Film Festival returns to Flint this Fall

By Steve Mathie
Staff Writer

FLINT, Mich. - An annual celebration dedicated to the art of independent filmmaking returns to Flint in October for a two day stint. The 5th Annual Flint Film Festival will take place at Mott Regional Technology Center on October 17th and 18th.

The Friday-Saturday event will provide all kinds of independent films - from documentaries to animations, in an attempt to give filmmakers more exposure and showcase different perspectives and artistic ideas. According to Leigh LaForest, the Flint Film Festival’s Director of Marketing & Fund Development, over 200 film submissions have come in from around the globe.

“I have a deep admiration for these filmmakers, and the hard earned dollar is well deserved,” says LaForest. “We are working closely with businesses and colleges who are supporting us.”

Flint, not necessarily known for its history of film, is a small but dedicated community when it comes to film and its ability to boost the economy and create more jobs. Michigan has become a hotbed for filming locations as a result of its 40-42% tax credit for productions. Over 100 projects are either in production or waiting approval from the state, an absolutely stunning figure.

LaForest and other members of the festival have recently been witness to the use of some of Michigan’s unique filming locations. Drew Barrymore’s Whip It!, a comedy/drama starring Barrymore, Ellen Page (Juno) and Juliette Lewis (Catch and Release) is currently in production and being shot in cities like Saline and Ypsilanti.

“Not in a million years did I think they would be filming around here,” says LaForest. “We saw the renovation of buildings and saw Drew eating at one of the local restaurants. She is very gracious to everyone on the set. I wasn’t sure how much notoriety we had, but all this seems to be putting Michigan on the map, and our festival is going to be big part of it.”

Clint Eastwood is also filming his Warner Bros. production Gran Torino in Highland Park and Warren. The film is set to be released this winter and stars Eastwood himself and Cory Hardrict. Juno co-star Michael Cera is also part of a movie that is using numerous filming locations in Michigan.

Youth in Revolt, a comedy from Dimension Films, is shooting in at least six different cities within the state.

The Flint Film Festival works closely with both the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College. LaForest added that all of the kids coming back to college are encouraged to attend the film festival.

“We will be offering student discounts, and anyone and everyone is welcome to attend this wonderful event. We are very excited and can’t wait to welcome all of the festival goers who want to view good films.”

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