Beyond the headlines about its (still-ongoing) water crisis and its boom-to-bust early years as an automotive powerhouse, Flint, Michigan is also home to nearly 100,000 people. That number, of course, includes plenty of kids and teenagers, all dreaming of what’s coming next. Each spring, that includes a fresh batch of high school graduates, six of whom are followed in James Blagden and Roni Moore’s “Midnight in Paris,” which focuses on some of Flint’s youth as they prep for their annual prom.
Billed as “an exuberant portrait of adolescence on the verge of adulthood,” the film “follows a small group of teenagers in Flint, Michigan, during the lead-up to their senior prom — an event that has transcended the typical black-tie affair and become a rare communal opportunity to celebrate the achievements of its youth. The film looks at the significance of the dance in the lives of Flint’s youth, the preparation, and effort involved in participating, and the precarious juncture between expectation and reality. The students’ humor, style, and love, are seen in stark contrast to what the former automotive boom-town is more typically and tragically known for, beyond its city limits.”
In advance of the film’s screening at BAMcinemaFest last year, IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt noted that “James Blagden and Roni Moore’s film is remarkable for how natural and easygoing its subjects are with the camera, as the film transports you to that time in life of the urgency of finding the right dress, strict versus more laidback parents, end of the year parties, nostalgia, and the nerves of staring into the abyss of one’s future. Human, delightful, and a corrective look at how misery is not what defines our communities.”
The documentary premiered at the 2019 True/False Film Festival and went on to screen at BAMcinemaFest, Indie Memphis Film Festival, and as part of MoMA’s “The Contenders” series. It will start a week-long digital engagement as part of Metrograph’s Live Screenings program on October 23, and running through October 29. Find out more about the program (and maybe even snag a week-long free trial) right here.
Check out the first trailer for “Midnight in Paris,” exclusively on IndieWire, below.