Origins and Overview of the 8th Annual Made in Michigan Film Festival

    icon Jan 11, 2017
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The strength of Michigan’s creative capacity extends well beyond the invention of the automobile or the musical explosion known as Motown and reaches deep into the world of cinema, which will be gloriously showcased at the 8th Annual Made in Michigan Film Festival happening the weekend of February 3-5th at the state-of-the-art Bronner Performing Arts Center in Frankenmuth.

Over 40 films encompassing the genres of comedy, drama, shorts, documentary, and student films from some of Michigan’s finest film talent will be featured at this exciting fun-filled cinematic showcase that features only Michigan-made films generated from a divergent range of talents ranging from university students to Michigan’s elite filmmakers.

The festival begins on Friday, February 3rd at 6 PM with a blood-curdling exposition of word exploring the HORROR genre, continuing on Saturday, February 4th at 11 am for a fully packed day of 30 unusual Short Films, and concludes on Sunday, February 5th by featuring two award-winning documentaries and another block of short films, with all ticket holders invited to attend the Saturday After-Glow Party.

For the documentary lovers an excellent block of shorts will be showcased at 3 PM on Saturday.  Subjects range from the wolves of Isle Royale to the Flint Water Crisis to Detroit on fire.  Sunday showcases Great Lakes' shipwrecks at 1 PM.  College students creating children's stories with 2nd graders is the final film at 4:25 pm.  This is a must see for all educators.

Entry is only $7 daily and Weekend Passes are available on Friday for only $15 and Saturday for $10, so you can stay for one film or come out for the entire weekend; and patrons are invited to meet filmmakers and other film industry professionals and partake in activities ranging from a Motion Picture Institute educational student workshop, Q&A sessions with filmmakers and the audience, and much more.

According to festival organizers Paul and Laura Weiss, since its inception in 2008 the mission of the festival is to provide a high-quality venue to screen the best films made in the State of Michigan. Additionally, the hope was to inspire student and first-time filmmakers to pursue opportunities within the film industry.  After four years in Lapeer, the festival moved to Frankenmuth in 2013.

Since its inaugural presentation 3,000 people and counting have attended.  “Made-in-Michigan gives people a chance to experience the visual arts made in Michigan,” reflects Laura. “We inspire people to give filmmaking a try. With today’s technology, anyone can make a film; but more importantly, creative people who didn’t have access to filmmaking equipment in the past can make a great film. My 9-year-old niece made an awesome one-minute Claymation film using a stop motion app with her laptop. She made a storyboard first, which is amazing. Some day one of her films might be in the festival.”

“The most rewarding feeling is seeing the excitement of the filmmakers that are accepted into the festival and feeling that our festival may have provided some momentum for them to continue learning about the possibilities within the film industry,” adds Laura. “After every film block the filmmakers answer questions from the audience.  Watching them interact and getting feedback is hard to duplicate in any other way. There is no better feeling when the audience leaves the screening and are glad they attended.  When movie goers express to us their pleasure and insist that we keep this idea moving forward, it encourages us to continue despite the many challenges.”

“Organizing a film festival of this nature is very challenging and time consuming,” concludes Paul.   “We received over 145 film submissions and had to narrow things down to 45 films. Plus, 14 films we are featuring are student films from 9 different colleges and universities, with 11 films we are showcasing submitted from first time filmmakers. Our group of nine programmers watched all of these films and together and we had to decide which films would be accepted into the festival.  Telling filmmakers that we could not accept their films is not pleasant.  Many good films could not fit into our schedule.  These filmmakers put their heart and soul into these films.  We want to accept films, not reject them.  Our hope is that in the future we will be able to add additional venues and expand the hours to reduce the number of films not accepted.”

For a full list of films with trailers you can also visit


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