A festival update was added here on November 18. Page down to see it.
presented by

Central Michigan University School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts


CMU Film Society

co-sponsored by

Central Michigan University Libraries

Celebration! Cinema

Central Michigan Life

CMU College of Communication and Fine Arts

Moore Hall Television

Mountain 91.5 and The Beat 101.1


2017 Festival Dates

February 9th - 12th and 16th - 19th
Celebration! Cinema and CMU Park Library
Mount Pleasant, Michigan

A New Kind Festival
(a letter from the director)

November 18, 2016

The upcoming festival will be very different from past festivals. The main differences are: we will have a lot more films; the majority of our films will be short subjects; the majority of our films have not been released commercially; we have more experimental and "cutting edge" films in the festival than we have had in the past.  While what is being shown is different than in the past, the purpose of the festival has not changed.  It is still to expand the range of films available for viewing in mid-Michigan.  To adhere to this goal, we have had to adopt a change in festival content.  Here is why:

The founding of the festival in 2003 came in response to frustration in the CMU and surrounding community. People in the Mount Pleasant and surrounding area had difficulty in seeing films that were widely discussed but that tended not to make it to our area, or if they did, were not in theatres close to us for very long.  (In the years preceding our first festival, an oft-asked question was "how far do I have to drive to see films by Spike Lee?")  We had enormous success in booking films that were commercially-released, widely-known, but not "mainstream" enough to get booked in cinemas in or near Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  Their availability on DVD (or in those days, VHS) was much less than today and streaming was in its infancy.  Gradually this situation changed.  Today a wider range of films is available in theatres and titles move from theatrical to DVD release very quickly.  Streaming has also become a part of many people's daily lives. (This applies especially to college students and other young people, who make up a large part of or audience).

In recent years we have stressed the difference between seeing films alone (or in a small group) and seeing them in public with a larger audience.  I know that some people who have attended recent festivals were well aware they could have streamed (or bought or rented on DVD) the same film, but they preferred the festival environment.  We have continued to attract audiences in the range of 500 to 1,000 admissions for recent festivals, lower than the 2,000 or more we had for our earliest festivals, but still a substantial number of people for an event in Mount Pleasant.  We could have gone on doing what we have been doing and probably have kept the festival alive.  However, for the last few years we have been looking for a way not only to offer public screenings of what people could see elsewhere, but to offer something not easily available elsewhere (which was what we did back in the first festivals when there was very little in the way of "elsewhere"). 

Several months ago, when we opened the festival for submissions from all over the world (and encouraged the submission of short subjects, in particular), we were surprised to receive thousands of inquiries and other contacts and eventually hundreds of entries.  We were truly overwhelmed.  We picked  more than films that our judges (mostly CMU Film Society, along with some alumni and faculty) thought should be in the festival.  While I am confident everything we picked does indeed deserve to be in the festival, I am well aware that in the crush of reviewing hundreds of entries that we undoubtedly missed opportunities to include other films that also have high merit and, had we had a longer time for review, might also have been selected.  While inclusion clearly means we thought a film was good, no one should feel that the festival's failure to select their film is in indication we thought it was bad. If your film was not selected this year, we strongly encourage you to submit it again next year. We will re-open the submission window in March or April, 2017.  Again, the emphasis will be on short films, although we will continue to include some feature-length works, as we did this year. 

Our efforts at this point are focused on promoting the 2017 Festival, which will be held on February 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 19.  As in past years, we will screen festival films at the Park Library Auditorium on the Central Michigan University campus and at Celebration! Cinema, also in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.  Tickets will be sold at Celebration! Cinema and at Java City coffee shop (near the entrance to the Park Library Auditorium) beginning in mid-January *about a month before he festival begins).  I am happy that we have been able to keep ticket prices very low. The best deal is five tickets for ten dollars (although, you can also buy a single ticket for five dollars).

In mid-December we will post titles and descriptions of all of the films at www.cmiff.com <http://www.cmiff.com>.
In the meantime, here are the titles of the programs of shorts. They should give you a general idea of the kinds of films that will be in the festival.

Around the World  (2 programs)
Caligari's Children (weird, experimental, not for the faint of heart)
Eclectica (3 programs)
Eight films by William Coughlan
Four films by Fung Ho
In the Zone (These films reminded us of the famous TV series.)
Life in the USA
Nightmare Central
Festival Highlights

In addition to the programs listed above, we will also have some longer short subjects and some feature length films. Their titles will also be listed here, starting in mid-December.

Films in the 2017 festival come from the following countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the festival. Don't forget to check back here in mid-December for more information and to get your festival tickets as soon as possible after they go on sale in January.

Mark Poindexter
Professor, Broadcast and Cinematic Arts
Director, Central Michigan International Film Festival
Central Michigan University