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Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival returns to Downtown Bay City

October 1st-4th, 2009 -- Sometimes Underground. Always Independent

September 21, 2009       Leave a Comment
By: MyBayCity Staff

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Bay City, MI (September 21, 2009) - The Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival returns Oct 1-4 in Downtown Bay City. Technology advancements in recent years have resulted in an explosion of interest in independent film, and Hell's Half Mile is privileged to bring some of the best work to the Great Lakes Bay Region. In addition to providing inexpensive, provocative entertainment to natives, the Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival fosters an atmosphere of creativity for aspiring artists and attracts visitors to the Bay City area. With the State of Michigan film production incentives in mind, Hell's Half Mile introduces filmmakers to the area and helps to lead the way in the revitalization of performing arts culture in the area.

Now in its fourth year, Hell's Half Mile will again add nearly 40 films to the indie film scene, including features, shorts, documentaries, animated and foreign language films, as well as bands and musicians from around the Mid West. Audience members can participate in Q&A sessions with filmmakers and cast members, attend filmmaker panel discussion, and take beginning and advanced screenwriting workshops. There will also be a free workshop titled -How to get what you need to make your own film?. The three venues include the State Theatre, the Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center and the former Masonic Temple, all located within four blocks of each other, making it easy to stroll from venue to venue in and around Downtown Bay City shops and restaurants.

Opening night kicks off Thursday October 1st as part of Downtown Bay City's long running 1st Thursday Gallery Walk. The Opening Night Block Party will be held from 5-8pm on Saginaw Street, between Center Avenue and Fifth Streets, and includes live music and food provided by Old City Hall Restaurant. Adult beverages will be available from Old City Hall, with other refreshments from Brewtopia Coffee House. The block party will be followed by the Midwest premiere of the charming feature film "Timer." This romantic comedy stars Emma Caulfield (TV's "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" and "Beverly Hills 90210"), Michelle Borth (HBO's "Tell Me You Love Me"), John Patrick Amedori (TV's "Gossip Girl"), Desmond Harrington (Showtime's "Dexter") and JoBeth Williams ("Poltergeist"). The film premiered at the 2000 Tribeca Film Festival. Producers Jennifer Glynn and Rikki Jarrett are scheduled to attend the premier. "Combo" tickets for the block party and film are only $10.00, or individual tickets for the film or party are only $6.00.

Each year Hell's Half Mile brings in several noted films selected from many national and international film festivals. Along with "Timer" comes the Dan Fogler horror-spoof "Hysterical Psycho" and the foreign language film "Entre Nos" from the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

Friday the 2nd, kicks off the regular film program with film premiers, a filmmaker reception, filmmaker appearances and a free film-making workshop hosted by director/producer/actor and second time Hell's Half Mile attendee Kenneth Hughes.

Saturday includes a public filmmaker panel discussion and workshops. The festival continues on Sunday October 4th and concludes with the 6pm Closing Night film, Adrian Belic's documentary "Beyond the Call," a whimsical and timely look at how regular Americans can make a difference around the world.

The film schedule is now available on-line at with printed schedules available inside The Review Magazine on September 25th. General film screenings are $5.00 per film. Tickets for the Saturday night music are $10.00. Discount passes are available for All Access and Film Only. Advance film tickets are available now through the State Theatre Box Office or through E-Tix. Music tickets and Festival Passes are now available at the Bay Arts Council office.

The Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival is presented by the Bay Arts Council and sponsored by All State Insurance agent Steve Pero, Goodrich Quality Theaters, Summit Printing, Old City Hall Restaurant, Michigan Film Office, The Review Magazine, Say Woof Photography, Michigan CardioVascular Institute with media sponsor Citadel Broadcasting. The festival also received grant funding from the Bay City Noon Rotary Club and Green Hut Charities.

The Festival's name comes from the downtown riverfront area, once known as Hell's Half Mile. Once lined with raucous saloons and "two-bit" hotels, it was a destination for turn-of-the-century loggers and sailors to blow off steam and take in a bit of local color. By the late 1800s, Bay City had over 80 hotels, hundreds of saloons and countless movie houses and theaters, making it the entertainment capitol of Northern Michigan. While much time has passed and much has changed, including a rebirth of the once infamous stretch of riverfront, the Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival is a celebration of Bay City's history as an entertainment destination and proof that the independent spirit lives here (in Bay City).

Today, the city boasts a beautiful downtown riverfront with boutiques, restaurants, theatres, pubs, hotel accommodations and other points of interest. With a state of the art planetarium, art galleries, a resilient, hard-working business community, and an active shipping lane for Great Lakes freighters, Bay City is alive with activity. It is this lively atmosphere that continues to provide an ideal setting for the event.

According to festival director Alan LaFave, "The Festival is not only a way to introduce visitors to Bay City, it is also intended bring new audiences to talented bands and filmmakers. It is truly about exposure."

There are many opportunities for involvement and support. Anyone interested in being a volunteer, sponsor, or participant, should email

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About Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival The festival is a volunteer organization and is operated through a partnership with the Bay Arts Council. Simply put, the Hell's Half Mile team has a passion for great entertainment and created the Festival as way to bring fantastic films and original music to an area of Michigan that rarely sees much outside of the mainstream.

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