Documentary enthusiasts are getting ready for the start of the 2024 Freep Film Festival. Scheduled from April 10th to the 14th at various venues across Metro Detroit, this year’s festival includes a lineup of more than 20 feature-length documentaries and numerous shorts, many of which have strong local ties. 

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With a keen focus on films that explore the issues, people, and landscapes of Detroit and Michigan, the festival has become a staple event in the region’s cultural calendar. The festival features more than just films, offering attendees the opportunity to participate in post-film discussions and educational events. For the second year, the film festival will also include an Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series curated by local filmmaker Razi Jafri.  

Continuing the film festival’s tradition of spotlighting local productions, the festival kicks off this year with “Rouge,” produced by Jafri and directed by Hamoody Jaafar. The documentary follows the River Rouge High School Panthers basketball team on their quest for another state championship. 

Another locally themed film playing at the festival is “Ignore the Noise: The Transformation of the Detroit Riverfront.” The documentary shows how the city’s waterfront was transformed and is told through the voices of people who played a major role over the past two decades. The film is a collaboration between Detroit Public Television and Free Age Films and plays on April 13 and 14.   

One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson, host of “American Black Journal,” met up with the festival’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Kathy Kieliszewski from the Detroit Free Press, and local filmmaker Razi Jafri, at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the site of the festival’s opening night, to talk about what attendees can expect from this year’s Freep Film Festival. 

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