Freep Film Festival 2018

Thursday, April 12 to Sunday, April 15

FFF Schedule

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The Gateway Bug 7:00 pm

Chinatown 6:00 pm

Minding the Gap 8:30 pm


Bean 11:00 am

Shorts Program 4 1:15 pm

Soufra 4:00 pm

Descent 7:00 pm


Freedom 12:30 pm

Shorts Program 3 3:30 pm

I Like to Hurt People 6:30 pm


Click titles to purchase tickets


7:00 p.m. — The Gateway Bug (2017)
1 hour, 24 minutes. Directed by Johanna B. Kelly
Over 2 billion people on earth eat insects for protein. The Gateway Bug explores how changing our daily eating habits could feed humanity in an uncertain age, one meal at a time. Could snacking on crickets help stave off global warming? This documentary argues that the environmental and nutritional advantages of bugs are numerous – and that they can be pretty tasty, too. Detroit Ento, a sustainable urban protein firm, is featured in the film, as is the first-ever edible bug convention in North America, which takes place in the Motor City. Part of Freep Film Festival’s Food on Film series.



6:00 p.m — Last Days of Chinatown (2017)
1 hour 20 minutes. Directed by Nicole Macdonald. World premiere
Detroit’s Cass Corridor, one of the roughest areas in the city for the past 100 years, is experiencing a complete overhaul, as long-awaited development finally sweeps the area. Long known as a center of drugs and prostitution — and also once home to a thriving Chinese enclave — it’s now peppered with boutique shops, new bars and restaurants, and the just-debuted Little Caesars Arena. This feature from noted Detroit artist Nicole Macdonald mixes a personal, journalistic and historic approach as it looks at who and what remains in the Corridor. We hear how residents survived, and how they sometimes didn’t, as gentrification redefines the space.
Unrated. Profanity, adult situations and themes, including drug use.

8:30 p.mMinding the Gap (2018)
1 hour 40 minutes. Directed by Bing Liu. Michigan premiere
Three young men bond through their love of skateboarding while escaping volatile family lives in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship. Indiewire called it one of the 12 best movies of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, describing it as “a lyrical skateboard ballet when it wants to be and critical inspection of the tumult of family when it absolutely has to be.”
Unrated. Profanity and intense and adult situations.



11:00 a.m. — Bean (2017)
1 hour, 5 minutes. Directed by Emilie Bunnell.
A casual right swipe on dating app Tinder forever changes the lives of two young women. Within weeks of their first date, Lori learns that she’s a kidney donor match for her new girlfriend, Alana, who has been on the transplant list for years. Bean chronicles the couple’s emotional medical journey as they begin an organ donation process that tests the true limits of love and sacrifice.
Unrated. Some adult situations.

1:15 p.m. — Tell Me A Story: Shorts Program 4
1 hour, 23 minutes.
Everyone has a story to tell, as evidenced by this group of shorts that explore interesting histories, complicated characters, and life-changing events that define a person’s place in the world.

  • Likes and Dislikes of Marj: Through innovative use of gorgeously detailed stop-motion animation, we learn the story of Marj, the matriarch of the Bagley clan, as she struggles to find happiness. Directed by Taylor Stanton. 14 minutes.
  • Joe Von Battle: Joe Von Battle was a self-made man who followed a well-trod path from the rural South to the urban North during the Great Migration. His Detroit record shop not only sold the sounds of the black South — blues and gospel — but recorded many of the recent arrivals all around him. Produced and edited by Charlotte Buchen. 8 minutes.
  • Borders Crossed: The immigrant Mohammad Hawle, who finds it hard to visit his home country physically, visits it in virtual reality with the help of his grandson. Directed by Firas Allouch. 6 minutes.
  • Delphi: A Tale of Two Cities: Two lives, two jobs and two cities irrevocably linked by the geography of global economics. Directed by Katie Falkenberg. 8 minutes.
  • JessZilla: At 10 years old, Jesselyn (JessZilla) Silva trains seriously with dreams of becoming a professional fighter. Directed by Emily Sheskin. 7 minutes.
  • One Way: Mojde and Yasser are an Iranian couple who came to Ann Arbor to study at Eastern Michigan and University of Michigan, respectively. In 2015, Mojde went to visit her family in Iran, and because of U.S. visa regulations for Iranian students, she hasn’t been able to return. Directed by Parisa Ghaderi. 21 minutes.
  • Share the Same Madness: Raised Orthodox Catholic and home-schooled from birth, Dennis Hudson has high-functioning autism, lives in his parents’ impoverished home in Detroit alongside 11 of his siblings. At a young age, Dennis found that electronic music allowed him to transcend his isolation and find the community he needed to survive. Directed by Tim Richardson. 19 minutes.

4:00 p.m. — Soufra (2017)
1 hour, 13 minutes. Directed by Thomas A. Morgan. Michigan premiere
Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon – sets out against all odds to launch a successful catering company and then expand it into a food truck business with a diverse team of fellow refugee women. Together, they heal the wounds of war, breaking down barriers with Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and Lebanese women working side by side. It’s a story of hope, grit, passion and the unifying power of food. Directed by Michigan native and Central Michigan University grad Thomas A. Morgan. Part of Freep Film Festival’s Food on Film series.

7:00 p.m. — Descent into the Maelstrom (2017)
1 hour, 50 minutes. Directed by Jonathan Sequeira. North American premiere.
Sydney, Australia. 1974. A group of outsiders form the high energy rock ’n’ roll band Radio Birdman, forever determined to keep compromise from their art. Inspired by Detroit-connected acts like MC5 and the Stooges – and led by Ann Arbor native Deniz Tek – the group was switched off, shut down and booted out of venue after venue while slowly accumulating a cult-like following of disaffected youth. “Descent into the Maelstrom” follows the band from formation to the present, showing what it meant to its fans – and how it changed Australia by inspiring a golden age of indie music. Featuring interviews with all surviving members and crammed with music and rare archival footage and photos, the film doesn’t shy away from the internal conflict that often fueled the band’s performances.


SUNDAY, April 15

12:30 p.m.Freedom for the Wolf (2017)
1 hour, 29 minutes. Directed by Rupert Russell. Michigan premiere.
This strident documentary argues that global democracy is in crisis. Filmed over three years in five countries, “Freedom for the Wolf” is an epic investigation into what the documentary sees as a new regime of illiberal democracy. From the young students of Hong Kong, to a rapper in post-Arab Spring Tunisia and the viral comedians of Bollywood, we discover how people from every corner of the globe are fighting the same struggle – including in Detroit. The Audience Award winner for documentary feature at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, Freedom for the Wolf provides global context for understanding the Trump phenomenon.

3:30 p.m. — From the Streets of Detroit: Shorts Program 3
Detroit’s streets are filled with stories that reflect the dynamic changes and numerous challenges affecting the city and its citizens.

  • Hunger, Hope & Hot Chocolate: Life on Detroit’s East Side… every day before dawn, volunteers make lunch meat sandwiches while a chef prepares batches of warm soup, stew or chili to be served out of three trucks to some of Detroit’s poorest residents. Filmmaking team: Mark Kurlyandchik, John Carlisle, Salwan Georges. 15 minutes.
  • Hallow: Family and friends of Damon Grimes push to transform a vacant field in Detroit into an ATV park as a tribute to Grimes, a 15-year-old African American who died in an ATV crash after being Tased in a chase with a Michigan State Police trooper who has since been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the case. Directed by Ryan Clancy. 17 minutes.
  • Fluid Frontiers: Poems published by Detroit’s Broadside Press take center stage in Emphraim Asili’s latest, the fifth and final one in a series that explores the African diaspora. Shot in Detroit and Windsor, the film captures people reading poetry, unrehearsed, exploring the concepts of resistance and liberation. Directed by Emphraim Asili. 23 minutes.
  • Bill’s Billiards: On Third Street in the Cass Corridor, a group of old-timers have found camaraderie and a family in Detroit’s last pool hall. Directed by Benjamin Friedman. 3 minutes.
  • Dinner with Ms. Chris: East side Detroiter Christina Lumpkin makes dinner for her grandchildren and reflects upon the things for which she is grateful. Directed by Andrea Claire Morningstar. 4 minutes.
  • Painting the Town: Street art is transforming Detroit and creating pockets of vitality in neighborhoods throughout the city. Directed by William Higbie. 17 minutes.
  • Community Patrol: In an inspiring display of collective action, a Detroit minister rallies the community to shut down a drug house. Directed by Andrew James. 13 minutes.

6:30 p.m. — I Like to Hurt People (1985)
This bonkers vintage wrestling doc shot entirely in Detroit was originally conceived as a schlock horror film. Only after embarking on their project did the filmmakers realize it made more sense as a documentary. With touches of the initially planned fictional film joining little-seen footage of prime ‘80s personalities like Andre the Giant, Bobo Brazil and Michigan native Ed (the Sheik) Farhat enthralling audiences at Cobo and carousing around the streets of a bygone Detroit, I Like to Hurt People achieves an absurd synthesis of historical document and meta cultural parody.
Unrated. Lots of wrestling violence.