The Waterfront Film Festival, currently in its 12th year, is held the second weekend in June in Saugatuck, Michigan . This year’s film festival runs from June 10-15 and will feature 35 films and 70 screenings at 7 venues. Included will be animated shorts, documentaries and full-blown feature length Hollywood hits. The 100% volunteer non-profit film festival also attracts famous celebrities, filmmakers and many talented up and comers. In 2003, Jerry Davich of Lake Magazine called the Waterfront Film Festival the “The Sundance of the Middle Coast”. The Screen Actors Guild Magazine has named it one of the top 5 independent film festivals in the world. Like the Sundance Film Festival, The Waterfront Film Festival boasts innovative films, searing documentaries, star studded premiers, fantastic parties and the chance for up and coming talent in the movie industry to hob nob with important industry personalities. But mostly, the Waterfront Film Festival is about good films made by people who care about their work.
For those who have never attended, be warned that this is no rinky-dink event. The Waterfront Film Festival screenings are often sell-outs. It is estimated by film festival organizers that about 16,000 tickets will be sold over the three days the film festival runs. Plus there are many thousands more people who come to gawk and try to catch a glimpse of a famous celebrity, mingle with filmmakers and party with the crowds of revelers. There are nightly parties and the infamous 24-hour complimentary frozen margarita machine. Maybe that’s one reason why the Waterfront Film Festival is rated as one of the most fun of all the independent film festivals.
But the Waterfront Film Festival is much more than one big party. There is some serious talent on display. Thinking of attending this year’s Waterfront Film Festival? Here are some things you need to know.
Waterfront Film Festival: Where is Saugatuck?
Saugatuck, Michigan is a sleepy summer resort village located on the Kalamazoo River. Saugatuck is small town America at its best. Mom and pop businesses dot the downtown. There is an old fashioned soda fountain. The locals glow with pride that they successfully fought off plans in the 1980’s by McDonald’s to build a franchise in town. Saugatuck is located just off US31 south of Holland, Michigan, two hours east of Chicago. An artist’s haven dubbed the Art Coast of Michigan, Saugatuck and the surrounding area is home to over 200 artists and 30 plus art galleries and artists’ studios.
Waterfront Film Festival: The Cost
Individual tickets are $10 for evening and day screenings. Movie goers may also purchase several types of passes, including day passes. Ranging in price from $500 to $70, purchasing a pass is a good idea if you will be attending an entire day of the film festival or the entire weekend. Some passes also gain the holder entry to exclusive events and VIP mixers. All passes also allow the holder priority entry into all films.
Waterfront Film Festival: The Celebrities
This year’s roster of famous faces includes Michael Moore. Past celebrities attending the Waterfront Film Festival have included Daryl Hannah, Yeardley Smith, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Justin Long, Wendie Malick, Jonathan Silverman and Grant Show.
Waterfront Film Festival: The Films
Several well known films have made their Midwestern premiere at the Waterfront Film Festival including March of the Penguins, Napoleon Dynamite, Open Water, The Descent and Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. For a complete list of 2010 films see the Waterfront Film Festival website. Waterfront Film Festival founder Hopwood DePree recommends these must see flicks.
2010 Academy Award nominated short films
Beginning at dusk on Thursday night in the Water Street parking lot near Butler Street
All these short subject films are appropriate for children, except Logorama. There will be a pause prior to the film to allow children time to leave.
To Catch a Dollar
7:00 p.m. Saturday at Saugatuck High School
This is the Midwest premiere of this documentary by Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. The film “shows what happens to micro loans given to rural entrepreneurs”.
8: The Mormon Proposition
10 p.m. Saturday at Dunes Resort
This film looks at the church’s role in the campaign against gay marriage. This is the Midwest premiere of the film.
Waterfront Film Festival: Special Events
There are many special events scheduled to be held during the Waterfront Film Festival. There will be a live performance Thursday night by Secondhand Serenade. At 10 a.m. on Friday, the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council will meet at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. This event is free. Discussion is sure to include Michigan’s film incentive program. At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, there will be a forum of filmmakers, actors and industry professionals held at Coral Gables on making movies. There is a$10 ticket charge for this event.
Waterfront Film Festival
Wikipedia: Waterfront Film Festival