About this event

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, with collegiate filmmakers exploring everything from Michigan surfing to pandemic-era anxiety to the liberating joys of dance. Participating schools include Calvin University, Michigan State University, Oakland University, University of Michigan, University of Windsor and Wayne State University. Total running time: Approx. 1 hour, 32 minutes.

AFTER THE FILMS: Steve Byrne, Freep Film Festival festival cofounder and 2023 shorts programmer, talks with several of the student filmmakers.

The lineup

‘The Art of Adaptation’

A previously anti-sports person with cerebral palsy confronts his body image issues when he challenges himself to participate in wheelchair basketball and tennis. Directed by Kieran Michael. (University of Michigan)

‘Reaching Out’

This film is a stark, contemplative piece on how we interact with the world around us, as well as the ways in which the world interacts with us. Directed by Vincent Renard. (Wayne State University)

‘From Napoli, With Love’

Luca aims to create an international film about Neapolitan and Windsor pizza – just as a global pandemic hits. Luca and his twin sister, Gemma, try to save the film by talking with the best Neapolitan cuisine expert they know: their Nonna. Directed by Luca Cunial. (University of Windsor)


An experimental film that explores young adults’ points of view on what it feels like trying to conform to masculine and feminine norms in society. Directed by Kiera Brough. (Oakland University)

‘The West Church’

During an archaeological dig of 2,000-year-old ruins in the Jordanian town of Umm el-Jimal, local experts, American archaeologists and university students work to secure the community’s future by discovering its past. Directed by Abi VanDoorne and Andrew Deters. (Calvin University)


In this heartwarming and playful celebration of outsider communities and individuality, we meet some of the costumed attendees at Youmacon, the annual convention held in downtown Detroit that’s dedicated to cosplay and Japanese popular culture. See how individuals from diverse backgrounds find a sense of belonging through their shared passion for embodying their favorite characters. Directed by Jeremy Weber. (Michigan State University)

‘Overwhelmingly Overwhelmed’

Artist, actress, and filmmaker Linda Miller explores her isolation, anxiety and the world’s expectations. She reflects on the movement of time, and takes inspiration from her home, water and some neighborhood cats. Directed by Linda Miller. (Wayne State University)

‘Finding My Groove’

Follow the journey of a young woman who rediscovers her passion for dance and life, as she forms emotional connections within the Latin dance community. Directed by Leah Greenspan. (University of Michigan)

‘One Team One Family’

Elizabeth finds a safe and accepting community amongst roller skaters in Michigan. Welcoming of women and LGBTQ+ community, roller derby and feminist quad skating clubs carve out spaces for belonging, self-expression and the challenging of societal norms. Directed by Audra Skuodaité. (Michigan State University)

‘Dear Anne’

Channeling grief through the art of cinema, “Dear Anne” is an essay film, an open letter written to a friend who has passed away, with visuals composed entirely of archival footage from various points in film history. The works of Len Lye, Jean Epstein, Georges Melies, Nevil Maskelyne, Chuck Jones and many others are re-shaped and given new context in order to express difficult emotions. Directed by Ben Garza. (Wayne State University)

‘The Search’

“The Search” follows Great Lakes surfer Hunter Lohman on his journey to chase waves and his idea of true happiness. With the mystery and inconsistency that comes with lake surfing, Hunter will persevere through unpredictability to find solidarity and serenity. Directed by Daniel Bremmer. (Calvin University)

‘To the Soul’

This story reveals the heart of an expressive percussionist, Tristan Wriley. Here he reflects on what music means to him, the ins and outs of improving his craft, the people who’ve inspired his pursuit of performing percussion instruments, and the future he envisions with this passion. Directed by Jaleah Taylor. (University of Windsor)

‘Say Yes to the Mess’

Take a look into the story of Petals and Bubbles Sandcastle, artists and co-founders of the only queer-owned venue for marginalized groups in Ann Arbor. Directed by Hannah Hur. (University of Michigan)


3:30 p.m. Fri., April 28, Michigan Science Center (Planetarium)