The 10th Annual Riverside Saginaw Film Festival

Celebrating 10 Years of Showcasing Films of Substance & Quality Throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region

    icon Nov 03, 2016
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‘Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out. – Martin Scorsese

One of the great things about watching any ‘grassroots’ endeavor blossom is the impact carried by the knowledge that the seeds which gave root were planted close to home; and as the Riverside Saginaw Film Festival embarks upon celebrating their 10th Anniversary showcase from November 10-13th, it seems fitting to begin with Scorsese’s insightful observation regarding the process of selection.

Of the several regional film festivals hosted throughout our Great Lakes Bay Region each year, a distinguishing component of the annual Riverside Festival is its shared commitment towards featuring quality films spanning a broad range of topics that all share a common thread of substance.

With the Riverside Saginaw Film Festival celebrating its 10th anniversary, committee chairwoman Irene Hensinger says she is pleasantly surprised the festival continues to have made a place for itself here in the region.

“People look forward to Riverside and attention continues to grow towards it,” she reflects, “and as soon as we finish up the festival people are curious about what we have planned for the next year. Certainly, we’re looking forward to this year’s 10th annual showcase being another strong year for us.”

In discussing the impact that Riverside has resonated among its growing legion of fans, Hensinger attributes it to the nature of the movies showcased.  “I believe the strength of the festival exists in the films themselves that we’ve been able to bring into this region.  People I talk with at major film festivals like Sundance continue to be surprised at two things: first, the quality of films that come to this - by all accounts - small regional festival; and secondly, the fact we have a realistic budget and have managed to live within that budget all these years, largely because this is a very grass roots effort. We started Riverside ten years ago with the idea of seeing how things would go and have kept on keeping on, which is very gratifying.”

This year’s Riverside film festival will feature 30 films along with several guest speakers, which are included in the center-spread ‘pull-out’ supplement contained within this special edition of The Review, and can also be found online at

“We’ve always looked for films with a local, regional, or Michigan focus when we can find them; and all the films we showcase possess substance and quality,” contains Hensginer.  “Last year we featured the film Superior and took the young visiting director to some of our local schools; and these are the kinds of things we’re looking for – films that reach beyond the realm of entertainment value they carry on the screen, but can also make an impact in our broader community.”

“Although we feature a wide range of films, one thing they also share in common is they are all new releases, including many that have not appeared in theaters yet,” continues Irene.  “These are not experimental films that we feature, nor are they the Big Box films either; but they are quality documentaries and independent feature films that deserve serious attention.”

“We always look closely at what other festivals do; and for us, the biggest draw and appeal to our audience seems to center around foreign films and contemporary issue films dealing with topics like the economy, the environment, and the world situation.”

“Subjects can range from feminism to movies that simply exist for fun; but for the most part, these are ‘thinking’ people’s films. And a majority of the films we select have been nominated, or are winners in other film festivals, which is one of the things we look at when making our selections.”

The Riverside Saginaw Film Festival was established in 2007 as part of a grassroots effort to bring interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking contemporary movies to the Saginaw area; with other goals focused upon bringing an economic boost to the central city area, supporting local venues and non-profit groups, and showcasing emerging filmmakers – all of which they have admirably achieved over their 10 year run.

The Festival was also the proud recipient of the 2014 All Area Arts Award from the Saginaw Area Enrichment Commission.  A 4-Day Festival pass is only $40.00 in advance, and $45 during the festival; and tickets to individual shows are also available for only $6.00 and $5.00 for students.

For more information send an email to or phone 989-607-1070.


10th Annual Riverside Saginaw Film Festival Special Event •

A Man Called Ove

This year the 10th Annual Riverside Saginaw Film Festival is kicking off with a special event appealing to film lovers and book lovers alike, as they present a one-time only screening of a lovely film based on a beloved bestselling Swedish novel, A Man Called Ove. at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 10th, at Pit and Balcony Theatre.

When Atria Books Editorial Director Peter Borland was sent the first 50 pages of a novel translated from the Swedish just 3 years ago, he never could have imagined that it would become a national sensation.  Published in hardcover in 2014, the book by Fredrik Backman did well, and, driven by independent bookstores and book clubs throughout America, sales of the paperback published last year took off through the roof. 

A Man Called Ove has been firmly planted on the best seller lists for the past year and over 650,000 copies have been sold in the U.S. with broad appeal in every demographic and long waiting lists at public libraries across the country.

Now, Swedish filmmaker Hannes Holm brings the beloved Ove to life in the 2016 film adaptation.  A touching comedy, A Man Called Ove is the heartwarming tale of a stubborn, short-tempered man with strictly held beliefs, rigid routines and the feeling that everyone around him is an idiot.  His world is shaken up by the arrival of new neighbors leading to an unexpected friendship and a turnaround in the world-weary man's life.

A Man Called Ove is Sweden's official entry for an Academy Award for best foreign language film; and a

6:30 pm reception featuring an assortment of traditional Swedish fare will also be presented. A discussion led by Bill O’Brien of Hoyt Library will be held in the theatre immediately following the film.  Reception and discussion are included with film admission.

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