The Detroit film industry is looking to make a comeback with a once thriving cinematic economy and the independent film community is helping to lead the way. Trinity Films Entertainment Group is launching the second annual Detroit Black Film Festival and this year’s display will be the production’s first in-person festival.
Marshalle Favors and husband Lazar Favors are the co-directors of the Detroit Black Film Festival. Launched in 2020, the platform displays international talent in the independent film industry. Going virtual for the first year,
“When we decided to do the Detroit Black Film Festival, of course the pandemic wasn’t going on. We shifted immediately after March 2020. It wasn’t a matter, for us, if we were going to do it. It was just a matter of figuring out how we were going to do it,” says Marshalle Favors. “We had an excellent platform that showcased all of the films and we featured master classes from some pretty highly-acclaimed Detroiters that are in the entertainment industry.”
Headlined by Deborah Joy Winans for its debut year, the Detroit Black Film Festival will bring another heavy hitter for the 2021 season; Mara Hall, a noted Detroit actress known for her roles in Grey’s Anatomy and 2019 movie Loqueesha.
While it features films from independent filmmakers across the world, the festival’s roots are based in the Motor City. With a growing market of local talent, the festival allows local filmmakers, actors and production the chance to have their works celebrated.
“It (the film festival) just shows the breath of talent we have here. It wasn’t about how much content was being made. We have very talented writers, producers, and actors. It gives them a platform to showcase their work and connect with other talent. It’s the fact that these filmmakers are working together now, they’re networking with one another, they’re collaborating,” says Marchelle. “It’s the connection and the growth of the film community.”
Gaining its momentum, Detroit’s film industry is coming up the ranks of cities like Chicago, New York and Toronto as a contender in the film and production market. With a talent pool to rival most major production cities, Detroit is sure to move up the tanks.
“You really have to look at Detroit as a part of a whole. I feel as if when we had tax incentives here in Michigan a few years ago, that kind of opened everybody’s eyes to the possibility of a film industry in Detroit,” says Marshalle. “Even though we don’t have the film incentives, the talent is still here.”
Aside from attending festivals and streaming movies, the community at large can support the growing film community. Financing an independent film requires the filmmakers to use their own money to front the project. Independent films can also be funded with the help of donors and investors. Community organizations also influence, contribute to and support production as some movies call upon groups most integrated in the neighborhood.
“In order to make a film, there are so many resources that are needed. That’s when we really have to lean on the business community; we have to lean on the philanthropic community, we have to depend on everyday groups and organizations because some of these films have social justice issues that they’re highlighting,” says Marshalle.
Screenings will take place at the Marlene Boll Theater for three nights; September 23 until September 25.
To further celebrate the independent artists, the film festival will present an awards ceremony. On the list of awards to be presented are, Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Web Series, Best Student Film, Best Animation, Best Photography, Best Poetry and the ‘I’M JUST JOKING!’ Comedy Competition. The second annual Detroit Black Film Festival will take place from September 23 until September 26.
“For my husband and I, it’s about just uplifting these narratives that these artists are creating. With the Detroit Black Film Festival, specifically, narratives that center on Black and brown people in an array of different stories and scenarios,” says Marshalle.