‘Tis the season for film! With all those fancy Hollywood film celebrations happening, we thought we could shine a light on what’s going on in our community… so film fans, rejoice! CW50 is here for you, once again.

We’ve scoured the internet, asked all of our friends, and put together a guide to get you through this year’s film festivals. What to know, when to go, and what to expect while you’re there – we’ve covered all of the bases for you. So, really, the work here is done…all you have to do is take note, then get your popcorn ready to dive into a world of cinema as we celebrate independent films and their filmmakers…

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Check them out, and make sure you mark your calendars!

Ann Arbor Film Festival – March 25 – 30, 2014

Ann Arbor Film Festival

When you think of Ann Arbor you probably think “art” – that’s probably because it’s the home to one of the most celebrated film festivals around. Going into its 52nd year, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. The fest is also internationally recognized as a premier forum for independent filmmakers and artists. This year, the AAFF will span 6 days, showing more than 180 films from over 20 countries. Talk about a cultural experience! Did you know that famous filmmakers and artists, George Lucas, Andy Warhol, Les Blank, and more, had their work shown in the festival?

For more information, find their website here!

Capital City Film Festival – April 10 – 13, 2014

Capital City Film Festival

The Capital City Film Festival is a four-day film AND music celebration! With set-up all around the capital city, the festival aims to honor independently-made films from all over the world with multimedia experiences for the local community. Last year, they had over 300 submissions and showed over 70 films during the fest, along with showcasing 16 local and nationally-touring bands. This year, they plan to go just as big – and they’ve already released their music line-up. Local favorites The Hard Lessons and Flint Eastwood will be making appearances.  The Capital City Film Festival also holds an amateur and student filmmaking contest, Fortnight Film Contest, from March 20 through April 3, where 30 teams will compete against each other to make a film within that time, with the top 15 films being shown during the festival!

For more information, find their website here!

DAFT Michigan Student Film Festival – April 26, 2014

Michigan Student Film Festival

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Going into its 46th year, The DAFT Michigan Student Film Festival is quite the unique film festival. Why, you ask? Well, instead of focusing on already-established filmmakers, the festival showcases work done by students ages K-12 only. That sounds pretty interesting, huh? The goal of this festival is to provide encouragement and support to the young, aspiring filmmakers. Each film in the festival is also watched and reviewed by an educational or media professional, and feedback is given straight to the students. The public showings will be held on April 26, 2014 at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

For more information, find their website here!

Cinetopia Film Festival – June 4 – 8, 2014

Cinetopia International Film Festival

“Cinema comes alive.” That is the promise Cinetopia Film Festival makes, and in only their third year, they’ve already surpassed the expectation. Cinetopia Film Festival was put together in part by the board of directors at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, and more recently, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Film Theater, as a way to bring world-class cinema to the Detroit-Ann Arbor area. The festival, which has expanded from 3 days to 4 this year, will showcase full-length renowned films from the biggest and best film festivals of the world: Sundance, Cannes, Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca, and more. Cinetopia Film Festival is aiming to make the Detroit-Ann Arbor area one of the staples for cinematic culture, and you don’t want to miss out.

For more information, find their website here!

Mitten Movie Project – First Tuesday of Every Month

Mitten Movie Project

What began in 2007 has quickly become one of the area’s most talked-about film festivals…and that is because it’s always going – the first Tuesday of every month, to be precise! Yes, you read that right – The Mitten Movie Project, founded, organized, and curated by one person, Connie Mangilin, a local Detroit filmmaker, is dedicated to bringing a new independent film each month. There’s no limitation either. The festival screens all types of film: independent shorts, trailers, student films, documentaries, music videos, experimental shorts, and animations. They’re shown at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak with the goal of promoting and fostering independent filmmaking, and to provide a venue for independent filmmakers to receive valuable feedback, showcase their work, and meet like-minded individuals.

For more information, find their website here!

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Are you an aspiring local filmmaker? Which of these festivals are you most looking forward to?