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Updated 7:00 AM December 14, 2009

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Grad's film to premiere at Sundance Film Festival

"Bilal's Stand," a feature film written and directed by U-M graduate Sultan Sharrief, has been selected to be shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, which runs Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.
(Photo courtesy Sultan Sharrief)

The film follows the travails of Bilal, a Muslim high-school senior who lives in Detroit, as he struggles to pursue a dream of attending college and a life illuminated by higher education.

The movie is featured in the NEXT category at the festival, added this year to spotlight eight low- and no-budget American films deemed by the Sundance Institute to be innovative and original.

"These filmmakers live and breathe true indie spirit," John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, told the Hollywood Reporter.

Five years in the making, the film is the outgrowth of the Student EFEX Project (Encouraging the Filmmaking Experience), a partnership between local artists, U-M students, and Metro Detroit high school students.

The EFEX project and "Bilal's Stand"grew from a class in "Community Filmmaking" created by Sharrief and Terri Sarris, a lecturer in the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures.

To learn more about the film, go to

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