‘23 Mile’

Part verité essay, part political diary, “23 Mile” is an experimental nonfiction film following Americans during cataclysmic events in the swing state of Michigan throughout 2020 — including the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — painting a portrait of a populace that defies media stereotypes. Michigan premiere.

‘A Two Hearted Tale’

“A Two Hearted Tale” is a heartfelt look at the history of the iconic trout label adorning Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, the Michigan-born beer that is the most popular IPA beer in America, and the label’s eccentric artist, Ladislav Hanka. Detroit premiere. 

‘The Best of the Best: Jazz from Detroit’

You can’t tell the history of jazz without telling the history of jazz from Detroit. “The Best of the Best: Jazz from Detroit” explores the dynamic story of the city’s innovative and influential jazz musicians. World Premiere.

Jazz From Detroit

‘Chasing Chasing Amy’

In Sav Rodgers’ debut feature film, he explores the unexamined legacy of Kevin Smith’s cult classic, “Chasing Amy.” His documentary is both a tribute to the movie that saved his life as a queer kid, coming of age in Kansas, and an exploration of its mixed reviews from the LGBTQ+ community. Detroit premiere.

‘Common Ground’

The sequel to “Kiss the Ground,” “Common Ground” fuses journalistic expose’ with deeply personal stories from farmers who are using alternative “regenerative” models of agriculture that could balance the climate, save our health, and stabilize America’s economy – before it’s too late. 

‘Crush: Message in a Bottle’

“Crush: Message in a Bottle” is a manifesto for change, exploring eco-conscious practices and low intervention winemaking through artisanal winemakers and growers who represent changing diversity and inclusivity in the industry.


Free afterparties

Here are two great opportunities to do a little informal socializing after catching a movie. Freep Film Festival is partnering with two cool local venues on casual events designed to connect attendees with filmmakers and festival staffers. There is no charge for admission.

Two Birds

Free events for filmmaking community

Freep Film Festival is committed to helping build the ecosystem for Detroit and Michigan filmmakers. These four events are all free — and all are designed to lift up the local filmmaking community.

Little Egypt Collective


An intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo, including the time she spent in Detroit. Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — “Frida” reaches new visual heights with lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork.


‘The Herricanes’

The Houston Herricanes were a part of the first women’s full tackle football league in the 1970s. Their unknown story is one of commitment, courage and strength. Despite adversity and hardship, they fielded a team purely for the love of the game. What they started was a movement that is still in motion today. Michigan premiere.

The Herricanes

‘Ignore The Noise: The Transformation of the Detroit Riverfront’

“Ignore the Noise” tells the story of how the Detroit riverfront was transformed from an industrial, blighted wasteland into a national award-winning and beloved waterfront. The story is told from the perspective of individuals who played prominent roles in the incredible riverfront transformation over the past two decades.

‘Jeanette Lee Vs.’

She was the Black Widow, and at her peak, Jeanette Lee was, improbably, one of the most recognizable figures in sports. Now, “Jeanette Lee Vs.” recounts Lee’s rise as one of billiards’ biggest names, her TV popularity, and her significance as a cultural figure. The “30 for 30” film also chronicles the difficult turns of life for one of the most distinctive stars to ever emerge on the sports landscape.

‘Liquor Store Dreams’

Growing up a daughter of Korean immigrants who ran a liquor store in a South LA neighborhood, So Yun Um decided that what she wanted to do more than anything else, was become a filmmaker, much to the bemusement of her father. In this vibrant and bold film, So turns the camera on herself, her community and her friends, and documents a rarely seen slice of the American dream as she struggles with creating her own path in life.

‘Luther: Never Too Much’

“Luther: Never Too Much” chronicles the story of a vocal virtuoso and man of passion who delighted in beauty and luxury. Using a wealth of rarely seen archival material, Luther Vandross tells his own story with assistance from his closest friends and musical collaborators including Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson and Roberta Flack. The film relives the many stunning moments of Vandross’ musical career, while exploring his unrequited love life, health struggles and a lifelong battle to earn the respect his music deserved. Michigan premiere. 

‘The Michoacan File’

“The Michoacan File” explains the origin, history and impact of Mexican food in modern society. Exploring the past and present and told from the point of view of culinary experts, anthropologists and traditional cooks, “The Michoacan File” is a timely, culturally significant and provocative documentary that challenges and ultimately deconstructs what we understand about Mexican food.

‘Nam June Paik: Moon Is The Oldest TV’

The quixotic journey of Nam June Paik, one of the most famous Asian artists of the 20th century, who revolutionized the use of technology as an artistic canvas and prophesied both the fascist tendencies and intercultural understanding that would arise from the interconnected metaverse of today’s world. 

‘Nowhere Near’

A poetic essay film through the lens of an undocumented immigrant becoming disillusioned by their future in the United States and deciding to return to an estranged homeland. “Nowhere Near” tracks down the origin of a family curse backtracking through the post 9/11 era, the US occupation of the Philippines and the spiritual conquest of the Spanish empire. The film is a years-long diary towards understanding the causes of migration to the United States, though ultimately this odyssey deviates far from the expected course.


Where do we draw the line between love and devotion? An intimate and haunting portrayal of a quest for love and acceptance at any cost, “Q” depicts the insidious influence of a secretive matriarchal religious order in Lebanon on three generations of women in the Chehab family. Filmmaker Jude Chehab potently documents the unspoken ties and consequences of loyalty that have bonded her mother, grandmother, and herself to the mysterious organization. Michigan premiere.

‘Real Fresh University Showcase’

The Real Fresh program spotlights some of the best documentary work being done by students at area colleges and universities.

‘Regeneration: Films of the Reverend Solomon Sir Jones’

The Reverend Solomon Sir Jones was a successful Baptist minister and early documentary filmmaker in Oklahoma during the 1920s. His surviving footage preserves images of daily life — worship, sporting events, schools, parades, Masonic meetings, picnics, funerals and Juneteenth celebrations. Jones’ 29 reels of silent black-and-white celluloid are now considered the definitive film record of the Great Migration of the 1920s. The unedited footage will be presented with a live musical score.  


Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons narrates “Relentless,” the fascinating true story about remarkable people tackling an exotic species invasion that nearly destroyed the largest freshwater ecosystem on Earth: the Great Lakes. The silent predator devastated jobs and businesses, threatening the survival of cities, towns and indigenous communities across the region. Detroit premiere.

‘The Riot Report’

When Black neighborhoods in scores of American cities erupted in violence during the summer of 1967 — Detroit notably among them President Lyndon Johnson appointed what became known as the Kerner Commission to answer three questions: What happened? Why did it happen? And what could be done to prevent it from happening again? Michigan premiere.

The Riot Report


In the 1950s, legendary high school basketball coach Lofton Greene led the recently racially integrated River Rouge High School Panthers to a record number of state championships in a league of otherwise segregated schools. Now, almost 70 years later, LaMonta Stone, a former Panther himself, has returned to the struggling industrial town of River Rouge to help the Panthers chase the school’s 15th State Championship.


‘Short films featuring the current Kresge Artist Fellows and the 2024 Kresge Eminent Artist’

Thirteen Detroit filmmakers collaborate with the 2023 Kresge Artist Fellows in Literary and Visual Arts to create 19 dynamic short films exploring the artists’ creative practices, expressions and journeys as artists and humans. The series culminates with a vignette of 2024 Kresge Eminent Artist, Nora Chapa Mendoza. World premiere.

‘Shorts Program #1: The Camera’s Eye’

Documentaries challenge us to consider what the camera sees, what it cannot see, and how the camera’s eye forces us to recognize the limits of our own senses. Unifying this disparate set of films is a commitment on the part of their filmmakers to move the audience outside of our comfort zones and to experiment with the perceptual bounds of documentary film.

‘Shorts Program #2: Life and Actuality’

This program of films reminds us of documentary’s capacity to sketch characters. Here the filmmakers follow their subjects through the continuous process of invention and reinvention, discovery and rediscovery, offering a series of remarkably intimate portraits along the way.

‘Shorts Program #3: Catalysts’

The films in this program set out to see the change in our world, or to change the way we see our world – and in some instances, both descriptions apply. Together, they remind us of the long tradition and important function of documentary film as a catalyst for social and cultural change.

‘Shorts Program #4: The Work We Do’

This shorts collection intertwines the narratives of five distinct stories, each navigating the complexities and challenges of life, work, family and tradition through the prism of the labor of their characters. From a bustling emergency room to the methodic confines of a traditional Japanese confectionery shop, from Iowa to California to New York, these films illuminate the diverse experiences and meanings embedded within the work we do.

‘Starring Jerry As Himself’

The true story of Jerry, an ordinary immigrant dad retired in Florida, who becomes a spy for the Chinese police. As his family documents his story, they discover a darker truth.

‘The Truffle Hunters’

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of old men hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle. They’re guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, but as soon becomes clear, these ageing men may just hold something much more valuable than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life. 

‘Try Harder!’

“Try Harder!” takes us to the alarming reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race and educational opportunity as experienced by five high school students living through it.

‘The World According to Allee Willis’

Songwriter/artist Allee Willis, best known for writing the “Friends” theme song, the Earth Wind & Fire mega-hit “September” and “The Color Purple” musical, began filming her life as a kid in 1950s Detroit and never stopped. She pursued creative expression at all costs while struggling with not fitting in … until she found a path to love.

Allee Willis