Film festival to spin lens on Michigan storytellers

March 15, 2015 - photo frame

One searches for mislaid souls and treasures of a flowing deep. The other chases fire, recording a mortal energy and a drastic firefighters who conflict it.

They are dual Michiganders driven by a relentless enterprise to request a lives of others. On Thursday, their possess lives reveal in a documentary double underline dubbed Fire + Water that leads off a 2nd annual Freep Film Festival during a Fillmore Detroit.

One film, “Fire Photo – 1,” gives we an up-close demeanour — as tighten as we can substantially get, anyway — during Bill Eisner, a male who for some-more than a half-century has been racing from glow to glow photographing a ruin Detroit firefighters continue to save others and strengthen a city.

The other film, “Graveyard of a Great Lakes: A Shipwreck Hunter’s Quest to Discover a Past,” chronicles David Trotter’s relentless hunt for Great Lakes shipwrecks. For 35 years, he has been risking his life to find corpse of story — and justification of those mislaid with their ships.

“These guys are emblematic of a overworked — I’d contend recurrent — characters you’ll find in metro Detroit,” pronounced Steve Byrne, a festival’s executive executive and a Free Press’ celebration editor. “With this premiere event, a goal is to showcase good films people find enchanting and to expostulate discussions.”

The festival, that runs by Mar 22 during several Detroit venues, showcases documentaries applicable to Detroit and Michigan. In total, it offers 25 programs, including 6 universe premieres.

The dual brief films introducing a festival were constructed by a Free Press’ Emmy-winning video team.

Firefighters during work

Brian Kaufman, who destined “Fire Photo – 1,” creates a mural of Eisner, a self-effacing male who chases fires in a city that has burnt some-more than any other in America. Over a years, Eisner’s photos have been published in metro Detroit newspapers and inhabitant magazines. They also cover glow hire walls.

Most of his work — that includes 8mm films, videos, hundreds of thousands of photographs, some never seen before by a public, and even audio recordings of runner trade from a 1967 demonstration — is tucked divided in his personal archive.

Kaufman, who has been producing video for a Free Press given 2010, starts a 35-minute documentary with some of Eisner’s early black-and-white photographs, — and gradually zooms in on his subject.

Throughout a film, firefighters report Eisner as one of their own, a brother. Having him take their print is a badge of respect.

Eisner began holding photos when he was a boy. He was drafted into a Army and served in Europe. After he returned to Michigan, he befriended firefighters — and began going to fires and holding cinema of them battling blazes.

“It’s something that got into me,” a Roseville proprietor pronounced during an talk final week, while also listening for runner trade on fires. “I’d be pushing around, see a lot of things going down. we usually kept sharpened pictures. It is something we do.”

In 1999, Detroit firefighters threw him a party. Some of them called it a retirement party. But a subsequent day, when a glow alarms rang, Eisner — who is discerning to explain that he has no skeleton to ever retire — was on a stage clicking away.

Eisner, who incited 78 on Friday, is some-more during palliate doing his work than articulate about it.

At one indicate in a film, he realizes he’s no longer behind a camera — though in front of it — and fast ducks out of a frame.

“I’m usually some aged male using around a streets, that’s all,” he said.

The heroes, he said, are a ones using into a blazing building, when everybody else is rushing out.

Exploring underwater

In “Graveyard of a Great Lakes,” executive Eric Seals, a Free Press photographer, takes viewers into a risky, flowing underworld that Trotter pronounced initial desirous him to dive.

“Marine story and ships are fascinating to me,” Trotter, 74, of Canton said. “I got concerned early on in some initial scrutiny and discovery, though if you’d ask me afterwards if somehow it would develop into 35 years of activity, I’d ask we what we were smoking, since we didn’t consider that would be a case.”

Trotter is spooky with his work. He named his vessel Obsessed Too.

Trotter pronounced “The Silent World,” a book created by French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau in a 1950s, drew him to diving. He and his tiny organisation try a Great Lakes for days during a time, acid for wrecks — and documenting a finds for posterity.

To explain a disturb of plague hunting, Trotter compares it to towering climbing: an insinuate — and infrequently fraudulent — experience.

“They do it, and usually they can suffer that singular impulse when they finally rise to a top,” he said. “Well, that find of a boat that we might have been looking for for 10 or 15 years is unequivocally really personal — like a man who reaches a tip of that mountain.”

In a film’s 53 minutes, Seals gives a glance of that experience. He shows what it was like to find a Keystone State — a boat that in 1861 was swallowed by Lake Huron, murdering all aboard. He shows how Trotter’s discoveries have influenced flourishing kin — and in one instance, a ship’s sole survivor.

But a film also illustrates how dangerous plague sport is.

During scarcely dual years of filming a documentary, one of Trotter’s crew, Tim Troup, died in a diving accident.

Trotter estimates he has found scarcely 100 wrecked ships, and since there are a singular number, with any one he uncovers it becomes that most harder to find a next.

It’s a plea he welcomes. Like so many Michiganders, there’s nowhere he’d rather be than on a H2O — or underneath it, in his case.

“We’re really tied to a Great Lakes,” he said. “They’re a good place to enjoy, try and to have as partial of a enlightenment of Michigan.

“I’ve had an event to knowledge life in a fullest.”

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or

Opening night Fire + Water double feature

7:30 p.m. Thursday during a Fillmore Detroit.

Tickets: $20, during,, 800-745-3000. No surcharges during Fillmore Detroit and St. Andrew’s Hall box offices (1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday).

After a films, there will be a row with filmmakers Eric Seals and Brian Kaufman, film subjects David Trotter and Bill Eisner, glow photographer Bill Grimshaw and plague survivor Dennis Hale. Free Press Pulitzer Prize -winner Jim Schaefer will host.

Freep Film Festival

Thursday-March 22

Various venues

Most tickets $10

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