by Gina Myers

One week from today the 5th annual Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival kicks off in Bay City. This year's event runs from Thursday, September 30th through Sunday, October 3rd, and is set to feature quality independent films, from student shorts, to documentaries, to feature films; lectures, panel discussions, and a workshop featuring producers, directors, and actors; a block party; two nights of music; and numerous receptions. Here are some of the highlights. Be sure to visit Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival's website for the full schedule of events and full list of films.

Opening Night Street Party: On Thursday from 5 to 8 pm in Downtown Bay City on Saginaw Street between Center and 5th Avenues, stop by for a night of food, drinks, filmmakers, and music. Opening night film, Cherry, filmed in Michigan and starring Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars, Smallville) and Laura Allen (Terriers), screens at 8:15 at the State Theatre. Producer Matthew Fine and actress Laura Allen will be present to participate in the post-screening question & answer session. Ticket to attend the film & party: $10. To attend film only, or party only: $6. All access passes, currently $35, will grant entrance to both events.

Two Nights of Music:
On Friday night, stop by the Vault at 505 E. Midland Street to see six local bands, including Mitrata, Vanagon, Silverspork, Business Midgets, Two Roads to Mexico, and Neighborhood Muscle. Doors open at 7 pm. Cost of entry: $5. On Saturday night, see nationally touring act Matt Pond PA at the Masonic Temple (Madison & 5th), with Ghost Heart (Grand Rapids), Kid Coma (Flint), and Arts of Life, Arts of Death (Saginaw). Doors are at 8 pm. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at the State Theatre Box Office or through etix.com. All access pass covers entry. Also, be sure to check out the Lebanon PA, screening at 6 pm at the State Theatre on Saturday and at 4 pm at the Delta College Planetarium on Sunday, which Matt Pond PA recorded the score for. Director Ben Hicknernell will be on hand to answer questions at Saturday's screening.

Workshops, lectures, and panel discussions: The festival features a number of events that allows you to get up close and personal with the professional actors and filmmakers who will be in attendance. On Friday, at 3 pm at the Wirt Library, attend "Writing for the Screen," a free lecture by Christopher Weekes whose film Bitter & Twisted screened at the festival in 2008. On Saturday, attend the Filmmaker Panel Discussion, which will feature all of this year's guests, at 1 pm at the Delta College Planetarium. This year there is also a two-day workshop, "Acting in Film," brought to you by Matt Socia. The workshop will take place at 10 am on Saturday and at 3 pm on Sunday. Registration is required. The class costs $35 for adults and $25 for students.

For more information, visit http://baycityhhmfest.com/. Also, check back at 360 Main Street for more information on the festival in the days to come. Click on the HHM logo at top right of  360 Main Street for the event schedule. 

© Gina Myers, 2010