About This Program
This program presents several documentaries that are either about life in Michigan or were made by a Michigan filmmaker.
It includes four shorts and a feature-length film.
Diary of an Undertaker
Director: Michael Mayne
Documentary Short, United States, 2022, 35 min, Color
The filmmaker's grandfather was an undertaker in 1920s Detroit.
Through his daily journals we learn about the history of Detroit's funeral business.
Great Lakes Connection: The film documents my grandfather's journey from Ontario to Detroit,
Michigan to become an undertaker in 1926. We learn about the history of Detroit and the
funeral business in the 1920s.
Erik Rides the Bus
Audience Choice Award - Best Student Documentary Short
Directors: Garrett Merbach, Matthew Gawthrop
Documentary Short, United States, 2022, 5 min, Color, Student Project - Troy Athens High School, Troy, Michigan
Stuck at home with no ride, a young man is forced to test out the Metro Detroit SMART Bus system.
Great Lakes Connection: The film was shot by Michigan students in metro Detroit area.
Charro & Steed (A Story of Mexican Rodeo)
Audience Choice Award - Best Documentary Short
Director: Matthew Keith Wagner
Documentary Short, United States, 2021, 18min, Color
The Mexican Rodeo, or Charreria, is a cultural tradition that beautifully represents the history and heritage of Mexico. This documentary short film looks at the impact charreria has as it begins to make its way into the United States.
Great Lakes Connection: The filmmaker lives in Michigan.
Directors: Tanner Hamilton, Bri Fall, Abi Bair
Documentary Short, United States, 2021, 10 min, Color, Student Project - Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan
This film provides a behind-the-scenes look at Grand Haven's historic lighthouses and the group of volunteers who are dedicated to saving them.
Great Lakes Connection: Our film is about the lighthouses of Lake Michigan, the film was shot in Michigan, and all of our cast and crew are from Michigan.
- NATAS Michigan Student Production Awards,
April 24, 2022, Winner for
College Non-Fiction - Long Form
- Grand Valley State University FVP Fall 2021 Showcase (Grand Rapids, Michigan),
December 16, 2021, World Premiere
Unforgettable: A Celebration* of Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Bicycle
Director: Aaron Peterson (Alumnus of Soo Film Festival)
Documentary Feature, United States, 2022, 40 min, Color, Cycling, Adventure
In the spring of 2021 a group of bikepackers set out on a 1600-mile ride
around the perimeter of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Join the crew on their
unforgettable journey as they explore, suffer, and celebrate this unique region via bike.
Great Lakes Connection
The film takes place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Cast & Crew:
Director: Aaron Peterson
Aaron Peterson is an American photographer and filmmaker serving the outdoors and travel industries. Peterson's trendsetting storytelling has helped redefine the outdoor image of the American Midwest.
His previous films, Cold Rolled (2014) and The Michigan Ice Film (2016) have been featured at more than 30 film festivals worldwide. Peterson's film 24 Leeches (2020) done with his late son Josiah garnered a Jury Award from Banff Mountain Film Festival as well as Best Family Film at Vancouver International Film Festival.
In 2016 Peterson founded the Fresh Coast Film Festival in his hometown of Marquette, Michigan.
Aaron Peterson is a returning director to the Soo Film Festival.