A look at some of Cinetopia Film Festival's special guests


Joel Potrykus at the 2012 Belfort Entrevues Film Festival (Wikimedia Commons).

The Cinetopia International Film Festival kicks off June 4, and more than 40 actors, directors, screenwriters and producers will be appearing at the fest. Last week, it was announced that acclaimed Knicks fan Spike Lee would be appearing at the screening of his film, Do the Right Thing. In addition to the famed auteur, others who are worthy of your attention will be conducting Q&A’s and giving lectures as well, many of whom are acclaimed and well known in the film industry, some are still cutting their teeth and a few even have connections to our fine state.

One of the main draws is the appearance of Dustin Lance Black. You may not recognize the name, but I bet he has one more Oscar than you do. Black won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for Gus Van Sant’s 2008 film, Milk. In addition to writing, he is also a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. An advocate for the LGBT community, Black wrote 8, a play based on the federal trial that overturned Prop 8 in California. The writer will be doing Q&A’s after both screenings of the film, The Case Against 8. At the Michigan Theater screening, which will take place on Saturday, June 7 at 4:45 p.m., he will be joined by representatives of the ACLU of Michigan. The other screening will take place at the College for Creative Studies on Sunday, June 8 at 6 p.m.

A number of films at Cinetopia have strong ties to Michigan. Veerendra Prasad’s film Consideration, which was filmed and set in Ann Arbor, is a romantic drama about a love triangle between Jessica, a law school grad up to her ears in student loan debt, her age-appropriate love interest, Andrew, and her much older sugar daddy, Henry. Prasad will be joined by screenwriter Amy Butler and actors Claire Richards, Mark Boyd and Philip Maxwell to discuss the film. Consideration will be playing Sunday, June 8 at the State Theater at 8 p.m.

Writer and director, Joel Potrykus, will appear along with his film Buzzard, a dramatic tale about Marty, an imbecilic con man whose paranoia forces him to hideout in Grand Rapids. Actors Josh Burge and Alan Longstreet (that’s right, Fox2’s own) will join Potrykus with producers Ashley Young, Kevin Clancy and Mike and Tim Saunders. Buzzard will be playing Friday, June 6 at the State Theater at 6:45 p.m., and at the DIA Lecture Hall on Saturday, June 7 at 9:30 p.m.

Another Michigan-centric film to be featured at Cinetopia is Northern Light, a documentary that revolves around the (literally) coolest form of transportation, snowmobiles. The film explores the lives of three Northern Michigan families and how they prepare for the International 500 — a single day, 500 mile snowmobile race in Sault Ste. Marie. Director Nick Bentgen will be joined by Emily and Isaac Wolfgang, Marie Cox, Rebecca Marenbach, and Walt Komarnizki, whose lives he documented. Northern Light will be playing at the Michigan Theater on Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at CCS at 4:30 p.m.

Of course, there are many other filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, grips, gaffers and best boys who will be appearing at Cinetopia. Well, maybe not the latter three, but you get it. A lot of people will be there talking about films. A complete list of films and events can be found on the festival’s website.

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