The 85th birthday is approaching for the Redford Theatre, the Michigan Theater, and the auditorium of the Detroit Institute of Arts that hosts the Detroit Film Theatre. All three theaters have taken on ambitious renewal projects that will make them more user-friendly, a term that probably wasn’t used when the buildings opened in 1927 and 1928.
Archive for the ‘Documentaries’ Category
Many movie buffs consider 1939 to be Hollywood’s greatest year, with releases like Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, and Wizard of Oz. But 1940 wasn’t too bad either, and in 2011, visitors to the Detroit Movie Palaces enjoyed some of the highlights of that release year.
A visit to the movies usually means about 90-120 minutes of a fictional story involving human beings playing characters other than themselves.
I took a break from that routine on Saturday, October 1, 2011, when I took in a unique double feature at the Detroit Film Theatre and the Redford Theatre. The DFT showed a gritty documentary about street life, while the Redford screened a collection of old cartoons.
The first time that I heard of the Millers Creek Film Festival, it struck me as the perfect example of the Michigan Theater as a Public Access Movie Theater. Here were some local activists in the Ann Arbor area who took the initiative to create a film festival out of their special interest. And there was the Michigan, ever ready to play its role as a community meeting place.
The blank film lay on the table in the Grand Foyer of the Michigan Theater, waiting for visitors to the 46th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival to mark up frames to produce a series of images that would later be projected on the main theater screen. A few feet away, some toy animals and a movable projector awaited other filmgoers’ attempts at stop-motion animation.
After enjoying the focused intimacy of the Redford Theatre (Friday, March 14, 2008) and the Detroit Film Theatre (March 15), the spaciousness of the Michigan Theater on March 16 hit me very strongly. Steven Ball’s organ playing drifted out into the Grand Foyer and the street energy of downtown Ann Arbor continued into the Michigan’s auditorium.