The Michigan Theater Foundation
The Michigan Theater Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring diverse people together to enhance understanding and build community, advance cinema and performing arts vitality, and protect our historic buildings. The foundation was established to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball in 1979, when developers threatened to convert the theater into a food court. Almost forty years later, the Michigan Theater is proud to serve as the community gathering place for the greater Ann Arbor area. Over 300,000 guests attend movies, plays, music and comedy concerts, talks, meetings, parties, weddings and other events each year.
History of the Michigan Theater
Best Local Film Festival
The Detroit Metro Times
The Detroit Metro Times named the Cinetopia International Film Festival the best local film festival in Metro Detroit in their annual Best of Detroit ratings. Founded by the Michigan Theater in 2012, Cinetopia focuses on presenting feature length, story-based films – dramas, comedies and documentary films, from across the globe that have screened at the world’s best film festivals
for Executive Director Russell B. Collins
Executive Director Russell B. Collins was recognized by Indiewire, the leading news, information, and social networking site for the international independent film community, as one of their 2013 Indiewire Influencers. The Indiewire Influencers list recognizes 40 individuals and organizations from across the country that are shaping the future of the independent film industry. Indiewire also recognized that the Michigan Theater is “one of the nation’s most prestigious movie venues.”
Deals of the Year (Nominee)
The Ann Arbor News
One of three nonprofit organizations nominated by the Ann Arbor News for their 10th annual Deals of the Year award. Nominees are selected in seven business sector categories that represent the organizations, transactions and individuals that most impacted the business community over the previous year. The Michigan Theater was nominated for its purchase of the State Theatre which prevented the historic art deco facility from being turned into office space.
Sundance Festival USA Official Venue
Selected as an official venue of the Sundance Film Festival. The MTF was one of a handful of venues across the nation selected to present a premiere screening of a Sundance Film festival film. Other cities selected for this honor included New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Madison, San Francisco and Boston. Ann Arbor was the smallest city of those selected and the MTF was the largest venue participating.
Detroit Arts Challenge Recipient
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Awarded funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to further expand the Cinetopia International Film Festival in Detroit. The Michigan Theater was one of 56 organizations awarded funding out of over 1,400 applicants.
Institutional Capitalization Grant
James D. Buhr, Vice Chair
Russell B. Collins, ex officio
James A. Kirk
Graydon Krapohl, ex officio
Hillary Murt, Chair
Leslie Raymond, ex officio
Jean P. Rowan, M.D., M.S.
Mary Steffek Blaske, ex officio
James Sterken, Treasurer
Christopher Taylor, ex officio
Emeritus Board Members
Henry Aldridge, emeritus
Bruce Baker, emeritus
Ruth Bardenstein, emeritus
Albert Berriz, emeritus
John Briggs, emeritus
Lou Callaway, emeritus
Martha Darling, emeritus
C. Wendell (Del) Dunbar, emeritus
Judy Dow Rumelhart, emeritus
Irv Smokler, emeritus
Ambassador Ron Weiser, emeritus
Robert F. Whitman, emeritus