Freep Film Festival co-founder and executive director Steve Byrne highlights must-see documentaries screening now through Sept. 26 at a variety of in-person venues in metro Detroit and virtually.

Freep Film Festival
Freep Film Festival

The Freep Film Festival is now in its eighth year of highlighting Michigan-made documentaries as well as culturally-focused national docs. 

The fest will feature 35-plus screenings Sept. 22-26 with virtual and in-person viewing options for each showing.

Freep Film Festival co-founder and executive director Steve Byrne says the docs feel like a natural extension of journalism.

“We wanted to take that leap from just covering Detroit’s cultural community to being a little bit more a part of it,” says Byrne, who formerly worked as an arts and culture editor for the Detroit Free Press before stepping in to run its namesake film festival full time.

Listen: Freep Film Festival’s Steve Byrne highlights a handful of Michigan-centric documentaries screening this year.

Byrne chatted with CultureShift’s Ryan Patrick Hooper about a handful of highlights at this year’s film festival including a documentary about Ray Parker Jr., the Motown guitarist whose prolific career was largely overshadowed by his gig penning the “Ghostbusters” theme song; a nostalgic look at Boblo Island and the signature boats that shuttled thousands of Detroiters there; and a gripping, poetic look at how a family and community in rural Michigan grapples with death and police prosecution in the film “North By Current,” directed by Angelo Madsen Minax.

The Freep Film Festival is happening now through Sunday, Sept. 26. For more information about tickets and screenings, visit their official website. Mask-wearing and vaccination proof (or recent negative COVID-19 test) will be required at all indoor events and screenings.

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. As a longtime arts and culture reporter and photographer, Hooper has covered stories for NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.