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Detroit Film Theatre

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Sophisticated Surroundings

The art museum atmosphere of the DIA carries over into the DFT—quiet, formal, reserved. Carefully selected music sets the mood for the featured film. Before movies, a slide show on the DFT screen publicizes many of the fascinating events at the DIA, along with other arts-related activities like the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.

The DFT and the DIA have worked hard to coordinate many of their events. The DFT has presented several series of films that relate to DIA exhibitions. The DFT screened many different animated films in conjunction with the 2013 DIA exhibition Watch Me Move: The Animation Show. In 2010, a retrospective on Senegal filmmaker Ousmane Sembène was part of the DIA exhibition Through African Eyes.

DIA membership includes DFT-related benefits, including free admission to DFT 101 movies and other special film events.

Film presentations at the DFT are so consistently choreographed that even the closing of the auditorium doors increases your anticipation for the featured film. This formality is balanced by the youthful enthusiasm and edgy fashions of students from the nearby College for Creative Studies and Wayne State University.

An exclusive feeling of community draws many DFT visitors to films that often are being shown for the first (and maybe only) time in the Detroit area. Attending the DFT can take on the air of an event, like a night at the opera. Patrons are often dressed up, perhaps because of a visit to a DIA art exhibit or a nice restaurant.

Because of the low lobby ceilings, an intense group feeling surrounds patrons leaving a show. It continues as everyone fans out along John R towards their parking spaces. The city lights of Detroit enhance the setting, with distant views of the Renaissance Center and the golden tower of the Fisher Building. You might see clusters of people who speak the native tongue of a foreign language film, excitedly sharing their impressions of this moving picture postcard from home.

Attending the DFT can be a vibrant part of the city experience, for both city residents and suburban visitors. In a city that has seen more than its share of ups and downs, the DFT is a valuable resource. It is a powerful example of the persistent creativity that is needed to help keep Detroit alive.


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This web site is not affiliated with the Detroit Film Theatre, the Michigan Theater, or the Redford Theatre.

Web site copyright © 2014 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated November 30, 2014.

Graphics courtesy of Christmas Graphics Plus, Free GIFs and Animation, and 123GIFS.

Videos courtesy of YouTube and Turner Classic Movies.