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Yahoo! News Story - Flint, Mich., to Host First Film Festival

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      Flint, Mich., to Host First Film Festival

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      Flint, Mich., to Host First Film Festival

      55 minutes ago

      FLINT, Mich. - Missed the Sundance Film Festival (news - web sites) in January? Couldn't get a hotel room in Cannes? Consider Flint.

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      Flint Film Festival

      The blue-collar city of 125,000, perhaps best associated with the cinematic arts as the backdrop for native son Michael Moore (news)'s 1989 documentary "Roger & Me," is preparing for its inaugural Flint Film Festival.

      It begins Friday with a Hollywood-style opening gala and concludes Sunday with an awards party. In between, festival-goers will have their choice of 29 original films — features, shorts, documentaries, music videos and student productions — by independent filmmakers from as far away as Germany.

      "People who've never been to a film festival will quickly find out this is the real heart of filmmaking. All the great films were made by people who started out like this," festival chairman Greg Fiedler, executive director of the Greater Flint Arts Council, told The Flint Journal for a Sunday story.

      "Where do you think they find all those Academy Award-winning shorts and documentaries you never heard of? Film festivals. I guarantee the quality of films are as good or better than any blockbuster you're gonna see all summer."

      The event is the product of two years of cooperation by local filmmakers, artists, theater groups, technology specialists, writers and educators under the auspices of the arts council, Mott Community College and the Flint Film Festival Board. A Mott Foundation Parade of Festivals grant is providing about half of the festival's $20,000 budget.

      "We're really all eating off the same table because those involved in the arts are supportive of art in every facet," said Ted Valley of Vertigo Productions, a Flint-based theatrical group. "Our common goal is to bring the arts to the community, in whatever form it takes."

      The arts community is launching the event with help from about 100 volunteers, Fiedler said.

      Moore, who is a native of Flint but now lives in New York, was not invited to be involved in the festival in any way, and his latest film, the anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 911," will not be shown, Fiedler said.

      "The committee told me in one of our very first meetings that they wanted this to be about local filmmakers and not about one famous one who has a way of bringing all the attention on himself," Fiedler said.

      "He saw the press releases and he could've offered to submit something, and he didn't," Fiedler added.

      The Flint Film Festival won't be competing only with the local multiplexes for viewers; www.filmfestivals.com lists 104 U.S. film festivals in June alone. Organizers hope to enhance the Flint event with juried films in numerous categories, a judging panel of film critics and industry professionals, and prizes such as film school scholarships.

      "We wanted to do everything we could to make this a prestigious festival," said Erik Porn of Equinox Productions, an independent film studio in Genesee County's Flushing Township.

      For John Dombrowski of Fifth Sun Productions in Flint, the student categories are the most important of the competition. "We've been making films since we were high school freshmen and on into college," he said. "I know how important it is to encourage young people to take part in the arts."


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      Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.flintjournal.com

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