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 2018 version, to be held April 11-15, will be the fifth annual event. The festival is centered in downtown Detroit, and held at venues like the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Fillmore Detroit and Cinema Detroit.
The festival’s spine is documentaries with strong connections to Detroit or Michigan – though it also books films outside that realm.
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 dance parties, panel discussions, theater tours and more.

Awards & Prizes

In 2018, there will be an audience choice award, along with other awards to be announced at a later date.

Rules & Terms

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. When possible, we bring the filmmaker to Detroit for the festival.
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 or Michigan. 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 freepfilmfestival@freepress.com. 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 will focus on documentaries with strong Detroit or Michigan connections, though we’ll also be showing some films without specific ties that are likely to have strong resonance in the region.

WHAT FORMAT SHOULD I SUBMIT IN?
Our preference is through Filmfreeway.com. (Our submission portal will be open in late 2017.) 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 freepfilmfestival@freepress.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 the end of February, 2018.

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 March.
• Generally, our preferred formats are DCP or Blu-ray. 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.

RULES
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).