Free events at Freep Film Festival 

Free events designed for the local filmmaking community

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

Thought tickets are free, reservations are necessary.

4 p.m. Fri., April 12, Michigan Science Center (Toyota Engineering)

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 14 shorts includes a wide variety of filmmaking approaches — and an even wider range of topics, with collegiate filmmakers exploring everything from deforestation to beauty standards to the healing power of dance. Participating schools include Calvin University, Michigan State University, Oakland University, University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Windsor and Wayne State University.

11 a.m. Sat., April 13, Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Free. 


Directors of two in-progress documentaries will be on hand to show off short samples of their work at this year’s Works-in-Progress event. At this free event, the filmmakers will talk about their films while showing clips of the in-process docs. They will then receive feedback from a panel of documentary filmmakers and producers.  

 The participating films:

  • “Armor” explores Detroit’s history of military manufacturing and its unintended consequences. The film is directed by Ted Houser. 
  • “Introducing Marcus Belgrave” shares the story of legendary trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and his extraordinary legacy. The film is directed by Timashion Jones.
Marcus Belgrave documentary

2 p.m. Sat., April 13, Two Birds, 8130 Kercheval Ave., Detroit 

Filmmaking Collectives: A Collaborative Approach 

Filmmaking is still often spoken of in auteurist terms – as the effort and vision of an individual director. And yet, the effort required to make a film usually requires many people. What does it mean to embrace the strengths of collectivity, and what different models exist for doing so? This event will feature Lisa Marie Malloy and Ray Whitaker of the Little Egypt Collective, whose film “On the Battlefield” is part of this year’s short film selection; Kevin Steen, co-founder of Rathaus, a production company with offices in Detroit and Brooklyn; and Paige Wood, filmmaker and longtime collaborator of Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA). 

The panel will be followed by a mixer with complimentary drinks and snacks.

Little Egypt Collective

Noon Sun., April 14, Ghost Light, 2314 Caniff St., Hamtramck 

MENASA Filmmakers Panel  

MENASA is a term for those from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and is used to draw lines of solidarity not only between people born in those regions, but also those with shared cultural backgrounds living elsewhere. In a world increasingly hostile to difference — particularly one in which the persecution of Muslims and Arabs ranges from dehumanization to outright genocide — what does it mean to make art as part of a diaspora? Razi Jafri, curator of Freep’s AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) film series and producer of this year’s Opening Night film Rouge will lead a panel discussion with four filmmakers whose work features in this year’s festival, and who each straddle identities as diasporic American filmmakers: Shiraz Ahmed (The Safety Net), Jude Chehab (Q), Ash Goh Hua (The Feeling of Being Close To You) and Hamoody Jaafar (Rouge).  

The panel will be followed by a mixer with complimentary drinks and snacks. 

The festival is also hosting free networking and socializing events at two cool Detroit bars. More info here.