Not only did I not go to the first annual Freep Film Festival this past weekend but I also missed a current festival in Montreal called the Festival of Films on Art, in its 32nd year – but new to me! - on until the end of the month. This was the first year for the Freep event, put on by the Detroit Free Press with screenings mainly at the Detroit Film Theatre. It was docs, heavily Detroit-centric, which was the point. Normally this would be my catnip. I am nothing if not a huge Detroitphile. There were films about the largest industrial ruin in Detroit, the Packard factory; about the history of the DIA, about famed New Journalist George Plimpton and his iconic Paper Lion book about the once great - a long time ago! - Detroit Lions; there was a film made right after the 1967 riots which examined the city’s lousy economy and raised the same questions people are raising today - hmmm. I missed the festival because, frankly, I’m a bit wearied of Detroit-centred topics and personally spent a lot of time criss-crossing the border in recent weeks for personal issues. I needed a weekend break.…As for the Montreal festival the stars just didn’t line up for travel. |But it’s really an extraordinary festival in what I call film festival city. There are 266 films – again largely or all documentaries – about the creative process and usually but not exclusively about the visual arts. One, for example, is about the complex authentication of Andy Warhol’s work – who knew? Another a biography of Brigitte Bardot. There’s a German film about Canada’s great and recently-dceased painter Alex Colville. There’s even a film about, yes, Detroit’s rich contribution to “the cream” of pop, soul and rock. Another is about poet Jean Cocteau’s influence on film and art. You get the idea. For more got to http://www.artfifa.com/en/.....And then there’s yet another upcoming festival, the venerable Ann Arbor Film Festival March 25 – 30, the oldest experimental film fest in the United States, which started in 1963. I’ve never been but experimental films aren’t my forte. I doubt I will make it this year. BTW Windsor’s Jeremy Rigsby and Oona Mosna, who host the Media City Film Festival - also experimental – in July, will present one film, Archaic Beasts, God's Asshole and Other Ideas of the Previous Century. Well, it’s an experimental festival, folks!