With the famously discriminating eyes of the international film community currently set on the publicity parade that is the Cannes Film Festival, The Michigan Theater has turned its focus to honoring classics from another festival.

Angela Cesere
Actor Jeff Daniels will appear at The Michigan Theater Thursday. (Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn)

The theater will be among 14 specially selected U.S. theaters to host 25 films passed down by the Sundance Institute, in a 25th-anniversary series dedicated to classic movies that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The theater will also host three more films it selected – “Roger & Me,” “The Upside of Anger” and “The Purple Rose of Cario” – because of their local interest.

To add to the clout, one of the American art house’s biggest stars – Chelsea-bred actor Jeff Daniels (“The Squid and the Whale”) – will appear this Thursday to answer questions after a presentation of “Cario,” one of the now-revered star’s early films.

Michigan Theater executive director and CEO Russ Collins, who traveled to the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and spoke on a panel, said the series will give the theater the opportunity to showcase films that have made the art-house tradition what it is today.

“The Michigan Theater is primarily a cultural institution, and this is an excellent way to celebrate the independent film movement of the ’80s and ’90s as well as the 25th anniversary of the Sundance festival,” he said. “This is a series of very interesting films picked by a very important institute.”

The series will bring a sequence of films originally screened before some of cinema’s most eager and ardent fans, which Collins said are the lifeblood of the festival.

“As I walked the streets (at Sundance), they were filled with people passionate about film,” he said. “They were not movie stars; they were primarily people who care about the art of the motion picture.”

Among the other films selected by the institute are University-adorned cult classics like “Donnie Darko” and “Memento,” which will screen alongside such cultural landmarks as “sex, lies, and videotape” and the decade-spanning documentary “Hoop Dreams.” The series, which debuted May 19, will close with screenings of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” in early November.

Regular theater prices apply to the series, with the customary discount of $6.75 given to students with identification and some package discounts available.

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