We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for the grant we received from the Detroit Arts Challenge program to expand the Cinetopia International Film Festival. We take the challenge seriously and we are moving forward aggressively to build a large-scale, sustainable film festival for the city and the surrounding region.

We know in our hearts that Detroit deserves a major film festival on par with Chicago or Cleveland or Atlanta and it is our intention to create such an event. Those festivals draw upward of 80,000 people each year. That is the vision of Cinetopia. That is where we hope to be in five years.

For 2014, that means expanding from the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA to at least three other venues in Detroit’s Cultural Center, including an outdoor screening venue. We aim to attract 15,000-20,000 people.

This year’s dates are Wednesday, June 4 through Sunday, June 8.

In addition, we will launch an exciting new program called Cinetopia Cinema Circus that will bring a series of free movies to neighborhoods around the city during the month of May. These screenings will enable Detroit residents to participate in Cinetopia even if they cannot attend the festival events in June. They will also generate excitement for the main event.

In order to achieve this vision, we have spent the fall speaking and meeting with numerous community organizations and groups within the city. These include everything from filmmakers and neighborhood groups to business associations, media outlets and potential sponsors.

We are having fun and learning lots. We look forward to continuing the process of building Cinetopia this year and beyond.