My Cinetopia International Film Festival preview, via IXITI


“Captain Fantastic,” starring Viggo Mortensen, plays at the 2016 Cinetopia International Film Festival.

In 2012, Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater launched the inaugural Cinetopia International Film Festival, which screened about 40 films over the course of four days. The fest’s planners aimed to bring several of the best new features and documentaries from the world’s most prestigious film festivals to Southeast Michigan so that local movie buffs could check them out in a festival atmosphere, too.

Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, Cinetopia has grown in many ways. It now runs for 10 days, from June 3rd through 12th, and more than 50 films will play across more than 120 screenings. Those viewings expand beyond Ann Arbor venues to include those in Detroit, Dearborn and Bloomfield Hills (including The Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience, new this year). And in terms of audience attendance, there has been about a 40 percent increase each year.

“We’re a long way away from maturity, but we’re happy with the growth so far,” said Michigan Theater Executive Director and CEO Russ Collins. “It needed to grow pretty aggressively. … We knew that for (Cinetopia) to be viable—and this depends on the scale of what you want to do, of course—we needed to draw at least 20,000 attendees. … Last year, we got to that 20,000 number, but in order for that to sustain itself, we need to keep growing. … The majority of the financial resources for the festival comes from sponsorships, and that’s been really gratifying. We’ve had good sponsorship support, and that’s key to keeping things growing.” READ THE REST HERE

Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: see Ellie Goulding, Cyndi Lauper, ‘Station Eleven’ author and more


Cyndi Lauper will play a concert at the Michigan Theater on Saturday night!

Ellie Goulding at EMU. Enjoy catchy electronic pop (with elements of dance music and ambient synth-pop) by this young British singer-songwriter who first gained attention with her 2010 hit singles “Starry Eyed” and “Guns & Horses.” She has a new best-selling CD, “Delirium.” Opening acts are Bebe Rexha, an Albanian American electropop singer-songwriter who co-wrote Eminem’s 2013 hit “Monster,” and Years & Years, a London (UK) synthpop trio. Monday at 7 p.m. at EMU Convocation Center, 799 N. Hewitt (north off Washtenaw) in Ypsilanti. Tickets $35-$59.50, available in advance at and (800) 745-3000.

For Pete’s Sake: A Pete Seeger Birthday Tribute and Memorial at The Ark. This celebration of the late folk legend features in-the-round performances, with lots of sing-alongs and between-song stories. The all-star lineup of area singer-songwriters includes Chris Buhalis, Judy Banker, Billy King, Paul Tinkerhess, Matt Watroba, Annie & Rod Capps, and Gemini, an acoustic quartet now that twin brothers Laszlo and Sandor Slomovits have been joined by San’s daughter Emily and bassist Jacob Warren. A benefit for the Ark. Wednesday at 8 p.m. at 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15, available in advance at,, and 734-763-TKTS.

See “Station Eleven” author Emily St. John Mandel at WCC. Check out this reading by bestselling NYC-based writer whose 2014 novel, “Station Eleven,” was chosen as the 2015-16 Great Michigan Read (and it’s one of my favorite novels of recent years). Set in the aftermath of a future flu epidemic, the novel tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region. Wednesday at 7 p.m. at WCC’s Morris Lawrence Bldg., in Towsley Auditorium, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. Free. Continue reading