New film festival to launch in Ann Arbor
The first Cinetopia International Film Festival launches in Ann Arbor at the end of this month with 35 films in genres ranging from documentary to drama to comedy. The theme of the initial festival is story-based films with an emphasis on screenwriting.
Organizers expect 5,000 people for the four-day event, which runs May 31 to June 3.
The festival is a program of the Michigan Theater.
That number is expected to grow to 80,000 or 90,000 over the next five to 10 years, said Russ Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater.
"If you look around Chicago and Cleveland, a lot of cities around the country … a lot of them have these kinds of sizable film festivals," he said.
Much of the inspiration also comes from the Traverse City Film Festival, which in its seven years has grown to 60,000 paid attendees and another 60,000 unpaid.
Cinetopia's budget this year is about $100,000, $25,000 of which was paid by lead sponsor AT&T Corp. The festival has six other sponsors.
Typically, half of the budgets of film festivals are funded by box office proceeds and the other half by sponsors, Collins said.
He does not expect a profit this year, although "eventually, that has to happen," he said.
Collins said he originally helped organize the festival to bring an international-film flavor to Southeast Michigan.
"With my experience going to film festivals around the country and being a lifelong resident of Southeast Michigan, I said we should get something started here."
The festival will take place at the Michigan Theater, the State Theater, and the University of Michigan's Angell Hall.
Tickets go on sale Friday. More details can be found at http://www.michtheater.org/cinetopia/.