Detroit Independent Film 6 Day Festival and Awards

Detroit Independent Film 6 Day Festival and Awards

March 2nd through Sunday, March 7th, 2010

alt text“The 8th Samurai”, a behind-the-scenes retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai
masterpiece “The Seventh Samurai”.

Celebrating Michigan’s finest, the 1st Annual Detroit Independent Film Festival (DIFF) presents its line-up for 2010.

The first year festival includes over 80 films including the U.S. Premiere of George A. Romero’s newest Survival of the Dead, a special guest appearance by Lloyd Kaufman, and The Michigan Premiere of the festival hits of Mango Tango and Is It Just Me ? With a vast selection of films representing 11 countries, the DIFF is also hosting the 1st Annual Michigan Film Awards. An award ceremony that is going to honor the very best Michigan shorts, features, and performances that came out of 2009.

THE DIFF is proud of the stellar line-up that includes shorts, features, documentaries, and more. The Festival, whose motto this year is ‘Filmmakers First’ begins Tuesday, March 2nd and continues through Sunday, March 7th, 2010.

“Our first year festival is a triumph,” comments DIFF Festival Programming Director Nathan Faustyn. “We excluded entry fees for the filmmakers and we were very surprised in the amount of high quality films that were selected in our festival and the media coverage, both local and national, that we have already received”.

DIFF 2010 will kick off at the new Burton Theatre featuring Michigan’s very own Mike Manasseri’s “Babysitter Wanted”. On Wednesday, which we have coined “Troma Night”, we will have a full evening dedicated to screening audacious, uncompromising, and truly independent films, including a screening of “Paultrygeist: Night of The Chicken Dead” with a special guest appearance by Troma CEO/filmmaker himself Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger & Class of Nuke Em High). Kaufman will host a Q&A immediately following the screening.

Opening “Troma Night” is the Detroit Premiere of the Michigan Film Award Best Feature Nominee, “The Stevie Wonder Show”, a satirical look at the power of reality TV and the fine line it creates between fame and infamy. The closing film of “Troma Night” includes the World Premiere of Thomas Video’s locally produced feature “You Can’t Rent Here Anymore”, which is described as a rude “Clerks”-like black comedy that turns into a horror film.

Thursday Night opens with a 2 for 1 Feature Block, including the U.S. Premiere of the acclaimed Canadian documentary “Eddies”. “Eddies” is a documentary that goes behind-the-scenes of this amateur Canadian beer commercial competition, which is now in its 16th year and going strong. This comedic character study follows six groups of producers on their quest to create a television commercial that will appeal not only to Big Rock but to their select panel of judges.

“Eddies” will be screened with the Best Feature nominated “Street Boss”, which is based on the true story of how the FBI brought down one of Detroit’s most notorious mobsters, Tony Jack.

Also on Thursday’s line-up includes the Michigan Premiere of “The Woman from Sarajevo”, directed by Israeli filmmaker Ella Alterman who will be in attendance to discuss her film. The 65 minute film (in Serbian, English and Hebrew, with English Subtitles) is a story about Zineba Haraga’s Serbian family, who hid a Jewish family during WWII and saved its members from certain death.

Later, Alterman became the first Muslim woman to be honored by Israel as “Righteous Among Nations”, which is a special recognition given to non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The closing night line-up includes a program of domestic and international short films screening at 10:00 p.m.

Friday Night’s line-up includes two grand premieres. Including the U.S. Premiere of George A. Romero’s “Survival of the Dead”, the Sixth film from “The Dead Zombie” series, which is about local residents simultaneously fighting a zombie epidemic off the cost of North America. Another Friday headliner is the Michigan Premiere of “Is It Just Me?” , a gay romantic comedy about a single gay man looking for love, without much success.

The Detroit Independent Film Festival will be hosting the 1st Annual Michigan Film Awards on Saturday March 6th, 2010. There will be an all day screening of the nominated shorts at the Deroy Auditorium on the campus of Wayne State University. “We received well over 125 films in competition; these are the very best short films that were produced out of the state” says DIFF programmer Nathan Faustyn. The screenings will begin at 10:30 am, and will end with an Award ceremony at 7:30 p.m. There are 15 categories including Best Michigan Feature, Director, Best Short, as well as technical and acting categories.

The Michigan Film Awards recognizes and celebrates important independent films that were produced in the state of Michigan in 2009. It represents the forefront of rising independent voices in the great state of Michigan. The Michigan Film Awards honors new and cutting-edge Michigan voices of film. Partnering with notable film industry companies, film educators, industry professionals, and Michigan film critics.

Also on the line-up for Saturday is the Michigan Premiere of Mango Tango, described by DIFF as “Sexy in the City” for the art-house crowd. Written, directed, and starring New York artist Marianne Hettinger, the film is about Marlene, a New York City dance teacher who’s driven to therapy by the increasingly neurotic men she meets. Marianne Hettinger will also be featured as a special guest and will host a Q&A immediately following.

The last day of the festival will be held Sunday March, 7th. The day will include the Detroit Premiere of the festival hit documentary “Official Rejection”. This is a documentary following the exploits of a group of filmmakers as they take their independent feature, “Ten ’til Noon”, along the film festival circuit, and the politics, pitfalls, triumphs and comic tragedies they encounter along the way. The documentary includes key interviews with filmmaker Kevin Smith, Lloyd Kaufman, Bryan Singer, Andy Dick, and Chris Gore. Following the screening we will present a panel hosted by Mitten Movie Project curator Connie Mangilin. This will be an open invitation to all filmmakers and anyone who has interest in independent filmmaking and filmmaking in general.

Also scheduled for Sunday is the Detroit Premiere of “The Twenty”, directed by Michigan native Chopper Bernet, who is now an actor residing in California. The film is about a married man who discovers a twenty dollar bill that has a hidden message that holds answers to his past. Closing the 1st Annual Detroit Independent Film Festival are short animated and documentary shorts.


Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

7:30PM “Babysitter Wanted”-Special screening with guest appearance by Michigan’s own Mike Manasseri (Director, Producer) who will introduce the film and host a Q&A immediately following.

10:00PM “Litterbug”-An earth-friendly, Generation X, coming-of-(middle)age, romantic comedy you can dance to.

Wednesday , March 3rd, 2010 – “Troma Night”

5:30PM “The Stevie Wonder Show”-Detroit Premiere

8:00PM A special screening of “Poultrygeist: Night of the Living Chicken Dead” with guest appearance by Lloyd Kaufman followedby a Q&A

10:15PM The World premiere of “You Can’t Rent Here Anymore”

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

3:30PM 2 for 1 Feature including The US Premiere of “Eddies: The Documentary” and “Street Boss”.

7:00PM The Michigan Premiere of “The Woman from Sarajevo”

10:00PM A Program of Short films

Friday, March 5th, 2010

4:30PM “Alphonso Bow” – Feature
6:00PM “Fairview Street” **Nominated Best Michigan Feature, Director Michael McCallum**
8:00PM “Is It Just Me?”-Michigan Premiere
10:00PM US Premiere of George A. Romero’s “Survival of the Dead”-the 6th film of from “The Dead Zombies” series
Midnight “Northville Cemetery Massacre”-Special Screening

Saturday March 6th, 2010 – 2010 Michigan Film Awards

10:30AM-7:30PM All day screening of nominated Michigan Shorts at the Burton Theatre and Deroy Auditorium.

7:30PM 2010 Michigan Film Awards begin with a screening of the five “Best Short” Nominations at Deroy Auditorium.

3:00PM Detroit Film Think Tank Forum—A Panel of Michigan Film Office representatives along with other experienced filmmakers lead a discussion on how we can move the Michigan Independent Film industry forward.

Sunday March 7th, 2010

12:15PM Detroit Premiere of “Offical Rejection”, a documentary about two filmmakers journey in the film festival circuit and how they struggled getting their small independent film recognition. Includes interviews by Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, Andy Dick, and Chris Gore. A panel and discussion will be held immediately after the screening. Special invitation to all filmmakers and anyone interested in filmmaking.

6:00PM “The Twenty” – Detroit Premiere

10:00PM Closing Night – Viewing of 3 shorts, including the Detroit Premiere of “The 8th Samurai”, a
behind-the-scenes retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai masterpiece “The Seventh Samurai”.

Festival Pass $100.00
Survival of the Dead $10.00
Paultrygesit: Survival of the Chicken w/Lloyd Kaufman $10.00
Is It Just Me $7.00

All Other Screenings only $5.00

Our mission is to promote Independent filmmaking by providing a venue that connects an audience with emerging independent filmmakers across the great state of Michigan and around the country. The 1st Annual Detroit Independent Film Festival is not your typical festival driven by sponsors, corporations, and celebrities. Filmmakers were able to submit their entries at no cost. It’s truly for the independent filmmaker to showcase their work to an audience.

For more information, please visit or call (313) 473-9238. Tickets are available for all events and can be purchased at and Festival passes for all days and events are also available for purchase. The 2010 Michigan Film Awards in association with Warner and Lacross Judge LLP, Greektown Casino, Rob Skates, and Lefty’s Lounge is a presentation of the Detroit Independent Film Festival, The Burton Theatre, and the Wayne State College of Fine and Communicating Arts.