14th Annual Hells Half Mile Film & Music Festival Overview

Posted In: Culture, ,   From Issue 885   By: Robert E Martin

18th September, 2019     0


The 14th year of independent film and music returns with Bay City’s annual Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, which thanks to the focused vision of its organizers has successfully screened a broad array of cutting-edge independent films and showcased a divergent collection of innovative musicians since its inception.

This year’s festival will run from September 26 - 29th and will feature a total of 23 feature films, 5 ‘Shorts’ programs with 45 short films, and a healthy sampling of engaging music and workshops.

According to festival director and co-founder Alan LaFave, “There are some great films this year with some recognizable faces, but they’re all great independent films. Our opening night film, Safe Spaces, stars Justin Long (“Live Free or Die Hard”), Fran Drescher (The Nanny) and Richard Schiff (The West Wing”), as well as Michael Godere (“The Affair”) who will be attending the festival. There’s also “Teen Spirit” with Elle Fanning, and Sword of Trust with Marc Maron.

LaFave says, “The festival is at a turning point. This should be the year that those who have attended before will likely spend the entire weekend in Downtown Bay City, and those who have never attended will finally see what they’ve been missing.”

“A lot of people love movies and spend hours digging through Netflix or Amazon searching for something fresh or inspiring, but they have never attended a film festival. Film festivals are all about discovery and community. You discover great independent film and get to share the experience with others as well as a lot of the directors, actors, producers and writers who actually make the films. It’s an experience like no other. We invite everyone to come out and join in the experience.”

LaFave mentioned that the festival is continuing its support of homegrown, Michigan-made films with an entire program of all Michigan shorts, plus two Michigan produced narrative feature films. Sexual Animals will have its world premiere at HHM. Shot in West Michigan, the film is a Rom-Com that explores “what’s next” for a couple about to graduate college who decide to take a break from each other before deciding to commit to a life together.

My Soul To Keep is a slick and scary film with an original take on the haunted house genre. A mix of “Home Alone” and “Stranger Things” with a plot that will leave you guessing until the very end.

“And then of course, we have quirky comedies, emotional dramas and some really great thrillers,” continues LaFave. “And short films!!!!! So many amazing short films grouped into five separate programs. We’ll have over 50 filmmakers present at the festival available for questions about their films.”

“Last but not least, we wish to thank Jolt Credit Union for being our Presenting Sponsor this year.”

Here are some other highlights of this year’s festival.


Distribution is one of the most mysterious and misunderstood topics for independent creators. Join us as we break down the current landscape of distribution for independent film and TV, including the economics of different avenues to take, the right questions to ask potential partners, and what needs to be done from pre-production through post-production to set yourself up for successful distribution.

Christina Raia is a New York City-based Writer/Director and the Founder of Congested Cat Productions. Her work, consisting of over a dozen short films, a web series, and two feature films, has screened at film festivals around the world. Through a desire to support other filmmakers, she works for Seed & Spark as the Head of Education, teaching and empowering creators to build their audience and crowdfund their work. This presentation will be taking place at Delta College Planetarium at 4:30 PM on Friday, September 27th.


The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office continues to support our unique filmmaker crowdfunding efforts at our 5th annual Crowdfunding Rally. This event is an opportunity to make the move from filmgoer to film contributor by supporting and contributing to the making of the next great independent films. Hear the live pitch, follow the campaign online, and then choose the project(s) you feel deserve your support. Our audience can help “greenlight” a film project with any size contribution, from $10 to as many digits as they want! This takes place during our Saturday Reception, which will be held on September 29th at The Davidson Building at 5:30 PM.


For ticket information, passes, and detailed film schedules & locations of all events please visit www.hellshalfmile.com. 

All Access Passes • $65 until Sept. 22nd, includes access to all films, Friday and Saturday music at
The Warehouse, Opening Night Reception, Friday Filmmaker Reception, and the Saturday Festival
Happy Hour/Crowdfunding Rally. All Access Pass cost increases to $75 on Sept.23rd.

Film Passes • $40 until Sept. 16th, includes access to all films at all locations. Film Pass cost increases to $50 on Sept. 17th.

Individual Film Tickets • $7; Opening Night Film $10; Opening Night Reception, Film & Music $15.

Friday Music • $10 (all ages). Located at The Warehouse, 311 Third St. Doors open at 9:30 PM.

Saturday Music • $15 (all ages). Located at The Warehouse, 311 Third St. Doors open at 8:30 PM.

Film venues include the State Theatre (913 Washington Ave.), Delta College Planetarium (100 Center Ave.) and the Historical Museum of Bay County (321 Washington Ave.). Visit www. hellshalfmile.com for complete info and updates.




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