You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 : 10:40 a.m.

Michigan film by U-M alum Sultan Sharrief screening at Sundance Film Festival

By Jenn McKee


U-M alumnus and local filmmaker Sultan Sharrief.

Photo by Joey Ostrander

“Bilal’s Stand,” a feature film written and directed by University of Michigan graduate and local filmmaker Sultan Sharrief, has been accepted to the Sundance Film Festival’s Next category. The Next category, new this year at Sundance, “is designed to cordon off space for low- and no-budget filmmaking and is a showcase for eight ‘younger, fresher’ American filmmakers that live and breathe true indie spirit,” stated SFF director John Cooper in The Hollywood Reporter.

The film tells the story of Bilal, a Detroit high school student, and his struggle to pursue his dream of higher education.

The film 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. EFEX and “Bilal’s Stand” both grew from a community filmmaking class designed by Sharrief and Terri Sarris, a lecturer in U-M’s Department of Screen Arts and Cultures.

“Bilal’s Stand” was shot in and around Detroit on a shoestring budget over the course of five years, with the help of hundreds of community volunteers, support from local businesses, and talented young students.

Yet in order to meet Sundance screening requirements and to cover other necessary expenses, the “Bilal’s Stand” crew is currently fundraising. To learn more, visit

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


Carrie Rheingans

Wed, Dec 9, 2009 : 10:54 a.m.

Congratulations to all the local people who worked on this film!