The Top 10 Best Films of 2014

As we entered the end of the year, I had a shortlist of candidates for my choice of the best films of the year, with an obvious first-place contender that I thought nothing was going to top. "Boyhood" held that position for the longest time, "Birdman" came close to topping it because it offered great artistry and craft, then I saw Andrey Zvaginstevs fourth feature film "Leviathan". I didn't know what to expect other than the fact I loved his previous film "Elena". I knew little about the film other than it won Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes, but as it unraveled it gave me a great emotion that echoed the emotions I experience as I watch the films by Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, and Andrei Tarkovsky. It offered great artistry and the a strength in it's direction and visual atmosphere that is skillful in its perfection. It was there where I realized I may have fond  the true winner of 2014.

Here is my top 10 list of 2014. This was a very great year for cinema, and anybody who claims cinema is a dying art form aren't watching the right films. These films listed below can convince anyone that cinema is still the greatest art form. To view my previous top 10 lists please visit my Letterboxd archive at  http://letterboxd.com/Mulhollandrob/lists/

The Top 10 Films of 2014

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 - MPI News -  Motion Picture Institute in Troy MI - leviathan

1. Leviathan (d. Andrei Zvyaginstev)

The fourth feature from Russian director Andrei Zvyaginstev, is the true triumph of world cinema released in 2014 (Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Winter Sleep" comes really close. The film is a shattering study of Putin's corrupted Russia. It's part psychological thriller, part political satire, and an unsettling family drama. The film explores a family that is forced off their property by local bureaucrats, which raises severe questions about the current state of Russia, which withdrew from it's Communist structure in 1991, only for the same corruption to continue. The film is very cynical in it's views about power structure, class, and greed. The film offers the most magnificent and ravishing landscape cinematography of the year. The film maintains the level of suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock film, and captures the spirit of Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky. This is fully realized work of art, and a pure work of filmmaking genius.This is what cinema is about.

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 - MPI News -  Motion Picture Institute in Troy MI - Boyhood

2. Boyhood (d. Richard Linklater)

"Boyhood" is a film that will stand the test of time, a cinematic landmark that is greatly assembled and unlike anything you’ve seen before. The film unfolds tenderly and gracefully, all the actors and talent involved in this film should be commended for the extraordinary commitment on this film. All the actors involved deliver naturalistic and empathetic performances. I truly believe everyone will identify and empathize with the material depicted in the film. The film beautifully explores how time can pass us by. During a conversation towards the end between father and son, Mason brings up a question relevant to both the film and reality he asks his dad, "What's the point of all of this?" As Ethan Hawkes character puts it, everyone's just winging it. But it's the mom's sudden realization as she says goodbye to Mason as he moves away from home, that life passes us by so fast. "Boyhood" is the most tender and emotionally poignant film of 2014.

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 - MPI News -  Motion Picture Institute in Troy MI - Birdman(1)

3. Birdman (d. Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu)

Hands down Alejandro G. Innaritu’s most audacious, most formally daring, and most magnificent film to date, “Birdman: or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” announces a triumphant return for iconic lead actor Michael Keaton, who already places himself as a strong contender in winning the Oscar for Best Actor. The sharply written script, which is very satirical in its exploration of stardom, pop culture, and narcissism, is co-written by Innaritu, Nicholas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo.

In many ways the film is a deconstructionist and witty satire on show-biz and broadway, where both worlds collide due to actors frustrations with Hollywood.  Innaritu in his 5th feature, who directed the 2006 masterpiece “Babel”, as well as such other wrenching works as “21 Grams”, and “Amores Perros, here switches up his aesthetic and visual style. Staging each scene in singular, unbroken long takes that  gives the film a theatrical and lively feeling. The result is magnificent and astonishing.

“Birdman” in a sense plays out like an updated version of Billy Wilder’s, 1950 noir masterpiece “Sunset Boulevard”, which is one of my personal favorite films of all time. Just as “Sunset Boulevard” explored aging in the entertainment industry, "Birdman" also suggests the insecure process that actors can’t face, the fear and reality of irrelevance. "Birdman", and "Leviathan" are the most visually pleasing films of the year. 

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4. Winter Sleep (d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new drama is  intimate, astonishing and a haunting masterpiece about class, marriage, religion,  egotism and power. Sounds like "Leviathan" right?  Winner of the Palme d’Or at last years Cannes Film Festival. Clocking in at 3 hours 15 minutes, the film is not some unendurable art film. The film is epic on an emotional and technical scale. It's a stunning and illuminating work, driven by rich scenery and emotionally affecting human tragedy, and like "Leviathan" exploring it's homeland, "Winter Sleep" film explores the current political and cultural status of Turkey, a country that is conflicted as it's torn between secularism and an Islamic world. Watch the film for it's first 15 mins, it will hook you.

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5. Under the Skin  (d. Jonathan Glazer)

Visionary director Jonathan Glazer (Birth, Sexy Beast) first film in a decade returns with "Under the Skin". A highly visual, purely hypnotic work of artistry. The film is about an alien who kidnappes humans and absorbs their life to sustain her species. The story is actually the same concept of "Species" (1995), but Glazer takes a "B" movie sci-fi premise and transcends "Under the Skin" into something visually spellbinding and sensory. A film of great mood, atmosphere, feeling and tone. This is a true art film that can easily be compared to David Lynch's "Eraserhead", since it leaves the viewer with deep abstractions, eerie sounds, and luminous visuals. This is one of Scarlett Johansson's most brilliant and understated performances of the year.

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6. The Immigrant (d. James Gray)

James Gray is the most overlooked artist of our time, a filmmaker that has never gotten the break he receives. "The Immigrant" which finally received a DVD release date of early April, which is almost one year from it's May limited theatrical release almost feels like an abandon treasure. A film that was greatly overlooked by its distributors--The Weinstein Co. The film is a luminous and heartbreaking tale of desperation, regret, sin, and suffering in 1921 New York, where impoverished immigrants fled to America for hope, and ultimately a better life. Marion Cotillard delivers the year's best performance as Ewa, a Polish Catholic immigrant who is forced into prostitution by a cunning pimp named Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), while falling in love with her. Ewa holds disgust and regret for her sin, but does it so she can raise enough money to cure her sister who is being detained on Ellis Island who suffers from tuberculous.   "The Immigrant" is a gorgeous and equally heartbreaking film, a film that gives glimpses of what we project of what our ancestors endured to get here.

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7. Foxcatcher (d. Bennett Miller)

Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher:, a film that is being billed as a "true story" movie, however it doesn't fall into the typical true story trappings and cliches. What's brilliant about "Foxcatcher" is how Bennett Miller doesn't play into the typical formulas, in fact he builds the story up with imagery, visuals, and internalizes the characters mind-state. The story is a devastating chapter in American sports history. It's a very chilling and shattering film that doesn't leave you with simple conclusions. It just unravels with deep ambiguity, and the framing and visuals build up a brooding atmosphere that echoes the work of Andrey Tarkovsky, and Lars von Trier. "Foxcatcher" is a film that masterfully studies desire, the class system, and the co-opt of the American dream and American institutions.

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 - MPI News -  Motion Picture Institute in Troy MI - The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (d. Wes Anderson)

 A film that brought me great joy in every moment, with occasional side trips into deadpan humor, tender pathos, and slapstick. Wes Anderson's s combines his artificial approach into something that's hilarious and equally moving. IT's an exquisite approach to storytelling, memory and how art lives on. This is one of Anderson's greatest accomplishments to date.

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9. A Most Violent Year (d. J.C. Chandor)

Out of all the recent American crime films released the last few years, J.C Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" was the most engaging  and the most refreshing. Instead of using typical mobster stand offs with hitman, Chandor dives into the world of natural gas circa 1981 New York. "A Most Violent Year" touches on economy, power, greed, corruption, violence, and the co-opt of the American dream without feeling heavy-handed. This is the greatest American crime film since David Croenenberg's 2007 masterpiece "Eastern Promises". 

The Top 10 Best Films of 2014 - MPI News -  Motion Picture Institute in Troy MI - Nightcrawler


10. Nightcrawler (d. Dan Gilroy)

Dan Gilroy's highly enjoyable thriller tells the story of a man whose risks, accomplishments and persistence allowed him to capture the American dream in the most unethical matters. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a career defining and tranformative performance as Louis Bloom. A man so devoted to elevating himself that he goes to extreme depths. He leads a very lonely life, and decides to become a "Nightcrawler", an industry term for cameramen who go out and find news coverage on brutal crimes that sell the footage to local media networks. Gyllenhaal embodies this character well, and  Gilroy creates a brooding world of media frenzy and obsession. At the same  they show Blom battling obsessions that finally overcome him as he tries to conquer all. The dreamer of the world of wanting financial and business success becomes the nightmare in a nightmarish world of exploitation , unethical journalism and business practices.  Gilroy balances a riveting portrait of a tabloid modern TMZ era, and Renne Russo is brilliant as the newsroom director that laps up Blooms footage, together they form  a wicked romance and mutual understanding of each other.

Runners-Up in Alphabetical Order

  1. "Gone Girl"-- is David Fincher's 10th feature, and it's one of his best. Self adapted by Gillian Flynn based on the best-selling novel, "Gone Girl" is many things. A satire on media frenzy, a study of deception, a deconstruction of modern marriage, and most importantly Fincher uses the camera as a brilliant visual motif, how it can shape and alter perception and realities.
  2. "Ida" is Pawel Pawilowski's beautiful love song to post-World War II Europe. Taking place in the early 1960's in Poland, the film is about a young Catholic nun named Ida who discovers she is Jewish, and that her parents perished from the Nazi regime when she was an infant. The film offers some of the greatest cinematography of the year, with ravishing black and white, and astonishing shot compositions of mostly wide shots to show Ida living in a world of revealing horrors and difficult truths.
  3. "Mr. Turner"  stars Timothy Spall in a bravura performance as the great painter J.M.W Turner, a man who studies the landscapes around him that he later puts into his canvas. Turners paintings are now featured in museums around the world, and the film brilliantly gets inside the eccentric mind of a great artist. This is not a routine biopic, Mike Leigh gives the genre a refreshing and unique approach.
  4. "The Rover" was the most unsettling and disturbing film I saw all year. Directed by David Michod who did the 2010 Australian drama "Animal Kingdom", here creats a world of what an economic collapse world looks like. It's post-apocalyptic, impeccably made thriller in the vein of "Mad Max", and "Two Lane Blacktop". Telling the story of a drifter played to perfection by Guy Pearce, who sets out to find his stolen car that holds something valuable to him after it's stolen from by a group of bandits. Robert Pattinson is superb as a simpleton brother to one of the bandits, they find themselves caught in a world that has lost empathy.
  5. "Whiplash" portrays a world of artistic suffering and striving for perfection. It raises questions of what can create greatness. Can we become great artists if everyone around us rewards us and showers us with false compliments? Or do artists become greater with criticisms, and in the case of Damien Chazzle's electrifying drama, do artists need brutal confrontation to push themselves to be greater?  In a virtuoso performance by Miles Teller, and J.K. Simmons , the film doesn't sugarcoat their rivalry, the emotional abuse, and ultimate odd respect they have for one other. The film shows Simmons has a conductor and teacher of Jazz who's set on discovering the next Charlie Parker. The effect here is maddening and thought-provoking. 

Close but no cigar-other excellent films of 2014  

The Babadook, Calvary, Citizenfour, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Drop,  Enemy, Finding Vivian Mairer, Force Majeure, Jodorowsky's Dune, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Homesman, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Interstellar, Life Itself, Nymphomaniac, The Skeleton Twins, Snowpiercer, Two Days, One Night, Wild.

Most Overrated Films of 2014

American Sniper, Dear White People, The Imitation Game, The Lego Movie,  Selma, The Theory of Everything.

Film reviews are courtesy of Robert Butler.

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The Badger Game - Exclusive Fangoria Interview

THE BADGER GAME, the new kidnapping thriller from Josh Wagner and Thomas Zambeck, is able to stand out among it’s straight-faced and bleak brethren. THE BADGER GAME takes aspects of both horror comedy and torture films, twisting them into...

Michigan Acting Program Workshop

In The GodFather, actor Marlon Brando improvises one of the most famous movie scenes of all time by incorporating a cat which was never a part of the original script.   In Clockwork Orange, actor Malcolm McDowell breaks into "Singing...

"Broken" Wins Telly Award

Congratulations to 2013 MPI Alumni Jonathan D'Ambrosio and his cast and crew for his film "Broken"!!   "Broken" recently took home a bronze statuette at the Telly Awards!!   More Films by Jonathan...

One Day Film Workshop on August 21

Join us on Thursday, August 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a one day workshop called:  Video Production - Soup to Nuts.     The workshop through DAFT welcomes registrants of all experience levels as the workshop covers...

See Who Made The June Directors Cut

Motion Picture Institute Happenings "Ask The Director" on Facebook Nominate Motion Picture Institute Alumni Updates Alumni Film Update: Heidi Philipsen-Meissner Alumni Update: Greg Mitchell Method...

Ask The Director: Recap

Our fans on Facebook really enjoyed the first ever Ask The Director last week.  We thought we would share some of the top questions asked by fans and answered by Motion Picture Institute President Doug Schulze.   Q: Hi Doug. Thanks for...

Alumni Film Update: Heidi Philipsen-Meissner

  Motion Picture Institute Alumnus Heidi Philipsen-Meissner reflects on her inspiration for becoming a film maker, the rigors of being a female in a mostly male dominated industry, and how having the right perspective on her film career...

Alumni Update: Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell, a 2009 Alumnus of Motion Picture Institute, directed the newest music video for Twiztid & Blaze called "SICK MAN".   In this exclusive “Sick Man” music video premiere from Detroit group Twiztid...

Ask The Director on Friday June 20

Join Motion Picture Institute on Friday, June 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. “Ask The Director” a LIVE question and answer event.   Chat live with the President of Motion Picture Institute; Filmmaker and Educator Douglas Schulze...

Method Acting Short Film

The film and acting workshop at Motion Picture Institute in March produced this great short film called Method Acting (edited by Sam Arslanian).   Background   When he finds out his wife is pregnant, he cannot believe how his world is...

Alumni Film Update: The Darker Side of Life

Congratulations to Eric Loubert (2013 graduate of Motion Picture Institute) who just wrapped on his short film 'The Darker Side of Life".     The film is an anthology based on four different Edgar Allen Poe Poems. Motion Picture...

Motion Picture Institute at Detroit Comic Con

Motion Picture Institute was proud to be a part of the 25th Anniversary of Motor City Comic Con 2014.   The event held at The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI featured dealers and exhibitors from across the country, offering a...

2014 Critics' Choice Awards Recap

The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association to honor the finest in cinematic achievement.   2014 Critics' Choice Award Winners   Best Picture – “12 Years a...

MTV Movie Awards Winners

The MTV Movie Awards are known for offering some of the most outrageous and edgy film awards that never make to other venues such as the Academy Awards.   Nonetheless, there is a growing base of movie and film fans that love these awards...

See Who Made The Directors Cut

Learn about the latest events, alumni happenings, resources, information, and opportunities in the film industry from Motion Picture Institute.   Motion Picture Institute Happenings Online Casting Call Ends May 23 5 Things Every...

Feature Film: Moontrap Target Earth

"Moontrap Target Earth" is a feature film being shot on the Motion Picture Institute sound stage in Troy, Michigan.   The feature film is about a 14,000 year old spacecraft that is discovered at an excavation site. Created by a...

Student Film Auditions Set For Saturday May 31

Motion Picture Institute will be holding auditions for roles in student films at its film school on Saturday, May 31.     If You Received a Call Back   If you have received a call back after applying through our Online Casting...

Alumni Film Update: "Broken"

Motion Picture Institute Alumnus (2013) Jonathan D'Ambrosio's film "Broken" took home a Platinum Award at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival this past weekend!   Motion Picture Institute Acting Student Julie Kline...

Alumni Film Update: Rick Cramblett

Rick was doing locations on zero budget shorts and features. In his down time, he participated in "Dial a Prayer" as a Set Dresser for a friend. That opportunity lead to Eminem's Headlight music video, and carried on to Eloise which is in...

Alumni Film Update: Amber Fritz

Motion Picture Institute Alumnus Amber Fritz worked on the set of "How To Catch A Monster" as the Script Supervisor.  During production, she was able to grab a quick photo with one of the stars of the film.  When she is not on...

Alumni Film Update: Nick Deroo

Congratulations to Motion Picture Institute Alumnus Nick Deroo on the wrap of "Get On Up".  Nick was the Assistant Location Manager for the film produced by Imagine Entertainment.   Keep up the great work Nick.  We are all...

Your Career Awaits at Michigan's Top Film School

  A Private Tour or Open House has inspired all of our students to pursue a career in the film industry. If you are serious about a career in film we encourage you to apply for the Motion Picture Production Program.   Below are only...

The April Directors Cut

Learn about the events, alumni happenings, resources, information, and opportunities in the film industry from Motion Picture Institute.     Motion Picture Institute Happenings   Hearing Aids for Teddy The Dark Below...

Batman vs. Superman Casting Call

  Casting Call For Batman vs. Superman The upcoming film "Batman vs. Superman" will be holding a casting call on Sunday, April 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.   The casting call will be held at the Somerset Inn located at...

Dial A Prayer

The Indie feature Dial A Prayer is being filmed in The Metro Detroit Area, now through the summer. The feature, starring Brittany Snow and William Macy follows a young woman (Snow) who serves community service at a prayer request call center. ...

Alumni Film Update: Aaron Russman

Fear the Crooked Corpse relentlessly challenges the audiences’ perception of reality in its telling of a dubious revenge tale.     Edgar (Rick Dethlefsen), a meek, honest man seeks retribution for his daughter's (Kelly Kirstein)...

"Divide in Concord" by Kris Kaczor

Divide in Concord at Hot Docs Divide in Concorde was selected for "The Best of Hot Docs" during its premier at the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (a.k.a. Hot Docs). U.S. Premier in Nantucket Divide in Concord will...

Alumni Film Update: Srini Gujjula

  THE STANDOFF is a thesis short drama written & directed by MPI Alumni "SRINI GUJJULA". This film was shot on MPI Sound Stage with MPI equipment. Crew includes MPI students from 2013 and 2007 batch. This film has authentic...

Alumni Film Update: Antonio Harris

  Detective James is trapped in a world of drinking and disbelief after he fails to change laws to protect our children. James has fallen from the grace of GOD while trying to understand how a team of kidnappers took his only god daughter...

Student Teddy Dorsette Needs Your Help

Meet Teddy Dorsette, III.  Teddy is currently a student at Motion Picture Institute specializing in film production and screen writing.    As a deaf student, Teddy relies on the use of hearing aids to participating and excel in the...

Alumni Film Update: Colin Duerr

Meet Colin Duerr a filmmaker in metro Detroit, MI and a 2005 graduate of Motion Picture Institute.   Colin just completed a musical short film titled "John Panich is Dead".  Here's the catch...John Panich is not a...

Detroit Unleaded Released on DVD and VOD

About Detroit Unleaded A fresh take on boy-meets-girl comedy set in Detroit. Sami (E.J. Assi) runs his immigrant family's gas station with his cousin Mike (Mike Batayeh, “Breaking Bad”), a charismatic hustler with dreams of expanding...

The 86th Academy Awards Recapped

The motion picture industry is all abuzz about the 86th Academy Awards last evening.  Below the Motion Picture Institute has compiled a list of the Oscar Winners and the unexpeted Oscar snubs.   Oscar Winners   Best Picture - 12...

In Memoriam: Harold Ramis

The film world lost a great Director, Actor, Writer, Producer, and Creative Genius yesterday with the death of Harold Ramis at the age of 69.   Ramis suffered from a chronic condition called autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis that created...

Alumni Film Update: Marco Aluia

Project Diary of Film School Alumnus Marco Aluia   If your going to work for free I would highly recommend doing so for a cause you believe in. As filmmakers we are in an unique position to help get the voice of charitable causes out to the...

The Dogs' Fighter

Meet dog’s best friend. The inspirational and life changing animal rights documentary The Dogs’ Fighter is now available via Amazon Video On Demand.   The Dogs’ Fighter is the acclaimed true story of a retired MMA...

Alumni Film Update: Where Are They Now?

One of the key considerations that students have prior to enrollment at Motion Picture Institute is their opportunities following graduation.   We thought it would be helpful to offer an insider look at the projects and movie sets where you...

Alumni Film Update: Jeff Tuttle

Motion Picture Institute Alumnus Jeff Tuttle (2013) was in New York city recently to film a promo for AMC's new season of The Walking Dead.   You'll really enjoy the video below that shows "walkers" lurking below the streets of New...

In Memoriam: Shirley Temple

People around the world are mourning the loss of the legendary actress and ambassador Shirley Temple Black.   Referred to as "America's Little Darling", Temple passed away at the age of 85 from natural causes on Monday February, 10...

The Directors Cut

The Motion Picture Institute would like to welcome you to The Directors Cut. On a regular basis we will be sharing resources with you for ongoing information, events, and opportunities in the film industry.       Upcoming...

Meet The Film and Acting Experts on February 19

Meet The Film and Acting Experts     You are invited to join us for our upcoming Open House on Wednesday, February 19 at 6:30 p.m.     Enjoy tours of our classrooms, production facilities, and meet our instructors that...

In Memoriam - Philip Seymour Hoffman

Motion Picture Institute mourns the recent passing of actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman.     Courtesy of WikiPedia   Hoffman, 46, was found deceased in New York on Sunday by friend, playwright, and screenwriter David...

High School Film Workshop

Join the film professionals at Motion Picture Institute on Thursday, March 13 for a one day film workshop for high school students.     The film workshop is open to any high school student in Michigan that would like to make a film on...

Register For Our Media Teachers Symposium

Media Arts Instructors, Media Specialists, Classroom Teachers responsible for school broadcasts, and Administrators join us for a Media Teachers Symposium sponsored by DAFT on Friday, February 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.     The...

Take a Bow

Motion Picture Institute would like to thank you for your attendance and participation this past Saturday at our Annual Casting Call.   We had an overwhelming request from attendees about our Film Program and Acting Program. We encourage you...

Winter Editing Workshop Saturday January 25

  Join us for a Winter Editing Workshop sponsored by DAFT on Saturday, January 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   Our Winter Editing Workshop will focus on an introduction to Editing and Post-Production using Avid Media...

Camp Metamora Used For Batman vs. Superman Scene

Comic Book Movie first broke the news of the upcoming blockbuster Batman vs. Superman being scheduled to film on location in Michigan at Camp Metamora. Warner Bros are working on the camp site in preparation for filming.  Township Fire Chief...

Thank You For Your Donations To the HAVEN Shelter

Motion Picture Institute would like to thank all of our staff, students, graduates, vendors, friends, and contacts for helping make a memorable Holiday for those at the HAVEN Shelter in Pontiac, Michigan.   Your donations that included soap,...

Alumni Film Update: SREEKANTH R VEMPATI

Overall Theme   An Indian Couple meet for a marriage alliance unwillingly but they fall in love by chance.     About The Film   LOVE BY CHANCE is a Telugu (South Indian) language movie directed & produced by MPI...

Alumni Film Update: Jeff Tuttle

Jeff Tuttle, alumnus of Motion Picture Institute, recently was the subject of an article on Fangoria.com which is the top publication for the Horror Industry.     Jeff's film title CATHEXIS features the story of a therapist...

Alumni Film Update: Heidi Philipsen

The actress/producer just wrapped her first big-budget feature principle role opposite megawatt stars Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco in the comedy, THE BUSINESS TRIP.   “It was amazing,” says the actress,...

Alumni Film Update: Andre Ray

Foggy Relations is a film noir type romance that centers around a veteran prostitute, Tiffany Price, and her old friend, Roger Brooks. As the night unfolds we learn more about their complicated history and their foggy future. Covering themes of...

Alumni Film Update: Kris Kaczor

Thank you to Kris Kaczor, an alumnus of Motion Picture Institute, for keeping us up to date on the happenings of his film "Pretty Old". The film has won awards for Best Documentary and Official Selection at film festivals around the...

Films Made In Michigan

Do you know how many films have been made in Michigan?   ListChallenges.com offers 170 films that have partially, or in total, been made right here in Michigan!   Now, here is a pop quiz for all of you future actors and film...

Film Festivals in Michigan

Motion Picture Institute is excited about upcoming film festivals right here in Michigan and would like to share them with you!   Detroit Dreaming Film Festival   When:  January 30 - February 2 Where: 2730 Bagley Street, Detroit,...

Marcus Austin Wins MACCS Scholarship

Motion Picture Institute graduate Marcus Austin was recently awarded by MACCS (Michigan Association of Career Colleges and Schools).   The entire team at Motion Picture Institute is extremely proud of Marcus and his committment to excellence...

Alumni Demo Reels: Rob Frenette

Attention aspiring film makers, we encourage you to check out this demo reel from our very own Rob Frenette at 2007 graduate of Motion Picture Institute.    Check back here soon as we will be getting an update from Rob on his current...

Donation Drive for HAVEN Shelter in Pontiac, Michigan

Motion Picture Institute will be holding a donation drive until December 20, 2013 for the HAVEN Shelter in Pontiac, Michigan.  Please forward this posting to your friends, and, help share the message on your social media accounts to help...

Explore Your Passion For Storytelling

Motion Picture Institute Summer Film Camps are designed for middle and high school students wishing to experience what it is like to work on a film production.   Students gather on the soundstage at Motion Picture Institute and train in a...

This Year's Best Performers in 11 Short Films

Making a Scene:  11 Performances   Enjoy the video below to view the year's best performers that star in 11 original (very) short films directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.     Click the image above...

Highlights From Summer Film Camp

Highlights From Summer Film Camp      This past summer, high school students from around the nation gathered valuable film experience at the High School Film camp at Motion Picture Institute.  Below are two...

Small Business Saturday November 30

We encourage you to participate in Small Business Saturday on November 30 in support of local small businesses like Motion Picture Institute.  Small Business Saturday is the day we all Shop Small and support small businesses around the...

U.S Theatrical Release for The Citizen

The U.S theatrical release of "The Citizen" by Sam Kadi has been set for Friday Setpember 27.   Several markets in Michigan will host the opening of the film including Emagine Theaters in Novi and Canton.  (Other theaters may...

Meet The Dog Fighter at The Detroit Zoo

You attended Doggy Con...   You saw the Dog Fighter Red Carpet premier...   Now, meet the star of the upcoming Feature Documentary the "Dog Fighter" live and in person!  Invite your friends and family to the Detroit...

Student Quotes From Summer Film Camp

"The film camp really helped me learn more about the specific things you do as editing, camera, lighting etc. It was less focused on the acting but more on everything else in film making, including script writing and set design. That was a lot...

Summer Film Camp Recap

The students had a blast developing ideas and expressing them through the craft of filmmaking at the Motion Picture Institute High School Summer Filmmaking Camp! From conceptualizing and brainstorming in pre-production to editing in...

Superman Batman Movie Set To Film In Michigan

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has recently been approved for film incentives by the Michigan Film Office.   The film by Warner Brothers will feature two of the most popular superheroes from the DC Comics series, Batman and...

Calling All Actors In Michigan

Last Call For Acting Program Enrollment The Acting Program through Motion Picture Institute is a fun and challenging class for any actor that wishes to begin their career in the feature film industry and have a close-knit, learning environment...

Detroit Zombie Con Thank You

  Detroit Zombie Con was a complete success the weekend of August 17 and 18 at Motion Picture Institute.   We would like to thank the countless volunteers, vendors, attendees, special guests, and of course all of the well-dressed...

Top 10 Reasons To Be At Detroit Zombie Con

  It's 2 Full Days of EVERYTHING Zombie and Horror! Meet horror screen legends Courtney Gains (Children of The Corn), David Emge (Dawn of The Dead), and Scott H. Reiniger (Dawn of The Dead)! Pay homage to the 35 year...

The MAKO Project

2012 MPI graduate; Matthew Tuppen is hitting the road this Sunday, August 18th  with partner Niko Monjarez and cameraman Noah Sexton to film a documentary, that is evocative artistically and inspirational. In Matthew's own words, he describes...

Dreadlock Mike: This Is Ours

Directed and edited by Motion Picture Institute Graduate Colin Duerr   Dreadlock Mike: This Is Ours from Colin Duerr on Vimeo. Two of the city's most recognizable residents are believed to be dead following at hit and run early Saturday...

Doggy Con 2013 a Complete Success

Thank You!   Motion Picture Institute would like to take the opportunity to thank the attendees, guests, speakers, sponsors, vendors, and those who so graciously donated their time to help make Doggy Con a complete success this past...

Dog Fighter Movie Benefit

  The Dog Fighter; MMA’s Animal Rights Hero is an unflinching documentary that tells the tale of an ailing MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter who comes out of retirement and risks his life to bring awareness to the illegal dog fighting...

Special Effects Movie Makup Seminar July 14

One Day Special Effects Movie Makeup Seminar Sunday, July 14 from Noon to 6:00 p.m. at Motion Picture Institute Learn from two of the most sought after makeup artists and hair stylists in Michigan. Get the latest techniques that will...

Zombie Con 2013 at MPI

  Zombie Con is a Two-Day Event Bringing Together Zombie, and Horror Fans, Creators, Artists, Novelists, Film Makers at Motion Picture Institute in Troy, MI. –August 17th and 18th, 2013.   This two-day event will bring zombie...

Doggy Con at The Motion Picture Institute

DOGGY CON   Doggy Con is a FREE family oriented event for dog lovers during the day and a red carpet movie screening at night. It all happens at Motion Picture Institute in Troy, MI.   On Saturday July 27th from...

MPI Alumni Update from Emamode Edosio

Hello MPI!   I hope everything is going well and wanted to say hi along with an update on my pursuits. I am about to direct a one hour television drama for a TV station. The movie is called "Heaven" and shooting for...

MPI Film Student Jeff Tuttle Forms Old Gods

Current student Jeff Tuttle is a filmmaker by day and a hardcore punk musician by night. He spent several years in a relatively popular hardcore punk band called Dillinger Escape Plan and just formed a new group entitled Old Gods that is...

High School Summer Film Camp 2013 Itenerary

Objective:  To bring interested students together on a film set located on the MPI sound stage to learn and experience the art and the craft of filmmaking with an emphasis on the importance of collaboration and networking - while under the...

High School Summer Film Acting Camp 2013

Objective:  To bring interested and enthusiastic students together to grow, and develop a foundation with the art and craft of film acting. The workshop will spotlight the essential guidelines of developing a fundamental, film acting...

Welcome to Our New Website!

We've added great new features and updated our content to bring you the most up to date information about our company.  Check back often for updates.

10 Reasons Actors Enroll at MPI

The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan offers an intense series of eight film acting courses specifically designed to train actors how to prepare for a film role. Each course teaches students how to work on an actual film set, how to...

Register for Summer Film Camps at MPI

  Middle School and High School students interested in Film Production careers will have the opportunity to work with industry experts at the Motion Picture Institute this summer in one of our two Film Camp's. Middle School Film...

Insane Clown Posse Video Tours Detroit

The Motion Picture Institute is proud to unveil the Official Insane Clown Posse music video "Where's God?" Background Douglas Schulze, the director of the film and music video, provided the concept of Joe and Joey (ICP) carrying two...

The Badger Game - A Dark Comedy

  The project is a narrative feature film entitled THE BADGER GAME, a sexy/bloody/violent/comedic thriller that revolves around a botched kidnapping.   Our hero, Liam is a successful advertising executive with money to burn and a...

MPI Film Students Depict The Holocaust

A special thank you to Hannah Posen and The Jewish News for their coverage of MPI Film Students Jonathan D'Ambrosio and Estee Lipenholtz who have both directed films about the Holocaust and the very personal struggles faced during the...

Mimesis Featured on Channel 7 Action News

Mimesis Featured on WXYZ Channel 7 Detroit Thank you to Channel 7 Action News in Detroit, MI for featuring the release of Mimesis on Blu-Ray and DVD. The film was released in February and is available in stores everywhere. Why watch a horror...

Anybody Killa - Peace Pipe

This film was shot in and around New Baltimore, Michigan.  I wanted to capture the simple emotions and frustrations that can go along with the hospitality industry.  More importantly, it was about taking these frustrations, and going out...

Mimesis Available on DVD February 12

Why Watch a Horror Movie When You Can Live One?   In the film, a group of horror fans find themselves unwilling participants in a living nightmare that pays homage to a classic horror film. Seven complete strangers whose only common link is...

Films by Jonathan D'Ambrosio and Estee Lipovitz

The Magician & The Mermaid by Estee Lipovitz   This was Film Directing Semester 1 final film project. This was a silent film project music only. My friend Kathy Geyer sewed my mermaid costume. We shot at Brian Mansour's home...

Magician by Estee Lipenholtz

This was Film Directing Semester 1 final film project. This was a silent film project music only. My friend Kathy Geyer sewed my mermaid costume. We shot at Brian Mansour's home in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The magician is played by...

Stain Glass

This is the Film Directing Semester 2 final project. Steve Maclaren and Brian Mansour brought their professional camera equipment to the home of Tom and Judi Fox of West Bloomfield, Michigan. Jeff Tuttle was assistant director. Christine...

Santas Helper

This is my first student film. I think it turned out a lot like a student film. Having experienced a few Christmas mornings with my siblings, I am actually surprised this was not inspired by true events. I enjoyed working with with this cast...

"Something Lost" by Jacob Chapman

This was a story that just came to mind one day and worked out relatively how I hoped that it would. The inspiration really came from wanted to experience with how the lose of something so precious and how it effects people. I also wanted to try...

Counterplay - Harold MacDonald

Counterplay is a short film about the need to connect with others, and how we betray each other strangling that opportunity. the act comes from focusing on our needs without thinking about the affect on others. I wanted to tell this story because...

MPI Graduate Diary On The Set of Parts Per Billion

On The Set Experiences - Parts Per Billion   I was the First Team PA on this film called Parts Per Billion. I was in charge of Exhibit G's and Production Reports and getting the actors to and from set. Every morning I would be waiting for...

The Wrestler - A Silent Short Film

This is a silent short film about a Wrestler who is bullish in nature. He has to face his Opponent and bully a stranger who stares at him during the match. Watch and enjoy "The Wrestler".

RED Digital Camera Workshop

Register for the RED Digital Camera Workshop on 12/8 at 9:00 a.m.   On Saturday December 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. student and alumni film makers will learn how to master the operations and workflow of the Red Digital Camera from...

Detroit Maintenance: An MPI Graduate Film Diary

Hello, my name is Felix Rodriguez and I am the director of "Detroit Maintenance".  In the past, I have worked on multiple shorts which pertained mostly to comedy or drama. However, this was the first time I would attempt...

MPI Film School Graduate Wins at Toronto Film Festival

MPI Film School Graduate Wins Award Motion Picture Institute graduate, writer, and director Rola Nashef was recently awared the Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award out of 25 film makers at the Toronto International Film Festival for her film...

The Dog Fighter MMA Standout Gordon Shell

Gordon Shell in the “Dog Fighter”   MMA Cage Fighter Gordon Shell is coming out of retirement. What makes his story so different from other fighters that have done the same is that his return to the cage is not to pursue a...

Dog Fighter Blogger Exclusive

      Background How many people would risk their lives for abandoned dogs roaming the streets of Detroit?  For MMA fighter Gordon Shell the answer is simple.  He will.   Gordon has a bad heart.  The...