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Hells Half Mile Film and Music Festival

Bay City Host Independent Film Makers and Musicians For Five Day Festival

September 24, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Bay City will host dozens, nay hundreds, of the most elegant and spectacular stars of heaven and Hollywood this week. From across the globe independent film makers have sent in their work to be filmed by movie goers of the Tri-Cities and beyond. . . .

Well, perhaps that is a bit bold, but only a bit. About a year ago a group of people from the community got to talking and thought how cool it would be for one of Michigan's Cool Cities to hold a film festival. The idea took root and a committee came together to make it happen. The Bay Arts Council liked the idea and lent their support and this week Bay City will host the Hell's Half Mile Film and Music Festival.

The committee is hard to characterize. The main players are young professionals from the Bay City area, but there are a few "more seasoned" members and a few younger adults.

The committee worked hard over the last year. Members visited other film festivals and researched ways to find films and run a festival. A plan was created, jobs were assigned, and the event planning took off. Films were solicited using a number of independent film resources on the Internet. Nearly 30 films made the first cut and the committee dutifully viewed them all. Sixteen films were eventually selected plus two collections of shorts.

The festival will open on Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 pm with the showing of "Johnny Was" at the State Theater. Following the moving there will be an opening night party for the audience and film makers.

The Downtown Merchants will be holding their annual Wine Walk. The Film Festival committee will participate by hosting two outdoor film venues, one at the Doubletree Hotel and one at the Waterfall Park. Both venues are free on Thursday. The Bay Arts Council office on Washington will be open and selling tickets during that event.

Friday will be a full day of films and activities with the first films starting at 1:00 pm. Films will be shown at the State Theater, The Delta College Planetarium, and the Westown on Midland Street.

Musical performances will be showcased at the Masonic Temple on the corner of Sixth and Madison. Day passes can be purchased at the Bay Arts Council. This is a great opportunity to see the inside of one of Bay City's historic treasures while enjoying a variety of music. (The first film ever shown in Bay City was screened at the Masonic Temple.)

The festival will continue on Saturday and Sunday. Free musical performances will be located at the waterfall park on Saturday. The closing film will be at the Westown on Sunday and a party after to celebrate a successful festival.

An exhibit of antique film equipment and film posters form the early 1900's will be on display at the Delta College Planetarium.

The Festival would not be possible without the help of dozens of volunteers. This past weekend the volunteers received an orientation and their very fashionable uniforms (festival t-shirts). The committee said that there are still volunteer opportunities.

For a full program listing and volunteer information, visit the festival web site at

Volunteers meet at the Masonic Temple for orientation.

Waterfall Park - Free Concert Venue on Saturday.

The Westown, Venue for films on the West Side.

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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