Senior Festival Programmer Barbara Twist has weighed in on her top picks for this year’s Cinetopia:

Beside Still Waters – I first saw this film when I was on the Narrative Jury for the 2013 Austin Film Festival. I was struck by the way Chris Lowell, the writer/director, portrayed grief and loss – to see friendships grow apart while dealing with the painful process of growing up felt very true to me. I’m also partial to its Michigan roots, as it was filmed in Petoskey, Michigan. [ed. note: Director Chris Lowell (of Veronica Mars fame) will be joining Cinetopia for a Q&A discussion after the screening of Beside Still Waters on Friday, June 12 at the Michigan Theater]

Domestic Life (La Vie Domestique) – La Vie Domestique is a film that feels iconically French yet universal at the same time. The film discusses what it means to be a woman today, from juggling motherhood and careers to being ‘feminine,’ and I felt strongly connected to many of the storylines. Furthermore, Emmanuelle Devos, who plays the lead, is an incredible actress and she deserves to be better known in the U.S.

Imperial Dreams – I am so excited we are finally showing Imperial Dreams at our festival. I saw it at Sundance in 2014, where it won Best of Next, and was blown away. The skill of the direction and the complexities of the script are impressive, even more so when I found out it was the director’s (Malik Vitthal) first feature film. The quiet pacing of the story and the beautiful drama played out by John Boyega (he plays the lead, Bambi) makes this film incredibly moving and one I recommend to everyone.  [ed. note: Director Malik Vitthal will be joining Cinetopia for a Q&A discussion after the screenings of Imperial Dreams on Friday, June 5 at the Charles H. Wright Museum and on Sunday, June 7 at Cinema Detroit]

In Her Place – I loved this film! Three strong, complex women. The gorgeous greenery of the South Korean countryside. An unsettling, psychological drama. What more could you want? Albert Shin, the director, has made a hauntingly beautiful film and one that will become part of my film collection. [ed. note: Director Albert Shin will be joining Cinetopia for a Q&A discussion after the screening of In Her Place on Friday, June 12 at the Michigan Theater and on Sunday, June 14 at the State Theatre]

Lawrence of Arabia – Lawrence of Arabia is not on my list because it’s the best film ever made (though there are some that would say that), nor is it on my list because it’s my favorite film (though it may become it). It’s on my list because we will be showing the film in its full glory from a gorgeous 70mm print. For any format geeks out there – you know that seeing this iconic film on 70mm is a format lover’s dream. For those who aren’t – trust us: this will be an incredible screening of the film. It’s also on my list because I’ve never seen it… So, join me on Sunday, June 7 at the Redford Theater, and watch Lawrence of Arabia with me for your first time, or your hundredth, and we will bask in the beauty of the film on-screen. [Planning on joining Barbara at Lawrence of Arabia? Let us know by tweeting @cinetopiaMI and @barbaratwist!]