The new indie film Superior is set in the summer of 1969, as two lifelong friends grab their bicycles and set out on a 1,300-mile journey around Lake Superior.


This summer marks the 10th anniversary of a very special summer camp program at Oakland University in Rochester.

It’s the annual film camp for young people on the autism spectrum. Campers from ages 10 to 20 write, direct, edit and star in a short film. It’s followed by a red carpet premiere for attendees and their families in October.

With VHS camera in hand, Michigan native Jerry White Jr. and friends recorded over 400 hours of experimental video art and comedy sketches in a Detroit-area public access TV show they called 30 Minutes of Madness.

A scene from Roger Corman's 1961 comedy horror "Creature from the Haunted Sea"
flickr user poppet with a camera /

This year’s Traverse City Film Festival will include a very special moment.

Legendary producer, director, actor, and screenwriter Roger Corman will receive the Michigan Filmmaker Award.

Led by Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver, the Hallelujah Singers are a group of men and women singing together in an all-star community choir.
Andrew Sacks

The documentary film Let's Have Some Church Detroit Style was the Audience Choice winner at the second annual Freep Film Festival earlier this year.

And on June 20, it’s coming to Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater.

dream hampton

On October 23, 2011 a 19-year-old Detroiter named Shelly Hilliard was murdered and dismembered.

It happened just three days after she cooperated with suburban police, according to a civil suit filed by her family against the Madison Heights Police Department.

1968 was a very tense and pivotal year in Detroit's history. The city was putting itself back together again after the riots in July of '67.

That was the year 38-year-old priest Thomas Gumbleton became a Catholic bishop, and set about working to unite black and white parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Today, after a lifetime of fighting for peace, justice and equality, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is 85. And his life is now a film. American Prophet written, produced and directed by his parishioner Jasmine Rivera.

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

The new film 1971 tells the story of the eight members who made up the self-titled Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. The group stole more than 1,000 classified documents from the FBI in order to expose some of the government agency's unconstitutional and illegal actions.

The film marks the first time these eight citizens are telling their story. Among them is West Michigan native Bonnie Raines and her husband John Raines.

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:

Courtesy of Toko Shiiki

This week marks the four year anniversary of the magnitude nine earthquake that hit the coast of Japan and triggered a tsunami, leaving well over 15,000 people dead. The tsunami also caused the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

close up of an academy award statue
Flickr user Davidlohr Bueso / Flickr

The 87th Academy Awards happens Sunday.

Many would consider an Oscar win to be the pinnacle of success for an actor.

But what of the "Oscar curse?" Does winning that little gold man bring bad luck?

Strategy professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan Michael Jensen says maybe.

portrait of Phoebe Gloeckner
Stamps School of Art and Design / Stamps School of Art and Design website

This year's Sundance Film Festival has extra-special meaning for a University of Michigan professor.

Phoebe Gloeckner is a professor at the Stamps School of Art and Design. Her 2002 graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been made into a feature film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Kristen Wiig that will premiere this weekend at Sundance.

People will be watching their old home movies, all over the world, on "Home Movie Day." The big event happens Saturday, October 18th. Organizers call it "an annual, worldwide celebration of amateur films."

Screen shot from a "One Day" film.

On Saturday, hundreds of folks with cameras in hand will descend upon Detroit.

Their mission is to document stories that most affect the future of the city. The stories they capture will become part of a TV series on the future of the American city.

It's called “One Day in Detroit: Your Day, Your City, Your Future.”

Detroit is one of 11 cities across America to be a part of this "One Day" event.

The co-founder and executive producer of One Day on Earth, Brandon Litman, joined us today. And we also welcomed Stephen McGee, the local producer of “One Day in Detroit.”

*Listen to the audio above.


Ever since a student at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School got his first 8mm camera for his 17th birthday, he has searched for good stories to tell.

And tell them he does. That Ann Arbor high school kid was Ken Burns. And since getting that first camera in 1970, Ken has turned his camera and his storyteller's eye to subjects like World War II, the Civil War, the Brooklyn Bridge, baseball, jazz, the West, the Brooklyn Five, and so much more.

Tonight on PBS, Ken Burns brings us his newest story. It's called "The Address."

The film follows the students at a tiny school in Vermont where students are challenged each year to learn and recite Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

As he follows these boys, Ken uncovers many powerful individual stories and, at the same time, brings us a much-needed reminder of the power of Abraham Lincoln's words.

Ken Burns joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

The average gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. has steadily been improving, and greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time low. The Environmental Protection Agency also recently set new emissions standards, scheduled to be phased in between 2017 and 2025, that will reduce the amount of sulfur found in gasoline.

But is the slow and steady climb in fuel economy and emissions enough? On today’s show, we ask if the Obama administration's 2016 and 2025 fuel efficiency goals setting the bar too low?

Then, a new documentary film brings us the story of the Great Lakes as seen through its ice.

And, last month, Gov. Snyder confirmed a financial emergency existed in Royal Oak Township. Can other communities learn from Royal Oak’s situation?

Also, the Share Art Project is a collaborative effort among artists at the Buckham Gallery, students and the Genesee Valley Regional Center. We spoke to a Buckham board member about the program and an upcoming exhibit.

First on the show, there have been two big developments this week in the high-stakes showdown over Detroit's pensioners, its art treasures and creditors, who hope bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes will pressure the city to put those art treasures on the table.

There's a lot to try to sort out. So, as we do each Thursday, we spoke to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.


Those of us who live in Michigan grow up with an ingrained awareness of the Great Lakes. We drink their water, sail and swim in them, build homes and cottages on their shorelines, and live with the weather they help produce.

The Great Lakes are an economic power-player. They contribute one trillion dollars to America's gross national product. And let's not overlook that $4 billion Great Lakes fishing industry.

A new documentary film brings us a unique look at the Great Lakes. PROJECT: ICE explores the crucial role that ice has played and continues to play in shaping and maintaining Michigan's most important resource.

The executive producer and director of PROJECT: ICE, Bill Kleinert, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

*Support for Arts and culture coverage on Stateside comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kate Wells

I like movies. You like movies.

So let’s get together, watch some new documentaries about Detroit, and then talk with the people who actually have the power to fix some of the stuff that’s wrong in this city.

That’s the idea behind the first-ever Detroit Free Press Film Fest, which kicked off last week with a line stretched for blocks around the Fillmore Theater.

Doug Kline / Flickr

Attention “Breaking Bad” fans (read: almost everyone): Bryan Cranston’s latest role has a Michigan twist. 

Cranston, the 57-year-old star of “Breaking Bad” and of course, “Malcolm in the Middle,” signed on for the lead role in the new movie, “Holland, Michigan.”

Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris is expected to direct the film, a thriller centered on a family from – you guessed it – Holland.

Renewable resources, such as wind and solar, are likely to supply 10% of Michigan electricity by 2015, as state law mandates. On today’s program, we looked at a recent report that says we could be doing more, boosting the number to 30% by 2035.

Then, the losing streak of Medora, Indiana's high school basketball team compelled two Michigan filmmakers to move there, and to tell the story of this small industrial town and the people who live there.

And, federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to slash its public pension and healthcare benefits. What will this mean for Detroit retirees?

First on the show, it was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.


It began with a New York Times feature story about a struggling boys' high school basketball team in a tiny town in southern Indiana.

The story of the 0-22 Medora Hornets so gripped a pair of Ann Arbor filmmakers that they picked up and moved to struggling, hardscrabble Medora, Indiana for a full year to follow the team as it fought for just one win.

In doing so, Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn discovered layers and layers of compelling stories, which they have packed into a powerful documentary.

"Medora," which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, is now being screened all around Michigan.

There will be a live screening tomorrow night in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater. Additional screenings will be held in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (see listings here).

Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn joined us today (listen to the interview above).

Watch a trailer for the film below, and here's a link to their website.

MEDORA OFFICIAL TRAILER from beachside on Vimeo.

On the show today, a surprising new study shows binge drinking is up among high school students, and that's not all. It's a rising problem across the Midwest.

 Then, a very personal story from a filmmaker who overcame being a bully, and how her mission to educate kids and parents resulted in a powerful film. And, we took a look at Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger's visit to Detroit and what he learned while there. 

First on the show, As Detroit's troubles and "dirty laundry" have been aired out on a world-wide stage, there has been plenty of finger-pointing and judging of the city's leaders, employees, retirees and citizens.

But a new analysis from Michigan State University suggests we might want to hold up on judging Detroit and take a look at our own cities and towns.

That MSU report finds cities all around Michigan face the very same mountain of "legacy" debt that toppled Detroit.

Study co-author Eric Scorsone joined us today.


As social media has embedded itself into our lives, so too has the national conversation about bullying.

Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media have given bullies boundless opportunities to torture their victims. What used to be something that happened in school halls and classrooms now finds its way into every corner of the lives of our young people.

One of the voices that has joined this conversation about bullying is that of a Michigan filmmaker. Her newest film, shot in Oakland County, is called "The Bully Chronicles."

It brings us the story of teen bullying through the eyes of the bully, and she recently turned to the Huffington Post, where she wrote to the teens accused of bullying a 12-year-old Florida girl to the point where she committed suicide by jumping off a tower.

Her post was headlined "From One Bully To Another: An Open Letter to Rebecca Sedwick's Bullies."

Amy Weber joined us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today's show, we took a look at key election results from around the state, from marijuana to gay rights. How did you vote?  And what's the take away from Election 2013?

Then, we spoke with Michigan singer-songwriter Stewart Franke as he takes us inside his battle with leukemia.

And, we talked Michigan beer. A new film looks at the craft beer scene in our state.

First on the show, it has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

There's an intriguing movie premiere happening Thursday night at the Fillmore Theatre on Woodward in downtown Detroit.

"The Michigan Beer Film" will be screened along with samples of some of the Michigan brews featured in the film.

We're always happy to talk about Michigan beer here on Stateside, so we welcomed the producer and director of "The Michigan Beer Film", Kevin Romeo. He joined us today from Kalamazoo. 

Listen to the full interview about.

JD Hancock Photos

The "Caped Crusader" and the "Man of Steel" are getting a handout from Michigan.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press reports Warner Brothers will get millions in tax incentives to shoot the movie in the state.

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has been approved for the state’s film incentives, the Michigan Film Office announced today.


From growing up in Zeeland on Michigan's West Side to cooking for scientists at the South Pole, Keith Reimink has led a life that is, to say the least, fascinating.

Keith's job as a cook led him to spend a year at an Antarctic research center. He turned that experience into a documentary called "No Horizon Anymore."

Keith Reimink joined us today to talk about the experience.

Listen to the full interview above.

Boston Public Library / Flickr

Sadly, posting a photo or video from your smartphone onto Facebook or Twitter seems to have supplanted the good old postcard.

But there is a rich history to the American Picture Postcard and it centers on Detroit.

The "City That Put the World on Wheels" is also the city that turned out millions and millions of American postcards.

John Collier spent three decades as a photojournalist for the Detroit Free Press.

He is also a filmmaker who has turned his love of postcards into a documentary that’s called “My Postcard Collection: The Detroit Publishing Story: A History of the American Picture Postcard.”

John Collier joined us today in the studio.

For more information, go to

Listen to the full interview above.


The show will go on tonight in South Haven.

It looked for a while this morning that the start of the 15th annual Waterfront Film Festival might be delayed. Last night’s wind storm knocked out power to more than 95% of South Haven.

Patrick Revere is with the film festival. He says things looked “dicey” this morning, but they have since made arrangements to have the backup power they need to kick off the festival tonight.

“We’ll be able to do everything that we were planning on doing for our opening night party tonight at South Beach,” says Revere.

Suffering loss and going through grief is a part of the human experience. There's not one of us who will skate through life without having to cope with losing someone close to us.

But sometimes that loss is sudden and horrifying. How can someone possibly climb back out of that pit of grief?

That's the question addressed in a new documentary called "Transforming Loss." In it, we meet six Michigan families who have managed to triumph, transform, and grow, despite indescribable heartbreak. And they have lessons for each of us.

The filmmaker and licensed psychotherapist Judith Burdick joined us in the studio.

Also in the studio was Elizabeth Guz, one of the people who shared her story of loss and transformation, a story that began when her teenage son committed suicide. Today she volunteers for the Heinz Prechter Bipolar Research Project at the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Listen to the full interview above.