For anyone who had their appetites whetted by the Ann Arbor Film Festival last week, the East Lansing Film Festival kicks off Thursday night on the Michigan State University campus. The goal of the festival is to bring quality films into mid- Michigan, where ELFF director Jennifer White feels they are greatly needed. “People have heard of these films, but they don”t get a chance to see them,” says White. The festival, started in 1997 by Susan Woods and the city of East Lansing, is not directly affiliated with MSU, though White considers the school one of their many supporters.
The ELFF has grown every year since its inception, and White hopes that attendance will reach upwards of 10,000 this year. The diversity of the filmmakers stretches from India”s Jagmohan to France”s Ann Arbor Film Festival winner Agnes Varda to several MSU students. While White does mention Frank Cole”s “Life Without Death” and Mark Osborne”s “Dropping Out” as particular stand-outs this year, she refuses to choose a personal favorite. “All of them [are my favorite], that”s why we pick them!”
The ELFF mixes student and experimental films with larger, more established films such as “The Ballad of Ramblin” Jack” and “Escanaba in da Moonlight,” which was written by, directed by and staring Michigan”s Jeff Daniels. The Festival also stays local with “Michigan”s Own Film Competition,” which awards cash prizes to Michigan filmmakers. Other than “Escanaba,” the competition includes several documentaries, shorts and student films.
The Festival begins on tomorrow evening at 7:30 and runs until Sunday night. Tickets are $8 for opening night (five for students) and $5 for the main program festival films (three for students with ID). For ticket information and a complete schedule of films and events, check out their website at www.elff.com.