Published: April 14, 2020

MSU Filmetry Festival to present free, live-streamed movies, music and more

Contact(s): , Beth Brauer University Communications

Sometimes you have to pick between a poetry reading, a movie or a night of music. On Thursday, April 23, you can experience all three with the MSU Filmetry Festival, which will feature a free live-streamed premiere of 13 short films adapted from work in the anthology “Respect: The Poetry of Detroit Music.” 

This year’s festival includes films made by MSU students, faculty and staff, as well as other filmmakers outside of the MSU community. The live premiere will stream at 7 p.m. on YouTube.

“Respect: The Poetry of Detroit Music” was edited by Jim Daniels and M.L. Liebler and published by Michigan State University Press. The collection of poems and lyrics shows the global impact of Detroit’s music scene and includes work by Grammy award-winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees and many poets. The work in the anthology engages with jazz, R&B, rap, punk, techno, blues and rock & roll. 

MSU film studies professor and Filmetry co-founder Peter Johnston said the Filmetry Festival gives students in the MSU Film Studies Program a chance to promote some new and exciting work. “Filmmakers are often just looking for a bit of inspiration, and poetry gives the filmmaker a chance to really take some creative risks with the work,” Johnston said. “We were so excited to be able to work with the “Respect” anthology to create this thematic thread throughout the films. While the pandemic outbreak certainly altered our plans for an in-person premiere, this online streaming premiere gives us a chance to reach an even wider audience.”

MSU Filmetry Festival co-founder and poet Cindy Hunter Morgan said the festival is a great opportunity for collaboration between filmmakers and poets. “This is a meaningful way to build relationships across our campus community, across communities of artists and throughout a wider community,” Hunter Morgan said. “The live-streamed event also comes at a time when we need to feel the presence of community. So many events have been canceled. It feels like we need this evening of art now more than ever. Poetry and films offer us ways to simultaneously escape the burden of what is ‘real’ and engage with what is real. That’s the value and beauty of art.” 

Hunter Morgan also said the Filmetry Festival gives students opportunities to work as peers with other artists. “This model dissolves some of the distinctions between who teaches and who is taught. The MSU Filmetry Festival unites artists and gives students an opportunity to share their work on the same platform as faculty, staff and other professional filmmakers. It’s also a great way to connect students with artists working in other genres. We think that’s an important model to share.” 

A selection of films from last year’s MSU Filmetry Festival is available at