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U-M, MSU & WSU students collaborate on film

By Angela Moreira

Michigan Creative Film Alliance (MiCFA) has launched its first major fundraising campaign to help finance their 2012 collaborative production, “Downriver.”

For the past three summers, MiCFA has brought together students and recent graduates from the film programs at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Students share their expertise as members of a production team dedicated to making a high-quality film, employing real-world professional standards and practices.

“We’re determined to make our 2012 project ‘Downriver’ our best production yet,” says producer Tinisha Brugnone, a senior Media Arts and Studies production major at Wayne State University. “Our three universities have made substantial investments in our training and preparation, now it’s up to us to prove that we can be the professionals we intend to be.”

The fundraising campaign aims to raise $12,500 by July 29 to cover basic production costs.

MiCA’s first two projects, “Appleville” and “Beauty Queen,” premiered at the Detroit Film Theatre. Michigan Film Office Director Carrie Jones called Beauty Queen “one of the best films I’ve seen this year.”

A 30-minute narrative film based upon an original screenplay by BrandonVerdi, “Downriver” is the story of a a socially awkward 15-year-old, Alex, is forced from his posh suburban lifestyle into life with his estranged older sister in working-class America, following their father’s untimely death.

“It’s a comedy, but it’s also a story about loss, anger, grief and family,” says Verdi, a recipient of the 2012 Hopwood Award in Screenwriting from the University of Michigan.

“The campaign (through is a way for individuals and businesses in our communities to support emerging Michigan filmmakers,” says Matt Wrobel, a 2012 graduate of Michigan State University’s film program and an assistant director on “Downriver.”

“The community’s support will enable the us to complete a movie in which passionate students gain real-world hands-on experience,” says “Downriver” director Billy Jackson, a senior Screen Arts and Culture major at U of M.

Donations to the MiCFA’s campaign will cover:
• Rental of camera mounts, waterproof housing, dollies and crane
• Rental of a generator to provide electricity for outdoor lighting requirements
• Location fees
• Location travel for cast and crew during the 14 days on location
• Costumes, makeup and scenic materials
• On-set meals for cast and crew during our long production days

DONATIONS can be made at

TO WATCH VIDEO on the “Downriver” fundraising campaign, please visit

Contributions to Downriver will be administered by Techtown, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and fiscal sponsor for the Michigan Creative Film Alliance.

For more information about the Michigan Creative Film Alliance, please visit, and/or contact Angela Moreira, 248-224-5171,