Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival • Introduction & Overview

13th Annual Festival Happening September 27-30

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, ,   From Issue 867   By: Robert E Martin

05th September, 2018     0

2018 represents the ‘Lucky 13’ mark for 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 27 - 30th and will feature a total of 24 feature films, 5 ‘Shorts’ programs with 37 short films, and a healthy sampling of engaging music and workshops.

According to festival director and co-founder Alan LaFave, “We’re continuing our mission to support great Michigan filmmaking. The introduction of our Michigan Matinee program last year set us on a path of discovery. This year we’ve grown the program and will be featuring two full shorts programs plus the narrative feature film “Hunting Lands” (shot in Gaylord, Grayling and Atlanta, MI) and the documentary feature “More Art Upstairs”, about the 3 week art extravaganza in Grand Rapids known as Art Prize.”

“Speaking of Grand Rapids and Michigan filmmakers, we’re featuring “First Reformed”, the latest film by Grand Rapids native and Hollywood legend, Paul Schrader,” adds LaFave.  “Schrader is best known as the writer of “Raging Bull” and Taxi Driver” and directing films like “American Gigolo” and ‘Cat People”.First Reformed” is a drama/thriller starring Ethan Hawke as a priest of a small congregation in upstate New York grappling with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.”

“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 as well as 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.”

“Many of our films focus on unusual protagonists, or at least unusually seen in mainstream films. “Edie” features an 83-year old who refuses to believe life’s adventures are done at her age. “A Moment in the Reeds” is a Finnish LGBTQ film about an unexpected connection between a college student and a Syrian refugee. “Tribal Justice” is a documentary about two strong Native American female judges focused on restorative justice in their tribes. These are just a few of the incredible stories being told at Hell’s Half Mile this year.”

“And then of course, we have quirky comedies, emotional dramas and some really great thrillers. 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.”

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

SEED AND SPARK WORKSHOP • “The Art of the Pitch”

Before we get to tell our stories, we have to learn how to tell the story about our stories. Knowing how to convey the specifics about your upcoming project in a dynamic, succinct way can land you not only investors, but collaborators, audience members, and more.

In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn: 

  • What makes a good pitch
  • How to tailor your pitch to different audiences
  • Why a little research can go a long way
  • Why practice is perfect 

Most importantly, this workshop will give you a chance to practice refining your own pitch in a safe, encouraging environment. Who should attend this workshop? Anyone who has a great story to tell to potential collaborators, investors, and audience members (i.e. EVERYONE who has a movie to make.)

The Art of the Pitch Workshop will be conducted by Gerry Maravilla. Gerry is an LA-based filmmaker and the Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark. Gerry has made several award-winning shorts, including Cross, which he funded on Seed&Spark and went on to screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and many more. His work has been featured in press outlets such as Business Insider, Pitchfork, Remezcla and more. Find Gerry on social media for the real scoop: @gerrymaravilla

This invaluable workshop will be held at the Delta College Planetarium at 4 PM on Friday, September 28th.


The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office continues to support our unique filmmaker crowdfunding efforts at our 4th 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 Studio 23 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. 16th, 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.17th.

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 (Funny Story) - $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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