The 11th annual Central Michigan International Film Festival kicks off this weekend with what those involved say is one of the strongest collection of films they’ve screened.
Nineteen films will show at Celebration Cinema, 4935 E. Pickard Road, and the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium over two weekends, Friday through Sunday and Feb. 14-17.
The films were selected from a pool of more than 100 suggestions by a committee of representatives from the Central Michigan University Film Society. The festival is also sponsored by the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts.
Professor of broadcast and cinematic arts Mark Poindexter said the two groups decided to hold the film festival over Valentine’s Day weekend for romantic purposes.
“We’ve been able to incorporate a stronger focus on romance films and romantic comedies,” Poindexter said. “‘Romantics Anonymous’ is exactly the kind of movie you’d want to include a date and a dinner with.”
The films were selected to represent new, relevant films from across the globe that many people might not have seen.
Five short films will also be screened, two of which — “Day Job” and “Vindiction” — were produced and directed by CMU students.
Poindexter said the movie festival arose because of a lack of an art theater that would broadcast movies outside of mainstream attention in Mount Pleasant.
“We try to bring movies that are culturally, artistically and socially important,” Poindexter said. “A lot of these movies students wouldn’t hear about or have a chance to see if we didn’t screen these films.”
The festival will also welcome two Michigan filmmakers for question-and-answer segments after their films are screened.
Keith Reimink will speak after his documentary, “No Horizon Anymore,” is shown at 3:15 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Park Library Auditorium. The film documents a research team stationed at the South Pole in 2009.
Associate Producer Raymond Rolak will also be available for Q & A after his comedy, “Get A Job,” is shown at 4:30 p.m. Friday, also in the Park Library Auditorium. The comedy focuses on recent college graduates and their desperate attempts to find employment.
Along with lesser-known films, the festival will feature two better-known films.
“The Artist,” a 2011 romantic comedy-drama, won five Academy Awards and has won recognition among the film community. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a 2012 drama based on the award-winning novel by Stephen Chbosky, will also be shown.
Film Society President Ashleigh Curp, a Commerce Township senior, said she was excited to screen “Detropia,” a new documentary from the makers of “Jesus Camp.” The film focuses on Detroit and its economic and social troubles.
“(The festival) allows us to bring issues to the light that we find important,” Curp said. “We’re bringing light to certain things. That’s kind of cool.”
Poindexter said there is a reason students should be excited for this year’s offering.
“I would say this year is the greatest collection of films we’ve ever had,” Poindexter said.
Tickets can be purchased at Celebration! Cinema and Java City in Park Library. Participants can purchase a single ticket for $4 or a book of 10 tickets for $10.