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Cinema Chat: The Cinetopia Film Festival

Jun 6, 2013

In this week's installment of "Cinema Chat" David fair, Russ Collins and Amanda Bynum discuss the 2nd annual Cinetopia Film festival, which kicks off tonight. 

Credit The Michigan Theater

It’s Here!  Cinetopia 2013

45 films (including two free films at a Rooftop Theater on top of the Maynard Street Parking Structure) will be shown.  Over 30 filmmakers are in town – directors, cinematographers, producers and stars. And Cinetopia will take place in both Ann Arbor and Detroit.

As Tom Long reported in the Detroit News earlier this week, “Toronto, New York, Venice, Berlin, Cannes. Cleveland, Seattle, Austin and Park City, Utah. They all have major, thriving feature film festivals. Why not Detroit and Ann Arbor? That question will gain some traction this week as the Cinetopia International Film Festival …[plays] downtown Ann Arbor at the State and Michigan theaters [and at U of M’s Angell Hall) and in midtown Detroit at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts. ‘Film festivals have taken root in cities you would not expect them to take root in,’ said DFT directorElliot Wilhelm, director of the Detroit Film Theatre. ‘This community has embraced the DFT for 40 years. I have a feeling it will embrace Cinetopia just as much.’ Film festivals have been popping up like dandelions in southeastern Michigan in recent years, but none has had the potential of Cinetopia in that it is being presented by the region's two premier nonprofit film exhibitors [the DFT and the Michigan Theater].

” The Detroit News’ film critic and a film festival veteran himself continued by quoting my summary of last year’s Cinetopia Festival: “’Last year was a test in terms of physical execution. Could we land the films, could we get interest from filmmakers, would audiences find this to be a good thing to go to?’ Collins said.  Ines Storhok certainly did. She attended with her husband Eric.  ‘Thursday night through Sunday, we took the whole weekend off; It really makes you feel like you’re at the Sundance Film Festival or something,’ said Storhok, 50, who lives in Ann Arbor and works for the Environmental Protection Agency. ‘We had the amazing opportunity to meet actors from the films, directors of the films and other moviegoers who love movies.

’” The free films at the Rooftop Theater on top of the Maynard Street Parking Structure are Robert Altman’s “Popeye” starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall on Friday, June 7 at 9:30 PM and “The Neverending Story,” Saturday, June 8 at 9:30.

Tonight’s opening night films are “A Tribute to Ron Asheton Featuring Iggy and the Stooges;” “Haunter” starring Abigail Breslin with a screenplay by Ann Arbor native Brian King; and “Let My People Go,” a not-to-be-missed Finnish/French comedy.  To get a complete list, description and times for the other 40 films and for tickets go to www.CinetopiaFestival.org.

Opening Monday Downtown after Cinetopia

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” begins in 2011 in Lahore. At an outdoor café a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, about his experiences in the United States. Roll back ten years, and we find a younger Changez fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica (Kate Hudson). But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. Changez’s dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy.  Richard Roeper of RichardRoeper.com says, “Deliberately ambiguous, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ provides just enough answers while leaving us with more than enough questions.” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” opens Monday, June 10 at the Michigan Theater.

“Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s” takes viewers to the most mythic of all American emporiums and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. Now audiences get a rarified chance to peek behind the backroom doors and into the reality of the fascinating inner workings and fabulous untold stories from Bergdorf Goodmans iconic history. Esther Lee of the Philadelphia Inquirer says, “A fascinating doc that accurately captures the luster of the venerated fashion mecca and shows why Bergdorf’s has become an American institution …” “Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s” opens June 10 at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

In “The Internship” Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. “The Internship” opens Friday.

In “The Purge,” an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide. “The Purge” opens Friday.