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Cinema Chat: The Michigan Theater Foundation gets a new name, plus a long list of new films and film festivals on the way!

Marquee Arts



After 25 years, the Michigan and State Theaters get new logos!

Frequently Asked Questions About Changes:

Does the new organizational name, Marquee Arts, mean the names of the theaters will change?

NO! Never!! Michigan Theater will always be the Michigan Theater. State Theatre will always be State Theatre.

Why was the company name changed from Michigan Theater Foundation to Marquee Arts?

Because our scope of impact is no longer limited to the Michigan Theater. This non-profit organization, which saved the Michigan Theater long ago, now also manages the State Theatre, Cinetopia Film Festival, Not Just For Kids series, and the largest specialty film program in the state of Michigan, as well as hosting many live-on-stage programs and events.

How are programs changing from before?

They will evolve, as they always have, to meet mission, community, and artistic needs. Customers should not expect disruptive program changes. Programming will evolve naturally with the times. The theaters will continue to host:

  • Great movies presented in two wonderful historic theaters.
  • A variety of live-on-stage shows at the Michigan Theater.
  • Lectures, festivals, community events, university events, and more.

Some Historical Background:

Our new name, Marquee Arts, is one of several company names which over decades have been connected to the Michigan and State Theater’s management organization. The Butterfield Theatres company opened the two theaters in early 20th century as commercial movie theaters and operated them into the 1970s.

In 1979, when the non-profit company which saved the Michigan Theater was created it used the name Michigan Community Theatre Corporation. That name was changed to Michigan Community Theatre Foundation. Over thirty years ago, it changed again to Michigan Theater Foundation. Now, since the State and Michigan theaters are together again under a single management the name of the management company for both theaters is Marquee Arts (replacing Michigan Theater Foundation).

  • The brand marks for the State Theatre and Michigan Theater are also new. They unify the look and feel of the two theater’s logos for the first time since their days as Butterfield theaters in the 1970s.
  • The new unified corporate name, Marquee Arts, celebrates the Liberty Street vista which is a visual hallmark of Ann Arbor. That vista, looking east from the intersection of Liberty and Maynard Streets, features the outstanding marquees of the State and Michigan theaters, and the University of Michigan’s de facto “marquee,” Burton Tower – a key U of M landmark.
  • “Illuminate” is the theme the Marquee Arts name. The marquees illuminate Ann Arbor’s Downtown; the historic preservation of the theaters illuminates the past, and arts events that are held every day in the theaters provide, at their best, thoughtful illumination of the contemporary zeitgeist, both now in the time ahead.

To learn more about our brand updates, read our announcement post from last week on our new website.

As always, we thank you for your commitment and patronage to the Michigan and State Theaters, and ultimately, to the Arts and Culture that our venues bring to the community at large.


Sparking Creation Film Festival — SUNDAY, APRIL 21 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

The festival will feature a selection of short films from Michigan entrants, with three judges awarding trophies for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director. The festival aims to support independent filmmakers by giving them a chance to share their work on a big screen.

iFFY (International Film Festival Ypsilanti) — PLAYS APRIL 24-27 AT THE RIVERSIDE ARTS CENTER

Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti is proud to be able to bring the best of local and independent film to the Ypsi/Arbor area since 2020. Check out some of our past programming here, and remember to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with what’s new at iFFY.

Cinetopia Film Festival – PLAYS JUNE 13-23

Early Bird passes on sale Friday, April 12th for members; Monday, April 15th to the public.


"The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 19 AT THE MULTIPLEX

The British military recruits a small group of highly skilled soldiers to strike against German forces behind enemy lines during World War II. From director Guy Ritchie. Starring Henry Cavill.


With forty years of making music as the iconic folk-rock band Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have made their mark as musicians, songwriters, and dedicated activists. They have represented radical self-acceptance to many, leading multiple generations of fans to say, “the Indigo Girls saved my life.” Still, Amy and Emily battled misogyny, homophobia, and a harsh cultural climate chastising them for not fitting into a female pop star mold.

With joy, humor, and heart-warming earnestness, Sundance award-winning director Alexandria Bombach brings us into a contemporary conversation with Amy and Emily—alongside decades of the band’s home movies and intimate present-day verité.

"Housekeeping for Beginners" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 19 AT THE MICHIGAN

From acclaimed filmmaker Goran Stolevski comes a story exploring the universal truths of family, both the ones we're born into and the ones we find for ourselves. Dita never wanted to be a mother, but circumstances force her to raise her girlfriend's two daughters, tiny troublemaker Mia and rebellious teen Vanesa. A battle of wills ensues as the three continue to butt heads and become an unlikely family that must fight to stay together. Presented in Macedonian with English subtitles.

"Late Night with the Devil" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 19 AT THE STATE

Johnny Carson rival Jack Delroy hosts a syndicated talk show 'Night Owls' that has long been a trusted companion to insomniacs around the country. However, ratings for the show have plummeted since the tragic death of Jack's beloved wife. Desperate to turn his fortunes around, on October 31st, 1977, Jack plans a Halloween special like no other--unaware he is about to unleash evil into the living rooms of America. From writer/directors Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes.

"Sasquatch Sunset" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 19 AT THE STATE

In the misty forests of North America, a family of Sasquatches--possibly the last of their enigmatic kind--embark on an absurdist, epic, hilarious, and ultimately poignant journey over the course of one year. These shaggy and noble giants fight for survival as they find themselves on a collision course with the ever-changing world around them. Starring Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg, acclaimed directors David and Nathan Zellner ("Kumiko," "The Treasure Hunter") bring you the greatest Bigfoot story ever told.



Part of the Late Night Classics series

Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) have one thing in common: they are both lazy, unemployed leeches who still live with their parents. When Brennan's mother and Dale's father marry and move in together, it turns the overgrown boys' world upside down. Their insane rivalry and narcissism pull the new family apart, forcing them to work together to reunite their parents. From director Adam McKay.

"Household Saints" — PLAYS FRIDAY, APRIL 19 AT 6:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Featuring a post-film Q&A with director Nancy Savoca and screenwriter Richard Guay

Nancy Savoca's star-studded indie gem is a chronicle of a spirited Italian-American New York family that perfectly balances humor, tragedy, and pathos. Joseph Santangelo (Vincent D'Onofrio) is a butcher with a wicked sense of humor who "wins" his wife Catherine (a stellar Tracey Ullman) in a pinochle game. Over the protests of his mother (Judith Malina) who talks to ghosts and makes deals with saints, Joseph marries Catherine. When the old lady dies, her spirit is channeled into her granddaughter Teresa who overtakes the film with her yearning to serve God.


Part of the Late Night Classics series

Dr. Atsuko Chiba works as a scientist by day and, under the code name "Paprika," is a dream detective at night. Atsuko and her colleagues are working on a device called the DC Mini, which is intended to help psychiatric patients, but in the wrong hands it could destroy people's minds. When a prototype is stolen, Atsuko/Paprika springs into action to recover it before damage is done. From director Satoshi Kon. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles


Will feature a post-film discussion hosted by Rima Hassouneh and Elias Shakour.

In 1948, the history of Palestine changed forever. In the land where Christianity was born, little is ever said about the Christian minority. Tracing their roots back to the early Christians they have lived side by side with Muslims and Jews for almost two thousand years. An integral part of Palestinian society, they have shared in the events of recent history, yet their voices are seldom heard and worse: their existence often ignored. Written/directed by Yasmine Perni. Presented in English, Swedish, Italian, Arabic, and French with English subtitles.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"— PLAYS MONDAY, APRIL 22 AT 6:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the We Can Do It! - Pioneering Women of Hollywood's Golden Age film series

After Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman) injures himself while drunkenly revisiting his high school sports-star days, he and his tempestuous wife, Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor), visit his family's Mississippi plantation for the 65th birthday of his hot-tempered father, Big Daddy (Burl Ives). Cantankerous even with declining health, Big Daddy demands to know why Brick and Maggie haven't yet given him a grandchild, unlike Brick's brother Gooper (Jack Carson) and his fecund wife, Mae (Madeleine Sherwood). From writer/director Richard Brooks.

NT Live: "The Motive and the Cue" — PLAYS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Sam Mendes ("The Lehman Trilogy") directs Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton in this fierce and funny new play.

1964: Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new Broadway production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.

Written by Jack Thorne ("Harry Potter and the Cursed Child") and designed by Es Devlin ("The Crucible"), the Evening Standard award-winning best new play was filmed live during a sold-out run at the National Theatre.


"La Chimera"

A 2023 period romantic drama film written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher. The film stars Josh O'Connor, Carol Duarte, Vincenzo Nemolato, Alba Rohrwacher and Isabella Rossellini.

It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. It received positive reviews from critics and was named one of the top 5 international films of 2023 by the National Board of Review.

The story centers on a young British archaeologist who gets involved in an international network of stolen Etruscan artifacts during the 1980s.

"Civil War"

A 2024 dystopian film written and directed by Alex Garland. The film stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Nick Offerman. Its plot follows a team of journalists who travel across the United States during a rapidly escalating Second American Civil War, which has engulfed the entire nation.

It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 14, 2024.

"Wicked Little Letters"

A 2023 British black comedy mystery film directed by Thea Sharrock and written by Jonny Sweet. The film stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Anjana Vasan, Joanna Scanlan, Gemma Jones, Malachi Kirby, Lolly Adefope, Eileen Atkins, and Timothy Spall.

Based on a true scandal, it follows an investigation into the anonymous author of numerous crude insulting letters sent to the residents of seaside town Littlehampton.

The film premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.

"Perfect Days"

A 2023 drama film directed by Wim Wenders, from a script written by Wenders and Takuma Takasaki. A co-production between Japan and Germany, the film combines four short stories and stars Kōji Yakusho in the role of a toilet cleaner. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered on 25 May and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Best Actor Award for Kōji Yakusho. It was nominated for the Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards, becoming the first film not directed by a Japanese filmmaker to be nominated as the Japanese entry.

Hirayama seems utterly content with his simple life as a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo. Outside of his very structured everyday routine he enjoys his passion for music and for books. And he loves trees and takes photos of them. A series of unexpected encounters gradually reveal more of his past. A deeply moving and poetic reflection on finding beauty in the everyday world around us.

"Dune: Part Two"

A 2024 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts. The sequel to "Dune" (2021), it is the second of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel "Dune" by Frank Herbert and follows Paul Atreides as he unites with the Fremen people of the desert planet Arrakis to wage war against House Harkonnen. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem reprise their roles from the first film, with Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux joining the ensemble cast.

The film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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