Peninsular Place

The Magazine

May 30, 2013

Cinema Comes Alive at the Cinetopia International Film Festival

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Written by: Drew Waller
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Cinetopia LASTING

If you’re anything like me when it comes to “art house” cinema, you’ll peruse the film ‘zines during your normal daily routine: your /film, Pajiba, FirstShowing, THR, Box Office Mojos of the world and think “That looks like a good movie!” Only to then find out that it won’t be coming to a theater near you until say six to umpteen months after you’ve almost forgotten about it.

Okay, taking a step back, so maybe you’re not as neurotic as I am when it comes to being up on current art house.  It must be said it has a certain place in my heart, working for an incredible community resource as the Michigan Theater – so that no one thinks this article doesn’t have a bit of a slant, but, the sentiment of being “in the know” when a media source says this film is worth its weight of digital cinema package means something, even if it is verbal sparring across a barstool with a colleague over the weekend.

Fear not because what was missing in southeastern Michigan is now growing to represent Washtenaw County while bringing Detroit in the mix: enter Cinetopia International Film Festival. Happening Thursday, June 6 through Sunday, June 9, this four-day cinema feast serves up some of the BEST films that premiered at some of the BEST Film Festivals from around the globe.  Think of it: Cannes in France, Venice in Italy, Berlin in Germany, Toronto in Canada, our own Sundance in Utah – all the award-winning, jury-adored, festival premiere films finding a way here so that we can see it before it gets its art house debut across the U.S.

In its second year, the Cinetopia International Film Festival looks to welcome an estimated 10,000 to its four venues over four days including two screens at the historic Michigan Theater, the State Theatre and U of M’s Angell Hall all in downtown Ann Arbor with a new fourth venue in the shape of an beautiful new partnership with the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA in Detroit.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Check out a cross-section of the films that will be premiering at this festival to get you ready for a solid four days of incredible cinema:

“Broken” – [UK] Starring Tim Roth (“Rob Roy”, “Reservoir Dogs”), Cillian Murphy (“Inception”, “Wind that Shakes the Barley”), Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) and newcomer Eloise Laurence, this film won the BAFTA for Best British Independent Film and follows the life of a 12-year-old girl who makes the best of the life she has in suburban London while depicting how she and her community deals with a violent turn of events that happen in her neighborhood.

“The Painting” – [France] This film is a stunning, animated adventure that touches within the canvas of an actual painting where a world of characters live, connive, conspire and thrive.  The French sensation will be playing both at the Detroit Film Theatre as a premiere and in Ann Arbor that weekend.

“Pieta” – [South Korea] This film is the winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival and the Jury Grand Prize for its actress Min-soo Jo at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In “Pieta,” director Ki-duk Kim takes viewers down a long, dark path of kinship and hopeful redemption in his celebrated thirteenth film.

“Twenty Feet to Stardom” – [USA] When you think of the mind-blowing talent that lights up a stage from a rock star, it is easy to neglect the glow around them that is emanating from the talent helping on that same stage. This film helps shine a deserving light on those people.  Incredible talent in their own right, singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer are just a few of the gems this film follows on their journey.

“Lasting” – [Poland / Spain] This official Sundance International Film Festival Selection for 2013 and winner of Best Achievement for Cinematography, is an epic love story that brings a pair of Polish students to each other across the backdrop of Spain. But what happens between them when unforeseen circumstances arise questions their newfound love.

Cinetopia will also honor Michigan’s proud legacy of outstanding screenwriters through special pre- and post-film events, including exclusive presentations, discussion panels and Q&A sessions with directors, writers, and stars featuring a stellar collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Screen Arts and Cultures and the work of Robert Altman. Don’t take my article’s word for it, though. Tickets, voucher booklets and all access passes are now on sale at where you can see more about these films and plenty more for a four-day smorgasbord of fine cinema consumption.

About the Author

Drew Waller
Drew Waller

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