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KickstARTing Creativity: Why Communities Matter More Than Ever

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • Why Communities Matter More Than Ever: “Too much focus on individualism makes us indifferent to the suffering of others. Civic engagement is the remedy. When we get engaged, we see the struggles of others who are our neighbors. Then we can be part of the solution.”
  • The Citizen Cycle: “James worked with a group of 8 people who are 65+, over 12 sessions, to develop a group identity for a bike gang now called The Bee Bandits. The work developed into a cycling performance, reclaiming space for older people in the city.”
  • What Determines the Public Health Outcomes of Cities?: “Safe, well-lit walking paths allow residents to make the choice to walk instead of drive and increase their overall health.”
  • Fix Your Intersection, Fix Your City: “Our intersections can be so much more than crosswalks and traffic lights. Improved intersection design makes movement safer and more predictable for everyone. An intersection can also provide all sorts of localized benefits, from saving lives to increasing accessibility to creating public space to improving air quality.”
  • Is Car Culture a Toxic Masculinity Problem?: “the tone of car ads took a hard left turn away from the dependable family sedan and towards athletic performance and sleek individualism. The aspirationally gorgeous stay-at-home mom was suddenly forced out of the carpool-lane driver’s seat — and she was replaced with ….”

Good Films for a Better World at 2020 GFFF

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the the 2020 Greater Farmington Film Festival and we have a great lineup of films that are sure to inspire good, starting with the opening film, THE PRISON WITHIN.

Katherin Hervey, director of THE PRISON WITHIN, is coming in from Seattle to join us for a Q&A following the film.

Take a look at the full schedule below. All-access wristbands and tickets for individual films are available for purchase now!

The Prison Within

Directed by Katherin Hervey

Narrated by Hill Harper

Thursday, March 19th at 7:30 pm

Smith Theatre at Oakland Community College

Katherin Hervey, director of THE PRISON WITHIN, will join us for a Q&A following the film.

Best Social Justice Documentary at 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

THE PRISON WITHIN is a relevant and timely documentary exploring the destructive impact of untreated trauma on individuals and communities through the powerful stories of survivors of violent crimes and prisoners incarcerated for murder in San Quentin prison. The prisoners and survivors come together and participate in the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG)—an innovative restorative justice program enabling prisoners to discover how the trauma they’ve experienced contributed to their criminality and to understand the impact their crimes have on their victims. Together, the prisoners and survivors confront and expose the pain and shame caused by the extreme trauma they’ve experienced throughout their lives.

Seattle-based Director Katherin Hervey, a former Los Angeles Public Defender and volunteer prison college instructor, is the first filmmaker to gain access to chronicle these intimate and revealing sessions inside San Quentin Prison. In a world where rehabilitation is vital for us as a society to heal the wounds of trauma, this film dives deeply into what is needed to move toward that goal. 

Normie

Directed by Kurt Neale

(Documentary Feature, 74 Minutes)

Friday, March 20th at 7:00 pm

Farmington Civic Theater

When Annemarie looks in the mirror, she sees Down syndrome. She hates it. To her, the diagnosis is a giant barricade keeping her from the independence and intimacy she desperately desires. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to understand what it means to be normal.

“NORMIE is an incredibly powerful film about love and the fundamental, universal truth that despite our differences, we all have something special and unique to contribute to this world. Every life has value and I firmly believe that the true beauty of this world lies in us all being exactly who we are. This film will inspire meaningful, deeper conversations about inclusion and disrupt the status quo as we know it.”

Anthony K. Shriver – Founder, Chairman & CEO of Best Buddies International

Driveways

Directed by Andrew Ahn

(Narrative Feature, 83 Minutes)

Friday, March 20th at 9:00 pm

Farmington Civic Theater

Kathy (Golden Globe® Nominee Hong Chau), a single mother, travels with her shy eight-year-old son Cody to Kathy’s late sister’s house which they plan to clean and sell. As Kathy realizes how little she knew about her sister, Cody develops an unlikely friendship with Del (Golden Globe®, Tony® winner and acting legend Brian Dennehy), the Korean War vet and widower who lives next door. Over the course of a summer, and with Del’s encouragement, Cody develops the courage to come out of his shell and, along with his mother, finds a new place to call home.

NYICFF Kid Flicks One

Catch the best short films from around the world for ages 3-7!

Presented in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival

Saturday, March 21st at 10:30 am

Farmington Civic Theater

Children young and old will enjoy KID FLICKS ONE, brimming with fun and clever stories of growth and transformation.

If you’ve ever been the youngest of the group, you’ll sympathize with the little tadpole who always falls a tad behind in the charming KUAP. Catching up on penmanship is the name of the game if you want to graduate from pencils in the winning doc Pen Licence. Then little ones are in charge and grown-ups get to play when the hilarious Flipped reworks the script. These shorts and so much more await you!

Skid Row Marathon

Directed by Mark Hayes

(Documentary Feature, 85 Minutes)

Saturday, March 21st at 7:00 pm

Farmington Civic Theater

When a criminal court judge starts a running club on LA’s notorious skid row and begins training a motley group of addicts and criminals to run marathons, lives begin to change.

SKID ROW MARATHON follows four runners as they rise from the mean streets of LA to run marathons around the world, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn.

Their story is one of hope, friendship, and dignity.

By the Grace of God 

Directed by François Ozon

(Narrative Feature, French with English Subtitles, 137 Minutes)

Saturday, March 21st at 9:00 pm

Farmington Civic Theater

François Ozon’s gripping drama follows three men who band together to dismantle the code of silence that continues to protect a priest who abused them decades ago. Based on events from the 2019 conviction of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon for concealing the conduct of Father Bernard Preynat, BY THE GRACE OF GOD compassionately illustrates the varying effects of trauma on survivors and their families in this urgent portrait of resistance, the power of mobilization, and the mysteries of faith.

The Euphoria of Being

Directed by Réka Szabó

(Documentary Feature, Hungarian with English Subtitles, 83 Minutes)

Human Rights Award, Sarajevo Film Festival, 2019

Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 pm

Holocaust Memorial Center

“Throwing all caution to the wind, I asked a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor to create a dance theatre piece with me. I wanted everyone to see Éva Fahidi and to provide a space for her traumas in a dialogue with a young dancer, Emese. Where would the boundaries of understanding, of finding common ground lie? Would they be able to slip into each other’s skin? Can we ever learn from the past? This rehearsal period was one of the most profound periods of my life. The film takes us on a journey through the history of the 20th century, through loss, the power of dance, the ageing body, love, a relationship across a 60-year age gap, and life’s hidden strengths.”  — Réka Szabó, Director

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Michelle Millman

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature dancer Michelle Millman.

When did you first start dancing?

At age four the doctor sent me to ballet school to correct my flat feet. Not only did I gain strength, but I fell in love with the beauty of movement, which I have pursued all my life. Now I am drawn to the landscape of emotion as expressed in Flamenco dance.

After years of study in dance, movement and sport, the joy of movement remains my constant life-giving source. It has led me down so many paths of discovery . . . culture, literature, history, movement science, travel and friendship.  I see now that dance has been my very essences, my connection to the world.

My mission is to continue to explore movement and to share it with others by performing and teaching. 

I fell in love with the beauty of movement, which I have pursued all my life. Now I am drawn to the landscape of emotion as expressed in Flamenco dance.

Did you receive formal training?

I received a B.S. Degree in Education from the University of Michigan, and an M.F.A. in Dance from the School of the Arts, New York University. I have attended many workshops, master classes and seminars, notably Spanish American Dance Festival in Chicago and Adult Theatre Camp in Stratford, Canada. I currently study Tai Chi. I enjoy learning.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

I organize, perform and teach a performing group, Companeros de Flamenco. We perform the vibrant Spanish Art, Flamenco. We are listed in the Touring Directory of the Michigan Arts and Humanities Council. We perform around the state. Last year we performed at many community events, including Cromaine Library Second Sunday Series in Hartland, International Festival of Holland, Multicultural Music & Dance Concert in Livonia, Canton’s 2018 International Festival, Willard Library in Battle Creek, and Huron Valley Council for the Arts in Highland.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

I wish that Farmington Hills had an active and supportive arts community.  The last time my students performed at the Festival of the Arts at the Costick Center was April 2015. Occasionally we have performed in other Farmington events, however, there were budget cuts and dance was subsequently eliminated.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

I think the Arts brings vitality and beauty to a community.  It introduces us to new visions or perspectives, and it encourages involvement and communication.

Learn more about Michelle Millman here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

KickstARTing Creativity: Using Dance to Bridge Art & Activism

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • 8 Things That Should Go Extinct in Cities: “The age of the strip mall with parking in front is waning, and for good reason: nothing kills the sidewalk experience like being sandwiched between a parking lot and a busy street. But the new replacement trend isn’t always positive.”
  • Using Dance to Bridge Art and Activism: “I’m trying to have a bigger conversation about social conditions, and sometimes I’m having that conversation in a really pensive, sort of introspective kind of performance,” Cullors said. “And then sometimes it’s really extroverted—like, let’s get up and dance together.”
  • Culture and the City: “The Urban Land Institute UK Urban Art Forum recently released a new six-step guide to including culture in developments; we look at some of the ways to ensure that culture remains a core part of city planning.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature novelist Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen.

When did you first start writing?

I studied journalism and history at The University of Michigan and have worked as a reporter and editor the majority of my life. But as much as I enjoyed journalism, I always had a burning desire to write a novel. After my parents died within less than a year of each other, I realized that life is short and that a dream deferred can die.

So, I set aside journalism, and for ten years worked hard and struggled to find success as a fiction writer. Grateful it came.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Northville Poet Kathleen Ripley Leo, who has published fifteen collections of poems, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I took a novel writing class at Schoolcraft College from her about a decade ago, and we became fast friends. I’ve learned so much from her.

Rejection is inevitable. Use it to get better.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

I am a member of Detroit Working Writers.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

My novel Celestina’s Burnings. The best part of writing and getting this book published is giving an everyday baker girl a voice. Celestina pushes against the most powerful people and ideas of Western Civilization. I love how she adapts. And in the end, with a little help from her friends, she just might get the better of them all.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” —Toni Morrison

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger writers?

Rejection is inevitable. Use it to get better. Study, learn, and experiment with scene and structure. Read books about writing and attend writer’s conferences. At the end, with lots of work, you will become the writer you dream to be.

Learn more about Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

KickstARTing Creativity: What Makes a City Lovable?

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • What Makes a City Lovable: “A great walk evokes all sorts of memories, emotions, and random associations. The sensory memory of the feel of a place under your feet, the smell of its air, the tinge of the lighting, associated with the people you’ve known and loved there. A walk through a lovable city brings out the love in us.”
  • Ten Trends to Impact the Arts in 2020: “Artist collectives are forming powerful political bodies, which are eliciting great work and manifesting political, organizational, and field shifts.”
  • Can Art Fight Fake News?: “’Is there anything stronger than fear?’ The audience responded popcorn-style, shouting out suggestions: love, grief, loss, and anger.”
  • Britain’s Bold Plan for High Speed Rail: “While the use of the fastest tracks all the way has not yet been fully confirmed, high-speed rail could revolutionize north-south travel in England, shaving an hour off the journey time between London and Manchester and tripling the current capacity of trains along the route.”
  • Legalizing Play in City Streets: “It makes absolutely no sense to have this ordinance on the books which criminalizes the behavior of children that is extremely natural.”