Freep Film Festival is a documentary-focused festival produced by the Detroit Free Press, which is Michigan’s largest news organization, in cooperation with its business arm, Michigan.com.
The 2021 version, to be held Sept. 22-26, will be the eighth annual event. The festival is centered in downtown Detroit, with other locations sprinkled throughout metro Detroit.
The festival’s specializes in documentaries with strong connections to Detroit, Michigan or the Midwest – though it also books great documentaries without specific geographic ties. It's important to us that we present films that will resonate with our local audiences.
In addition to screening films, Freep Film Festival embraces the journalistic and community-minded mission of the Free Press. This means we host in-depth discussions after many of our films – not just quickie director Q&As. We like to encourage conversations that spin off the issues raised by the movies. We also host other related events, including music events, panel discussions, theater tours and more.
In 2021, there will be at least six awards with cash prizes:
Best of Festival Award: Juried award for top film in the festival.
Audience Choice Award: Top feature-length film in the festival, as decided by audience vote.
Spirit of Michigan Award: This juried award honors the movie that best exemplifies the state of Michigan's spirit of ingenuity and creativity — both in filmmaking quality and topic.
Homegrown Talent: This honors the best Michigan-based director of a festival documentary.
Short Film Award: This juried award honors the festival's top short documentary.
Shine a Light Award: This juried award honors the documentary that best uses journalistic techniques to bring unknown or little-known information to light.
WHAT IS THE SUBMISSION PROCESS?
Freep Film Festival is a curated, rather than submissions-based, festival. What that means: We do want to hear about your films if they fit our mission. But we CANNOT promise we’ll screen every single submission. The size of our staff – and the needs of our lineup – don’t allow for it.
Since we can’t screen every film, we don’t charge for submitting. And if your film is selected, we’ll pay you to show it.
Remember: We cannot promise feedback or that your movie will definitely be viewed.
WHAT SORT OF FILMS ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?
First: We are a documentary-focused festival.
Second: We are especially interested in films with strong connections to Detroit, Michigan or the Midwest. That could mean they’re set here, or they are specifically about the region. It also could mean a resident or native is a key member of the creative team.
Third: We also book documentaries that are not specifically connected to Detroit or Michigan, but are likely to resonate here. This is more subjective, but films about car culture, the outdoors or music are examples that could qualify.
I HAVE A FILM YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN. CAN I CONTACT YOU BEFORE SUBMITTING IT?
Absolutely. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your contact info and a description of the film, along with whatever press materials you might have. You could also include links to trailers or whole films. We cannot promise feedback or that your movie will definitely be viewed. Remember: The festival specializes in documentaries with strong Detroit or Michigan connections, though we’ll also show films without specific local ties that are likely to have strong resonance in the region.
WHAT FORMAT SHOULD I SUBMIT IN?
Our preference is through Filmfreeway.com. We'll be evaluating film in early 2021. We’ll also accept outside links, such as vimeo.com. Please include a password when contacting us.
We prefer to not receive hard copy Blu-ray or DVDs. If that’s the only way you can get it to us, email us first at email@example.com.
HOW ARE FILMS CHOSEN?
Programming decisions are made by the Freep Film Festival and Detroit Free Press staff, in consultation with representatives from festival venues. If a film is accepted, we will notify the filmmaker by email. This will happen around July 2021.
ONCE YOUR FILM IS ACCEPTED: DETAILS
• Once your film is accepted, we’ll work with you on an announcement plan and brainstorm ideas for activities built around the screenings.
• Lineup announcements will begin in early August.
• Generally, our preferred format is DCP. In some cases, the required format will be dependent on where your film plays. Once the schedule is finalized, we’ll discuss options with you.
As of a condition of entering, you assert:
• You represent and warrant that you are the sole author(s) of the video composition(s)
• You are the sole owner(s) of all rights in or otherwise have the right to license the video composition(s) and the publicity rights
• You have the full right and authority to enter into this agreement and to grant Michigan.com the rights granted in our filmmaker agreement, if accepted.
• Michigan.com’s use of the composition(s) or the publicity rights as contemplated under our filmmaker agreement will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party, including without limitation, any copyright, trademark, or right of privacy or publicity.
• You represent and warrant that you have obtained all necessary licenses, permissions, consents or releases as may be required for the use of any image of any person, object, sculpture, music, artwork, location or other element of the video composition(s).