Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Movie that started at U-M accepted at Sundance Film Festival

“Bilal’s Stand,” a feature film written and directed by U-M alumnus Sultan Sharrief and which grew out of his work while a student here, has been accepted to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT category.

For more information, visit Web sites for "Bilal's Stand" and the Sundance Film Festival.

The film tells the story of a Detroit high school student pursuing his dream of higher education. It was made as part 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. The film was shot in and around Detroit, with the help of community volunteers, businesses, and students.

A synopsis on the festival’s Web site offers this description of the movie: “Bilal, a Muslim high school senior in Detroit juggles his dysfunctional family, their taxi stand, and an ice carving contest in his secret attempt to land a college scholarship.”

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival will be from Jan. 21-31 at Park City, Utah. Its NEXT category highlights eight American films “selected for their innovative and original work in low- and no-budget filmmaking,” according to the festival’s Web site.

"For decades now Sundance Institute has played an integral role in discovering cutting-edge talent working outside of conventions and in doing so we have expanded the audience for the unexpected," festival director John Cooper says on the Web site.