Blog: Scott Paul Dunham

Creative class charter member Scott Paul Dunham has brought a whole palette of arts programs to fruition, and he knows how to throw a good party. As the founding partner of The Creative Energy Alliance, Scott will be giving us the dish on next week's Detroit Windsor International Film Festival.

Scott Paul Dunham - Post 4: You've Got 2 Days

For the second straight year, the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival has featured a 48 Hour Film Challenge as part of its repertoire.  This has come one of our more popular components. When we got rolling last year, I knew the DWIFF needed a film challenge. Not only is it popular as a stand alone event, this was an excellent way to inspire our local filmmaking community.  I asked Shane Sevo to create our contest, since he and his Superhouse film group have participated in and won the National Film Challenge for four years.

Incorporating a film challenge into the DWIFF works on many levels:
First, it fits the festival mission, to promote the "hard working side" of our local film industry and create new opportunities in a creative economy.  What better way than to get a bunch of talented teams out there, actually producing a final product?

A film challenge creates ACTION!  This year, sixteen crews wheeled through the streets of Detroit from June 12 through the 14th.  This is an important by-product of the challenge.  By mobilizing teams to use the city as their locations, we pique the curiosity of the public, we limber up the skills of hundreds of people and we provide real on-the-job experience for lots of new filmmakers.

We also end up with some great shots of Detroit on film!  This is very crucial. Think how exciting it is to see Detroit in a feature film – and how we can parlay that into future business.  While a few out-of-town features have showcased us recently, the challenge instantly added over a dozen new films that feature our city as a "movie set"!  The filmmakers captured parts of our city and helped add to our "filmography".  

Each year, we give all teams a required, common visual element.  This year it was the Wayne County Courthouse.  Already a familiar scene in many features (Hoffa, An Innocent Man, and this year's Betty Ann Waters), the stately Courthouse continues to shine as a popular image in our city.  Many other great Detroit venues will be seen in this year's crop of films – and all of it helps show our potential as a player in this industry.

Our teams this year included beginners, veterans and entire families.  Sixteen teams started – and 13 finished.  Nicole LaDouceur, one of the Challenge Team Leaders, remarked, "The theme this year has to be positive energy. Even though all the teams were obviously wiped out, they all stuck around at the end to applaud the other teams," she said.  "We want to thank the Y Arts and TechTown for hosting the Start and Finish lines, and kudos to the teams who participated. We appreciate all of your hard work!"

The DWIFF is proud to showcase our local talent in a special screening of all 13 completed films.  The screening takes place at WSU, in the Community Arts Auditorium, at 12 noon, Sunday, June 28.  The public is welcome and tickets are just $5, available online at or at the door (cash only).