About this program

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 a dozen 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.


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

Available virtually 

The Real Fresh lineup

‘Becoming Mighty’

“Becoming Mighty” follows local rapper and musician, Esa Mighty, through his journey of discovering and pursuing music. Esa uses his social media platform and his music to spread awareness of injustices against the Arab and Muslim communities and share a message of self-confidence and hard work. 

Produced by Cortney Markham, Lillian Settles, Aaron Vensko and Christina Townsend (University of Michigan-Dearborn)

‘Big Break’

“Big Break” captures the dedication and challenges of a Windsor band trying to navigate and ultimately make it in the music industry. The documentary follows Abide by the Few in the weeks leading up to their big break.

Directed by Jade Lipczynski (University of Windsor)

‘Black Coffee’

A film about what makes us who we become. An invitation to find a perspective.

Directed by Frodet Elia (Wayne State University)

‘Canto de Dios’

Directed by Ricky Gottschalk (Michigan State University)


This film’s essayist loves the art of stop-motion, particularly Claymation, but is afraid it is going to disappear with the tide of new technology and increasingly automated processes. Even as new technology permeates daily life, obsoletion could be more of a fear than a prevailing reality.

Directed by Ridaa Khan (Wayne State University)


Filmmaker Kyla McNeill explores the skateboarding community through her lens and the perspectives of her fellow skateboarders. The film delves into the friendships made along the way and the impact that a sport can have on so many people.

Directed by Kyla McNeill (Oakland University)

‘Creating Space’

“Creating Spaces” investigates the director’s journey with dance, showcasing both the internal and external challenges of the competitive dance scene. Through self-acceptance and collaborating with friends, her love for dance grew beyond a hunt for trophies and became a way of life.

Directed by Stella Lansill (University of Michigan)

‘Fighting for Fouettés’

An inspiring and talented young dancer uses her artistry to fight various rare diseases and chronic illnesses. Despite these challenges, she continually seeks joy through the power of dance.

Directed by Claire Van Der Vliet (Calvin University)

‘Full Invasion’

Kate, like millions of Ukrainians, went through a full-scale invasion and war in her home. A story of loss and hope.

Directed by Liza Skrypak (Calvin University)


“Recluse” examines what it means to truly be alone, despite the ever-connected world we live in. People are now more connected than ever, but at the expense of their emotions.

Directed by Tayion Williams (Oakland University)


“Revelation” explores the challenges that come with the desire for transparency and authenticity within ourselves and in our interactions with others. Through this exploration, the short essay film encourages reflection on identity, communication and the pursuit of inner peace.

Directed by Sandy Ali (Wayne State University)


A Korean woman who recently moved to the United States finds her White “shadowing” —learning English by imitating a native English speaker — strange. She tries to understand the history and power dynamics around the shadowing practice.

Directed by Okyoung Noh (University of Michigan)

‘Smile Lines’

“Smile Lines” examines the beauty of aging, discussing beauty culture, social media and the fear of getting older in contemporary society — aiming to inspire a positive shift in the viewer’s mindset about the aging process.

Directed by Faith Cabalum and Subah Bhatia (Michigan State University)

‘Walking on the Moon’

A young man is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. His battle rages until he is faced with his destiny — or what seems to be left of it.

Directed by Frank Parkinson (University of Michigan)