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The Detroit Free Press' "Freep Film Festival" highlights stories from Michigan

Mar 18, 2015

The festival's opening night will feature "Graveyard of the Great Lakes," about Michigan shipwrecks.
Credit Flickr user University of Wisconsin Sea Grant/Water Resources / Flickr

The Freep Film Festival begins its four-day run tomorrow.

This will be the festival's second year. It will open with a double feature of films from two of the Detroit Free Press' own videographers and photographers.

The first is Fire Photo 1. It revolves around Bill Eisner who has been the unofficial photographer for the Detroit fire department for over 50 years.

Here's a trailer:

"This documentary takes a look at Bill and his archive and the kind of guy he is, but also a broader look at how fire has shaped the city of Detroit," says the festival's artistic director Kathy Kieliszewski. 

The second film to be featured on opening night is Graveyard of the Great Leaks. which revolves around shipwreck hunter David Trotter, who was recently featured on Stateside.

Kieliszewski calls him "the most prolific shipwreck hunter on the Great Lakes," with his work leading to the discovery of over 100 wrecks.

This year's festival also features a special narrative thriller film. It Follows premiered at Sundance this year and has garnered buzz.

Clawson native David Robert Mitchell shot most of the film in Michigan and he will be in attendance for the film's two screenings. 

Kieliszewski says she aimed to include additional programming associated with the films this year, including Q&A sessions with the director and performances from the subjects featured in the films.

"Every single film has some sort of accompanying program with it, so what we learned from last year was people really stayed for those. People craved that interaction and that extra something special," she says.

The festival also features an all-day workshop this Friday for up and coming filmmakers. It will include master classes, a panel discussion of documentary film making and free screenings of student films. 

Kieliszewski says, "It's an opportunity for new filmmakers and student filmmakers to come and learn about the craft from some of the best in the field."