When we began to conceptualize Cinetopia several years ago, we knew that the people of Detroit deserved a major scale film festival and would embrace the idea. But nothing prepared us for the level of enthusiasm that we have encountered.

Our partners at the Detroit Film Theatre have been incredibly supportive from the outset. The audience who attended the program there last June was overwhelmingly positive. The Knight Foundation has provided not only financial support, but strong encouragement and advice. The Knight Foundation has a long history of support of film festivals in other cities and they know firsthand the significant impact festivals can have on communities, their citizens and their economies.

Over the past several months we have held outreach meetings with dozens of community leaders and organizations, with the goal of gathering the best ideas and insights to help us design the best festival we can. The response to virtually every meeting has been, “How can we help? How can I get involved?”

One idea that emerged early is the Cinetopia Cinema Circus, which will bring free movie screenings to Detroit neighborhoods next May. The idea is to create an opportunity for Detroit residents to participate in Cinetopia, above and beyond the ticketed festival screenings in June.

It’s too early to say how many Cinema Circus screenings will occur this year, but we expect to present 3-5 events in central, high-traffic areas around the city. Each event will consist of a festive, family-friendly environment featuring live entertainment while the screen and projector are being prepared, followed by a movie at dusk.

We plan to announce locations of Cinema Circus events in March.