Congratulations to the Winners!

Knight Foundation Award for Best Narrative Film: Femme Queen Chronicles (director Ahya Simone)
Knight Foundation Award for Best Documentary Film: Walking for Ded (director Scott Boehm) 
Barb & Jeff Duncan Award: Sidelots (director Atieno Nyar Kasagam) 
Audience Award: Knock Knock (director Kennikki Jones-Jones) 

Detroit Voices and Distribution Stories are made possible by the following sponsors

Host Committee Members

Ruth Bardenstein & Jim Roll

Barb & Jeff Duncan

Speakers:

Phil Contrino
National Association of Theater Owners

Joshua Riehl
Director, The Russian Five

Jenny Feterovich
Producer, The Russian Five

 

 

Eddie Rubin
Producer, The Farewell

Hillary Demmon
Director, Making Montgomery Clift

Robert Clift
Director, Making Montgomery Clift

Peter Dowd
Director, Mr. Jimmy

Ted Houser (moderator)
Cinetopia Film Festival

Watch the strongest storytelling that Detroit has to offer.

 

This year’s Detroit Voices program is broken up into two parts with a short intermission in between.

A reception follows the screening.

 

Detroit Voices Documentary – 6:00pm – Running Time: 1 hour 9 minutes

 Little Julio

Directed by Elysia Vandenbussche
The coach of a boxing gym in Detroit reflects on his life.
6 minutes

Elysia Vandenbussche is a visual artist whose practice includes ceramics, film, photography, installation, and sculpture. Elysia began her studies at College for Creative Studies, earning her BFA in 2011, then established a private studio in Detroit in 2012. She dedicates her time to refining her skills and expanding her multiple disciplines. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues and publications. Elysia has worked on a variety of films. Little Julio is her first non-commercial film and Director debut.

The Pearson Twins
Directed by Jon Braue
Identical twins Adam and Neil navigate through life with a rare genetic disorder, neurofibromatosis. Despite their identical DNA, the twins are affected in vastly different ways. The one thing that remains the same is their perspective of life and how to live it best.
11 minutes

From an early age, Jonathan Braue has always been fascinated by the magic of filmmaking. It was never enough to observe the magic on screen, he was determined to figure out how to create that magic himself. From the first opportunity Braue had to film in high school on a miniDV camcorder to building his own creative production studio in Detroit from scratch, he takes his passion for filmmaking and applies it to the next opportunity for his company Woodward Original and the creatives that run it with him.

Sidelots
Directed by Atieno Nyar Kasagam
A love story about Black land reclamation told in ritual between Detroit, Alabama and Kenya. By digging up familial and land roots across the diaspora, Sidelots illuminates all that is sacred in the land and encourages a radical reconsideration of how we view the earth immediately below our feet.
16 minutes

Atieno Nyar Kasagam is the director of Sidelots film, her first film, produced by the Detroit Narrative Agency. She is an Afrofuturist, whose mission is to bend and extend the edges of reality, to make space for deep liberation and joy for black people. She conjures new worlds with her words. She sees Wakanda on sidelots in Detroit. She journeys back and forth through time, through the lands of the living and the lands of the dead, on the back of her favorite black hood cat, ‘Eartha Kitt’, trailed with an entourage of 10 kittens, 4 chickens, 6 ducks, 2 ducklings, and a gang of psychedelic starlings. She hoes the land for livelihood and moonlights as a chef, hoodwitch, and facebook griot

Walking For Ded
Directed by Scott Boehm
A film about the sanctuary movement during the Trump era and the inspirational struggle to stop the deportation of Ded Rranxburgaj, who took sanctuary in Detroit’s historic United Methodist Church in January 2018.
8 minutes

Scott Boehm is the award-winning director of What Happens To A Dream Deferred: A Short Film About DACA. Walking For Ded: A Short Film About Sanctuary is his second film, and a companion to the first. He has also worked as a script consultant on other films, including the Spanish thriller The Cliff, which won Best Film at the 2016 Austin Film Festival in the Dark Matters Category, and the feature documentary Growing Up Hmong at the Crossroads. Scott is Assistant Professor of Spanish & Global Studies and Affiliated Faculty in the Film Studies Program at Michigan State University, where he also directs the MSU Latinx Film Festival.

A Park for Detroit
Directed by Nicole Macdonald
Using news footage, surveillance tapes and motion sensor cameras, this film takes a unique look at the flora and fauna that are reclaiming the Belle Isle Zoo.
27 minutes

Nicole Macdonald is an artist who paints and collages her Detroit environment in miniatures and maximums, portraits and landscapes, with brush and camera. Her documentaries on the Detroit environment and city history have won Best Michigan Filmmaker at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Best Documentary at Humboldt Film Festival, and the John Michaels Filmmaker Award for Social Activism and Community Empowerment at the Big Muddy Film Festival, and have screened at Media City International, Harlem International and Full Frame film festivals.

Macdonald’s roughly ten foot portraits of historical Detroiters have been erected throughout the city starting in 2014, as part of the Detroit Portrait Series. Her work was published in Canvas Detroit (2015) and Essay’d, Vol 1 (2016) by Wayne State Press; and in Hyperallergic and Art in America magazines. In 2017 she was awarded a Kresge Artist Fellowship in visual arts and her recent documentary film, Last Days of Chinatown will screen on PBS this May 2019.

Intermission – 15 minutes

 

 

Detroit Voices Narrative – 7:30pm – Running Time: 1 hour 1 minute

Good Grief
Directed by Toni Cunningham
Doug has recently been kicked out of the home he shares with his ex-girlfriend. While crashing at his place of employment for the night, he goes through the 5 stages of grief with the help of an unexpected “friend”.
11 minutes

Toni Cunningham is a local screenwriter and filmmaker. In 2018, she was awarded a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship for her accomplishments in screenwriting. She previously worked as a script analyst in New York City for many high-profile screenwriting competitions and production companies, including The Writers Lab, BlueCat Screenplay Competition, and Goldcrest Films Production Company. By reading hundreds of scripts, Toni taught herself not only how to critique and give coverage, but also to write screenplays herself. She has written 7 short screenplays, 1 pilot and is currently developing 2 feature length screenplays. She recently directed her first short film titled Good Grief, based on the very first short screenplay she wrote.

Knock Knock
Directed by Kennikki Jones-Jones
Sinia does the best she can to help the kids next door, however when they are in danger, she does nothing. Stricken by guilt, she decides to check on the kids, but she discovers is a chilling reality that pushes her over the edge.
14 minutes

Kennikki Jones-Jones began as an actress on the stages of Detroit. She last performed as Reagan in Shakespeare In Detroit’s rendition of King Lear. Longing to develop her creative voice she began to write, produce and direct for theatre. She co-wrote and she co-produced “The Devil’s Confession” Off-Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre. She has directed both comedy, urban horror and drama for the stage and screen. Through her work she is determined to identify the broken pieces of people and trace back to where the damage occurred. Pain is the tool of horror and her goal is to explore horrible acts people are capable of, in order to identify the healing solutions. She hopes to heal through horror.

meteor crashes into earth after two guys running
Directed by Benjamin Armes
One day, two guys were running… the rest is history.

Imagine a world where you’re restricted by the reality of life around you and it’s ok, but you wish it could be different. You feel like you’re in control, but you’re not. Now, imagine your dream life. What does it look like? Are you in control of that reality? I make movies to express and emote; my passion is my escape… and there is no escape.

Riding with Aunt D. Dot
Directed by Bree Gant
A young artist takes a bus ride that makes her question reality as several eclectic characters take her to task on where she’s going with her life.
7 minutes

Bree Gant (she/they/slim) is a multidisciplinary artist, dancer, educator, and documentarian reimagining future histories. Bree’s practice emerges from self examination and social documenting, often in the form of speculative portraits, experimental video, and installations. When not creating, Bree spends time teaching, twerking, dreaming, and waiting for the bus.

Paige Wood is a producer, writer, and creative strategist. Born in Detroit and working worldwide, Paige aims to produce projects that subvert and diversify the dominant narratives in today’s media landscape and elevate unheard voices within communities of color. Most recently, Paige was named as a 2019 Sundance | Knight Fellow, and is also a part of Firelight Media’s 2018-2019 class of Impact Producing Fellows.

Wide Roads of Portland, Michigan
Directed by Andrew Lewis
In a Michigan small town with few opportunities, two young men scrape by on a diet of video games, Mountain Dew, and dead end jobs – until one of them decides to take a chance on a better life.
9 minutes

Andrew Lewis is a filmmaker based in New York. He’s directed short films that have appeared at American Documentary Film Festival, No Budge, Film Shortage, and Tribeca Film’s “Sharon’s Shorts.” His first feature, 50 Miles to Waste, about five teens embarking on a surreal odyssey across rural Michigan, is currently in post-production. Currently, he’s working on a multipart, hybrid video game and film project, “The Empty Lot.” He is an adjunct professor in Film and Media at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he also runs a three week workshop in DIY Directing. Portland, Michigan is his hometown and where he makes movies.

June
Directed by Andy Hones and Shelby Alayne Antel
A property dispute between two neighbors sheds light on shared hardships.
7 minutes

Shelby Alayne Antel and Andy Hones are Michigan-native filmmakers who both graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Media and Information. In addition to their roles as co-directors of June, Andy acted as director of photography and editor, while Shelby wrote the script and starred in the film. Shelby currently resides in New York City. Andy resides in Lansing, MI.

Femme Queen Chronicles
Directed by Ahya Simone
Four black trans women navigate through love, life, trade, and shade in the city of Detroit; brought to life by black trans women themselves.
11 minutes

Ahya Simone is a Detroit-based harpist, singer-songwriter, and filmmaking femme queen. She earned her degree from Wayne State University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Harp Performance. Drawing inspiration from her Motown roots as well as jazz, experimental, and electronic audio elements, Ahya’s eclectic musical style as allowed her to work with artists such as Juliana Huxtable, Kelsey Lu, and Kelela. Most recently, Ahya was named as an “Artist to Watch” on the 2018 Bitch List by Bitch Media.  

Immersed in music, art, and film realms, Ahya has been recognized a 2018 Sundance/Knight Foundation fellow, a 2017 Detroit Narrative Agency 2.0 fellow, and a 2018 Kresge Artist fellow fellow. She is also creator, co-writer, and director of Femme Queen Chronicles (FQC), an upcoming comedic web-series that follows 4 black trans women in Detroit. Initially exploring film through scoring local shorts, (Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice Mapping a Detroit Story, 2015), she uses film and sound to explore ideas around identity, vulnerability, language, and existence.  

For more on Ahya, visit her site at ahyasimone.live. For more info on FQC, visit the series’ site at www.fqchronicles.com or follow the show on FB/Twitter/Instagram at @fqchronicles.

Paige Wood is a producer, writer, and creative strategist. Born in Detroit and working worldwide, Paige aims to produce projects that subvert and diversify the dominant narratives in today’s media landscape and elevate unheard voices

Detroit Voices Afterparty – 8:30pm

Mission and Objective

Detroit Voices is a local short film competition that champions Michigan filmmakers by showcasing the talent and creative spirit of our state.

General Rules

Detroit Voices Rules and Regulations:

  1. Films must be made by Michigan Filmmakers
  2. Films must either be shot in southeast Michigan OR feature a story about Michigan or Michigan characters
  3. Films are not required to come exclusively from Detroit, though films from Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Macomb counties will be given priority.
  4. All submissions must only contain content owned by the submitting team.
  5. Films with unlicensed music or visuals cannot be played at the festival.
  6. Cinetopia reserves the right to use clips from the film and images submitted with the film for marketing and promotional purposes.
  7. The filmmaker or a representative for the filmmaking team must be in attendance at the festival to be considered for the awards.
  8. Detroit Voices is primarily a shorts program though feature films may be submitted and will be reviewed if time and resources allow. Feature films are not in competition for the prizes but could receive a screening honorarium if chosen.
  9. Films more than 30 minutes in length will not be considered for the shorts program.
  10. Cinetopia reserves the right to reject any material that is discriminatory in nature.

2018 Competition

Films are listed in order they were shown

2018 Winners

A continuing force in the Cinetopia Film Festival mission, Detroit Voices provides the opportunity for local filmmakers to showcase their creative spirit and Michigan perspective with a larger audience. The competition was open to all Michigan filmmakers with an additional category awarding a high school filmmaker. 

Jury Winner: Disfluency – Director Laura Holliday
Audience Choice Winner: Famous In Michigan – Director Nick Rasmussen
Best High School Winner: You Don’t Know Me – A collaboration from Downriver – Detroit Student Film Consortium
Honorable Mention: Little Voices – Director Nathan Ginter

2018 Selections

Disfluency – Director Laura Holliday
Famous in Michigan – Director Nick Rasmussen
Dead Tooth – Director Laena Bradley
Roadmap – Director Heather Irvine
Katrine’s Last Words – Director Janet Torreano Pound
DELETED – Director Joseph Kudla / RJ Cron
Immigration Stories – Director Kathi J. Moore
Bad Dreams –  Director Sam Keeble
You Don’t Know Me – A collaboration from Downriver – Detroit Student Film Consortium
The Box – Director Christopher Kaufmann
Little Voices – Director Nathan Ginter
Everybody’s Coming To My House – A Collaboration with The Detroit School of Arts Students

2017 Competition

Films are listed in order they were shown

2017 Winners
A continuing force in the Cinetopia Film Festival mission, Detroit Voices provides the opportunity for local filmmakers to showcase their creative spirit and Michigan perspective with a larger audience. The competition was open to all Michigan filmmakers with an additional category awarding a high school filmmaker. Cash awards are made possible by sponsors John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

Knight Jury Prize – $3,000 cash award
Scrap Dolls. Dir. Aude Cuenod 13 mins
On the east side of Detroit an 11-year-old boy, grieving over the loss of his best friend, encounters an artist who makes art out of abandoned objects.

Michigan Film & Digital Media Audience Choice Award – $1,500 cash award
Model No. Human. Dir. Adam Cooper 11 mins
A man with a mechanical brain believes he once lived as a human. When he meets a familiar young girl, memories of his past are triggered and he fights for her life.

Best High School Film Award – $1,000 cash award
#Biodiversity is Unity. Dir. Dy’Shauna Rutherford 3 mins
An exploration of the innate diversity of biology and how its reflected in our community and environment

Honorable Mention – $500 cash award
Mosquito, The Bite Of Passage. Dir. Brian Vincent Rhodes & Eric Cheng 6 mins
A mother and daughter mosquito go hunting together for the first time, and the daughter is desperately trying to confess that she doesn’t like blood.

For the first year, the Arab Film Festival at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn awarded a winner for the Arab Shorts: A Cinematic Tour Through the Arab
World program that screened on Saturday, June 10. Ayny, a stop-motion animated film directed by Ahmad Saleh about two boys dodging their overprotective mother in a seemingly innocent money-making scheme to purchase a classical musical instrument, took the honor.

Audiences who missed the award-winning films may have a chance to screen them in the near future at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor—an encore screening of the Detroit Voices competition is planned for the near future.

2017 Selections
Biodiversity is Unity. Dir. DyShauna Rutherford 3 mins

An exploration of the innate diversity of biology and how it’s reflected in our community and environment

About DyShauna Rutherford

DyShauna Rutherford, a 17-year-old film maker from Northern Michigan, has been making videos for four years. Filmmaking hasn’t been a passion for long but it has helped her grow closer to my family (my actors) and grow more artistically.

The Phoenix Dir. Bushra Varachia 4 mins

An aspiring photographer sets off on a journey through Detroit to return a golden, car-shaped clock to a mysterious woman in a red coat.

About Bushra Varachia

A third year Cinema Studies student at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. After graduation, she aspires to be a film editor. 

Bombs Over the Undergrad Dir. Mirna Aziz 3 mins

The struggle of a Middle Eastern student arriving in the USA.

About Mirna Aziz

Mirna was born in Baghdad, Iraq. She began singing at age 3, and acting later at 10. In 2009, she moved to the United States with her family. Participating in music and filmmaking activities during her high school years helped furthered her career. She started pursuing music and film at 17 years old.

Makwa  Dir. Stephenie Kandes 3 mins

A 2D animated film based on the Native American legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan about a mother and her two children whose island is destroyed by a forest fire.

About Stephenie Kandes

Stephenie Kandes is a twenty-two old Michigan native and a recent graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. She just completed her B.F.A in Animation with a minor in storyboarding, specializing particularly in 2D and puppet animation. Stephenie is very active; she enjoys playing soccer and volleyball as well as performing through community theater. She has participated in over eighteen productions and has played roles such as Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast), Mme. Thernardier (Les Miserables), and Ursula the Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid Jr.). Other things that she enjoys are writing, reading, and walking on the beach looking for petosky stones and beach glass.

Scrap Dolls. Dir. Aude Cuenod 13 mins

On the east side of Detroit an 11-year-old boy, grieving over the loss of his best friend, encounters an artist who makes art out of abandoned objects.

Black Trust Fund Baby vs Remote Therapy Dir. Josh Gibert 5 mins

A bratty college drop-out distracts himself from his woes with technology but an encounter with his step-sister triggers a supernatural revelation.

About Josh Gibert

Josh Gibert is a 24-year-old, local actor/director and University of Michigan alum. In 2015, he was chosen to participate in the prestigious Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s Intensive: Detroit. Josh is currently producing and starring in his own web series, is developing a Detroit-set pilot, and is working to bring challenging narratives and compelling characters to the screen.

Raghad. Dir. Hadeel Hadidi  11 mins

As a little girl starts kindergarten, she realizes she is perceived as different by the other children and must find a way to hold on to her identity whilst trying to fit in.

About Hadeel Hadidi

Hadeel Hadidi is a writer/director and Michigan native. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Michigan. She continued her education and received her MFA in Screenwriting & Directing from Columbia College Chicago. In the last four years, she has worked on numerous commercials, music videos and feature films with many esteemed directors, including The Wachowskis, Michael Bay, Damien Chazelle, Nicolas Winding Refn and Mark Romanek. She currently works in digital at Rhett & Link, Inc and has also produced a segment  for the YouTube duo for VidCon Europe 2017. She is also writing her first feature film, Alaa & the Jinn.

Alter Road. Dir. Julian Carmona 12 mins

We investigate the eponymous road that stands between the Detroit and Grosse Pointe communities, as both a literal and an emotional divide.

About Julian Carmona

Born in Detroit, Julian Carmona began his filmmaking career during his time at the University of Michigan. There, he co-directed his first documentary film, Alter Road. Since then, he has worked on sports and reality shows, all in the Metro Detroit area. His most recent work (in- progress) is a documentary on Detroit’s Mexican Town community.

Cherish. Dir.  Adam Hirzel 2 mins

From a distance, anyone can seem charming. However, opinions may change upon closer inspection.

The Detroit Sonnets: # 65. Dir. Aaron Martin 2 mins

A dramatization of Shakespeare’s 65th sonnet, focusing on time, decay and preservation – with a Detroit twist. Produced in cooperation with Shakespeare in Detroit.

About Aaron Martin

Aaron Martin is a producer/director of narrative and documentary films. In the last year, Aaron produced The Ethanol Effect, an hour-long documentary for national PBS examining the political and economic effects of making fuel from corn, and was the producer/director of Beyond the Tap, a half-hour special on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan for PBS WORLD Channel. Aaron has also produced segments for the PBS NewsHour, SciTech Now and Local USA on subjects ranging from a deadly disease affecting bats to underwater archaeology. Aaron is dedicated to telling stories on film, using vintage 35mm and 16mm equipment that dates from the early 1920’s to the late 1960’s. He is currently at work on three short documentaries – one on the artist Scott Hocking, one on an ancient archaeological site in Ohio, and Better Things, a silent city symphony about the revival of Detroit – and The Detroit Sonnets, a series of short films produced in partnership with Shakespeare in Detroit that dramatize William Shakespeare’s poetry in modern-day Detroit. 

Akoma, Dir. Alex Gasparetto 12 mins

a post Civil War Era drama surrounding two courageous young women in a fight for love and freedom that could cost them their lives.

Alex Gasparetto

While attending The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, writer Lucie Gillespie met director Alex Gasparetto. Their mission as creative partners became to tell powerful, (and at times controversial) female-driven stories. WDIVs Local 4 Second Annual Film Challenge winner, Akomat; is no exception. Shot in the rural woods of Goodells, MI and The Henry Fords Greenfield Village with a diverse group of local talent and crew, Akoma; sparked the interest of Arab American News for a special featured article during its production phase. The film is a reminder to anyone whose faith in humanity is currently being challenged that love can most certainly drive out hate.

A Poem Of Glass & Steel, Dir. Ryan Clancy 5 mins

The intimate documentation of the architecture and culture of an iconic Detroit neighborhood.

About Ryan Clancy

Director Ryan Clancy is a Detroit based filmmaker and M.A. candidate in media studies at Wayne State University. His work examines how modern changes affect established cultures. 

The Ones Who Loved Me Are Gone. Dir. Parisa Ghaderi 1 min

Looking back at my mom’s wedding tape, I noticed how all of these people are gone for different reasons, having left a physical or emotional absence in my life.

About Parisa Ghaderi

Parisa Ghaderi (b.1983, Tehran, Iran) is a visual artist/ filmmaker; earned her MFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan (USA) in 2014. She moved to the U.S. in 2009. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including South Asian Women Collective (Shirin Gallery, NY), the 6th International Media Arts Award (Queensland, Australia), ExperimentoBio, (Spain), A Woman house or a Roaming House? (A.I.R. Gallery, NY), Fadjr International Visual Arts Festival (Tehran, Iran), and the Red bull House of Art (Detroit, MI). Her work is featured in The Huffington Post, The Brooklyn Rail, Video Focus (France), Nineteen Sixty Nine (University of California, Berkeley), the Michigan Daily, Unite Women (online), and the Visual ARTBEAT Magazine (Austria). Ghaderi has made four short films: “Still”, “Broken Glass”, “The ones who loved me are gone”, and “One way”. Her short film “Still” has been screened at Women’s Independent Film Festival, Santa Monica, California, The International Film Festival for Documentary, Short, and Comedy, Indonesia, and CINEWEST, Sydney, Australia. “Still” won the International Award of Merit Winners, from the International Film Festival for Documentary, Short, and Comedy, Indonesia. “Broken Glass” was screened at Lady’s First International Film Festival, Cork city, Ireland. “The ones who loved me are gone” was the winner of The Berlin Flash Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, in 2017. Her films attempt to transform a painful human odyssey into a visceral experience, highlighting the gap between immigration as a set of policies and as a human condition.

Model No Human. Dir. Adam Cooper 11 mins

A man with a mechanical brain believes he once lived as a human. When he meets a familiar young girl, memories of his past are triggered and he fights for her life.

About Adam Cooper

Adam has been interested in filmmaking since the womb. He and his brother were given a camcorder at a young age and they never put it down. Since then, they’ve made a whole ‘lotta shorts that had good festival runs taking them to TIFF, Cannes, the Hamptons and back home to Detroit where they make their films. Model No. Human is one of those films, and was inspired by Adam’s fear of robots and artificial intelligence. When he saw the opportunity to do a “Cyberpunk Sci-Fi project with heart,” he viewed it as a way to project his paranoia onto others and make them suffer with him. In addition to suffering, Adam hopes the viewers will have an enjoyable experience and come out with a new perspective on AI. The brothers are currently developing their first feature, a Sci-Fi thriller, and are stoked to kick that into motion in the near future!

Road Salt, Street to Stream. Dir. Nick Hayes 6 mins

Tells the story of road salts’ massive expansion in America and how it has become one of the great threats to our fresh water systems and the great lakes.

About Nick Hayes

Nick currently lives in Detroit as a full-time producer and director. He has worked for commercial clients including GM, Google, and AAA. Beginning his career in camera, he worked in New Orleans under Michael Lohmann for 3 months, the current DP of “Nashville” on ABC. Nick has also worked under Oscar-nominated documentary director Stephen Kessler. While living in Chicago, Nick had the privilege of working under Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Cam Be during production on his upcoming documentary about renowned International artist Hebru Brantley. Nick is passionate about film as a tool to create empathy, inform, and engage people politically within their community. Road Salt | Street to Stream was the culmination of years of research by Nick Hayes into the topic and was made by possible by a partnership with Detroit Public Television.

Toussaint (A Short). Dir. Naeemah Stewart 9 mins

Toussaint is a young artist who fails to overcome his greatest loss and finds new meaning in his life through art.

Mosquito, The Bite Of Passage. Dir. Brian Vincent Rhodes & Eric Cheng 6 mins

A mother and daughter mosquito go hunting together for the first time, and the daughter is desperately trying to confess that she doesn’t like blood.

About Brian Vincent Rhodes & Eric Cheng

Brian Vincent Rhodes grew up in the industrial city of Detroit, Michigan, affectionately known as “The Motor City”. Although an acclaimed youth artist and obsessed fan of animation, Rhodes did not see an immediate future in art. Pursuing other interests, he went on to study mechanical engineering and industrial design at the University of Michigan, and designed for companies and organizations such as Apple, Chrysler and NASA. After winning a film competition while working at Apple, Rhodes pursued his first love of cinema. Rhodes now works as a storyboard, character designer and previs artist. His recent projects include storyboarding a feature film for Netflix called True Memoirs of an International Assassin starring Kevin James, lead storyboard and character designer for The Leviathan Project, a virtual reality experience that premiered at the 2016 Sundance New Frontiers Festival, and previs artist for first ever live music video “Make Me Like You” by Gwen Stefani, that premiere at the 2016 Grammys. Rhodes also is an improv actor and a 2016 Diversity Fellow of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade comedy theatre. His dream is to write and direct commercials, feature films, television and virtual reality experiences, as well as occasionally perform in them.

 

Eric Cheng was born and raised in Beijing, China. In 2009, He made his first 2D animated short The Red in the Communication University of China (CUC) . The Red gained huge popularity on the Internet due to its innovative idea and fine quality. One year later, Eric created his second animated short Happy Anniversary as his graduation project in CUC, which won the Special Award at the 2012 TOKYO Anime Award and several others. Upon his graduation from CUC, Eric was admitted to the University of Southern California (USC), School of Cinematic Art in 2012, where he completed his third animation, Higher Sky. In Higher Sky, Eric demonstrated a deep understanding of the Chinese aesthetics, as well as a unique perspective of the Chinese cultural heritage. Shortly after the release of the animation, he earned an international name through the Student Academy Award.

2016 Competition

Films are listed in order they were shown

2016 Winners
Cinetopia International Film Festival’s second Detroit Voices short film competition announced the three winning films at the close of the festival on Sunday, June 14. The brainchild of local filmmaker Sultan Sharrif and launched in 2014, Detroit Voices has helped to recognize many talented artists. In addition to the recognition from the festival, the winners also receive cash prizes made possible by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

“We know that Southeast Michigan is rich with talented directors, writers, actors and artists, each with their unique take on life in our area,” said Cinetopia Artistic Director and Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins.  “We were thrilled to be able to offer not only an outlet for those voices but also some reward for all their hard work.”

Knight Jury Prize

Five Windows

Director: Daniel and Adam Cooper

Michigan Film & Digital Media Audience Choice Award

The Supplier

Director: Brian Knight

Honorable Mention

Solitude

Writer, Producer and Actor:  Tristin Taylor

Best High School Film Award

Girls Don’t Cry Wolf

Filmmaker: John Chigas and Anna Kotzya

2016 Selections
Can’t Stop Beach Punx Directed by John Brock, short film selection, 2 minutes 10 seconds, Music Video

Puppets and classic Detroit fun punk electrify this energetic and one-of-a-kind music video from the Detroit foursome, Cabbageheads.

 Painting the Town: The Street Art of Detroit (High School Selection) Directed by William Higbie, High School selection, University Liggett Prep School, 2 min 25 sec, Documentary

Artists in Detroit are discovering new canvasses, as they work to beautify the streets through unique and exciting street art.

Foreign Film Directed by Bri Yaroch, short film selection, 2 minutes 23 seconds, Horror

A young woman’s night of studying in the library turns sinister when she begins to hear an ominous noise.

Hysteria Directed by Nicole Bowers Wallace, short film selection, 14 min 50 sec, Drama

After a tour in Iraq, Jack must face someone he suspects to be a terrorist, without allowing his traumatic memories to muddle reality.

Panthalassa Directed by Casey Follen, short film selection, 2 min 42 sec, Animated

In this beautiful and surrealistic animation, the goddess Panthalassa dives below the surface of Earth and begins a journey of magical discoveries.

1% (High School Selection) Directed by Griffin Olis, High School selection, Troy Athens High School, 6 minutes and 50 seconds, Documentary

The Great Lakes are one of Michigan’s greatest resources and beauties but as the threat against them increases, some dedicated individuals amp up their fight to save Michigan’s water.

Five Windows WINNER OF THE 1st PLACE JURY AWARD! Directed by Daniel and Adam Cooper, short film selection, 9 min 12 sec, Drama

An assassin methodically sets up his next hit, but all may not be as it seems in this nail biting thriller.

#Foodtodiefor (High School selection)

Directed by Cole WiandHigh School selection, Detroit Country Day School, 1 min 43 sec, Comedy

This dark comedy asks the question: in a world of cell phones and Instagram posts, what are we sacrificing in order to be consumed by social media?

Limbs (High School Selection)

Directed by Richie Unger, High School selection, Seaholm High School, 3 minutes and 44 seconds, Drama/Stop Motion

Inclusion and exclusion is explored in a highly unique fashion: via stop-motion Barbie dolls.

Girls Don’t Cry Wolf (High School Selection) WINNER OF THE MOST PROMISING STUDENT AWARD!

Directed by Madison Douglas, High School selection, Interlochen Arts Academy, 4 minutes and 12 seconds, Music Video

This triumphant music video will leave you singing the message of female empowerment as it shines the light on the issues of young women and sexual assault.

Moving Pictures (High School Selection)

Directed by Brendan Streelman, High School selection, Byron Center High School, 2 min 25 seconds, Experimental

The subtle tapestry of the Michigan landscape is explored and showcased in this simple yet profound experimental film.

The Supplier

Directed by Brian Knight, short film selection, 21 min 14 sec, Drama

Straight-laced law student Taylor must reconsider her beliefs on the drug war when she is faced with an old flame.

2015 Competition

Films are listed in order they were shown

2015 Winners
Cinetopia International Film Festival’s second Detroit Voices short film competition announced the three winning films at the close of the festival on Sunday, June 14. The brainchild of local filmmaker Sultan Sharrif and launched in 2014, Detroit Voices has helped to recognize many talented artists. In addition to the recognition from the festival, the winners also receive cash prizes made possible by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Pure Michigan Film Office.

“We know that Southeast Michigan is rich with talented directors, writers, actors and artists, each with their unique take on life in our area,” said Cinetopia Artistic Director and Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins.  “We were thrilled to be able to offer not only an outlet for those voices but also some reward for all their hard work.”

Knight Jury Prize
Wait ’til the Wolves Make Nice
Director: Jess Dela Merced

Michigan Film & Digital Media Audience Choice Award
Within
Director: Robert Joseph Butler

Honorable Mention
Solitude
Writer, Producer and Actor:  Tristin Taylor

Best High School Film Award
The Joan Rose Foundation; Moving to Haiti
Filmmaker: Griffin Olis

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the entry fee?
The entry fee is $40 for most entries and $25 for high school entries.
Can I send a copy of my film?
No, we cannot accept physical copies of your films.

 

If my film is selected for exhibition, what formats must my film be available in?
All feature films submitted must be available for exhibition in one of the following formats: DCP (preferably unencrypted) or as an approved ProRes digital file. The Cinetopia staff will format the films to fit these requirements.
How and when will I be notified if my film was accepted?
You will be notified by email whether your film has been selected for exhibition at Cinetopia International Film Festival. We will try to let you know as soon as possible whether your film made it or not, but please be patient as our selection process does take time.
Can I get feedback about my film?
Yes! Each Selection Committee member offers comments about every film they watch. If you would like to see your comments, please wait until after our festival ends (June 10, 2018) and contact our Detroit Voices Coordinator, Jamila Taylor, at detroitvoices@cinetopiafestival.org.
How do I know that you received my submission?
If submitting through Withoutabox, please check your account after submitting to make sure that your submission meets our requirements and has been accepted for consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a BLUE dot with a checkmark: We have received your online submission, your DVD or Blu-ray, and your submission has met all our requirements.

If your Withoutabox submission has a YELLOW dot: Your submission has only partially met our requirements and is considered an INCOMPLETE SUBMISSION. We may have received your online submission but no payment. Please contact our Detroit Voices Coordinator, Jamila Taylor, at detroitvoices@cinetopiafestival.org to see what is needed to move your submission into consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a RED circle: We have not successfully received your submission. If you submitted online and it’s been more than 10 days, please contact us.

Can I get the submission fee waived?
The Cinetopia International Film Festival is a program within the nonprofit Michigan Theater Foundation. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process assist in our operations. Entry fee payment is required; exceptions will NOT be made, so please, do not request a waiver.
What genres do you accept?
All genres! Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and even New Media content!