five Acts

‘Black Mothers Love and Resist’

Wanda Johnson and Angela Williams, mothers of young Black men victimized by police brutality, come together and build a network of community-led support, mutual aid, and healing in this documentary spanning Oakland’s Fruitvale to the American South.

Black Mothers Love and Resist

‘The Cave of Adullam’

Jason Wilson runs The Cave of Adullam, a transformational Training Academy in the heart of Detroit, where Black boys who are emotionally, mentally and spiritually in debt gather to be trained and transformed into comprehensive men. When Jason started his karate dojo, he thought young Black boys needed more discipline, but quickly realized what’s needed is more love. Michigan Premiere.

The Cave of Adullam

‘Coldwater Kitchen

For 30 years, soft-spoken chef Jimmy Lee Hill has run a highly regarded culinary training program out of a prison in Coldwater, Mich., offering incarcerated men a renewed sense of purpose through the craft of fine dining while demonstrating the life-changing potential that trust and compassion can offer the incarcerated. Michigan premiere.

‘Detroit: The City of Churches’

Detroit, at one time, had more churches per square mile than any other city in the country, serving a population of multiple nationalities and many faiths. Through interviews with 17 different spiritual leaders of some of Detroit’s most historic churches, viewers of “Detroit: The City of Churches” gain a deeper understanding of the role spirituality plays in Detroit’s rich, diverse history.

Detroit: The City of Churches


‘The Donut King’

Ted’s story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks and redemption. It’s the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. Detroit premiere.

Donut King

‘ELMORE LEONARD: “But Don’t Try to Write” ’

Elmore Leonard, author of more than 40 novels, is renowned in the literary community. From his westerns and early novels of crime based in his hometown of Detroit and South Florida, right through his complex and virtually plotless later work, Elmore Leonard dissected an America whose founding sins have continued to haunt it.


‘Free Chol Soo Lee’

In 1970s San Francisco, 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is racially profiled and convicted of a Chinatown gang murder. After spending years fighting to survive, investigative journalist K.W. Lee takes a special interest in his case, igniting an unprecedented social justice movement. Michigan premiere.

Free Chol Soo Lee

‘Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project’

“The trip to Mars can only be understood through Black Americans.” Legendary poet Nikki Giovanni’s revelation is a launching pad to an inspiring exploration of her life and legacy. Through a collision of memories – including of her time in Detroit – moments in American history, live readings of her poetry and impressions of space, Giovanni urges us to imagine a future where Black women lead, and equity is a reality. Michigan premiere.

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project


‘In Search of Bengali Harlem’

As a teenager in 1980s Harlem, Alaudin Ullah was swept up in the revolutionary energy of early hip-hop. He rejected his working-class Bangladeshi parents and turned his back on everything South Asian and Muslim. Now, as an actor and playwright in post-9/11 America, Alaudin wants to tell his parents’ stories, but has no idea of the lives they led as Muslim immigrants of an earlier era. “In Search of Bengali Harlem” follows Ullah from the streets of New York City to the villages of Bangladesh to uncover the pasts of his father, Habib, and mother, Mohima.

In Search of Bengali Harlem

‘Is That Black Enough For You?!?’

From celebrated writer and film historian Elvis Mitchell, “Is That Black Enough For You?!?” is both a documentary and deeply personal essay. The film examines the craft and power of cinema from a perspective often overlooked: the African American contribution to films released from the landmark era of the 1970s. It is a deep dive into the impact that point of view had on movies, as well as popular culture, and serves as a love letter to film, posing questions that have never been asked, let alone answered. Michigan Premiere.

Is That Black Enough For You?!?

‘Lead and Copper’

Countless of municipalities across the countries, including many in Michigan, are stuck with aging lead service pipes leaving many to wonder which city will be the next Flint. World premiere.

Lead and Copper


‘LIKE A ROLLING STONE: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres’

“LIKE A ROLLING STONE: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres” is an inspirational portrait of the life and career of Rolling Stone magazine’s first music editor and legendary writer, during the great rock and roll era when music meant more than entertainment. The film is told from Ben’s deeply personal point of view from the man who quite literally had the backstage pass. Long overdue – in fact, more than half a century – filmmaker/journalist Suzanne Joe Kai is pleased to finally tell his true story.

LIKE A ROLLING STONE: The Life and Times of Ben Fong Torres

‘Locked Out’

Nothing symbolizes ‘making it in America’ quite like owning a home. Yet today, the racial gap in home ownership is widening, and those most impacted are women of color. Set in Detroit, “Locked out” takes us into the lives of courageous Black women who face evictions, predatory lenders and traditional banking, in a movement to battle housing injustice, so The American Dream may become a reality for all. World premiere.

Locked Out

‘Make Me Famous’

An investigation into the life and death(?) of Detroit-born artist, Edward Brezinski, a charismatic Lower East Side painter on the fringe of success, who thwarted his career with antics that roiled NYC’s art elite. This madcap romp is an intimate look at the art world’s attitude towards success and failure, fame and fortune, notoriety and erasure. Michigan premiere.

Make Me Famous

Networking and Education Events

The tenth annual festival is hosting a variety of free events geared toward the local filmmaking community. The gatherings are designed to share knowledge about documentary filmmaking and provide networking opportunities for up-and-coming moviemakers.


‘Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story’

For 50 years, Chinese American photographer Corky Lee tirelessly documented Asian Pacific Americans and kept a relentless record of their everyday lives, celebrations, and struggles. Director Jennifer Takaki’s intimate portrait reveals the triumphs and tragedies of the man who produced a vast collection of compelling photographs that tell the Asian Pacific American story for generations to come. Michigan premiere.

Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story

Pure Nonfiction Podcast

In this live recording of Pure Nonfiction, Thom Powers, documentary programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival and founding artistic director at DOC NYC, interviews fellow metro Detroit native Elvis Mitchell about his directorial debut “Is That Black Enough for You?!?”

Real Fresh University Showcase

The Real Fresh program spotlights some of the best documentary work being done by students at area colleges and universities. This year’s collection of 12 shorts includes a wide variety of filmmaking approaches — and an even wider range of topics.

Shorts Program #1: Creative Types

They work with wood, with paint, with their imaginations. Whatever the approach, the unforgettable personalities featured in these six short documentaries make indelible impacts on the world by following their own paths – and their own creative instincts.

Sydney G. James

Shorts Program #2: The Great Up North

Let’s head to the Upper Peninsula. Featuring breathtaking scenery and deeply personal stories, these two shorts spotlight northern Michigan’s bounty of outdoors activities – and opportunities for pushing yourself to the limit.

Lake Effect

Shorts Program #3: Divided We Fall

The world is a nearly constant state of conflict, and it seems the friction has only risen in recent years. In their own ways, each of these shorts explore how we’ve reached a place of strife and disunity, and what it feels like to live amidst the tumult.

Detroit Will Breathe

‘Shorts Program #4: Our Voices, Our Communities’

Both behind the camera and on the screen, female voices loom large in this collection of shorts, which variously touch on notions of community and being heard.



‘Shorts Program #5: Belonging’

Culture, identity and food buttress the feeling of community among Asian Americans – especially those who have left their home countries and built a life for themselves here in America. In these series of short films, that sense of belonging is sometimes challenged, but also reinforced and celebrated.

Here, Hopefully

‘The Treatment’

Oscar-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne will be the featured guest during a live recording of Elvis Mitchell’s popular radio show “The Treatment.” “The Treatment” features the Highland Park native in conversation with some of the most influential people in the arts, entertainment, sports and fashion.


‘Wisdom Gone Wild’

“Wisdom Gone Wild” presents a daughter’s (Rea Tajiri) evolution towards a new way of seeing aging and mortality through her 16-year journey as a care partner to her mother who lived with dementia. Michigan premiere.

Wisdom Gone Wild

‘With Peter Bradley’

Seventy-nine years old and overlooked since the 1970s, abstract painter Peter Bradley reflects on life and shares his artistic process on the cusp of his rediscovery. A barrier breaking artist, Bradley had spent some of his formative years in Detroit. Bradley went on to build an incredible resume early in his career, but then fell on hard times. When filmmaker Alex Rappoport met Peter Bradley in 2020, he hadn’t had a major show in over four decades, yet he still painted every day. Michigan premiere.

With Peter Bradley