Media City Film Festival returns for its 23rd year

Off the heels of the Windsor International Film Festival, the Media City Film Festival is returning for its 23rd year.

Film fest launched with a tribute to Aretha Franklin in Detroit

A series of international competitions for the 23rd Media City Film Festival will be screened at the Capitol Theatre. (Casey Plett)

Media City Film Festival is back for its 23rd year, kicking off at the Detroit Institute of Arts Wednesday night.

The film fest taking place from Nov. 7-10 will see more than 70 films from more than 20 countries, from Brazil to Scotland.

One of those films is Fluid Frontiers by filmmaker Ephraim Asili, which features people going to sites related to black culture or history, and reading poetry published in Detroit's Broadside Press.

"It's really quite jarring when you see the film," said Irene Moore Davis, one of the cast members. For the film, she read a poem in front of the Tower of Freedom monument in Windsor's downtown.

The film explores the history of the Underground Railroad as it pertains to Windsor and Detroit.

Fluid Frontiers is the final instalment of a series of short films by Ephraim Asili, who has been exploring the African diaspora for the past seven years. (Media City Film Festival)

And the location chosen for the film's screening is Sandwich First Baptist Church on Peter Street, which was built by former slaves from the U.S. in 1851. The church also offered spots for hiding from bounty hunters.

"It's incredibly significant in terms of our black community," said Davis.

On opening night in Detroit, the film fest paid tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin with a performance by Carolyn Crawford, Motown Records recording artist and Detroit native.

The films of Valie Export and Carolee Schneemann were also screened.

The festival comes back to Windsor for the rest of the week, with an opening night party on Thursday at the Capitol Theatre & Arts Centre before launching into a series of international competitions, featuring multiple short films each night.