Old Detroit Metro terminal could become film set

ROMULUS (AP) -- The 51-year-old L.C. Smith Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport could get a new life as a set for movies and TV shows.

The Detroit News reported Tuesday that producers and airport officials say the Smith Terminal is a moviemaker's dream. Airlines that use the Smith Terminal this month will begin flying out of the new North Terminal.

Wayne County Airport Authority spokesman Scott Wintner says the airport in Romulus is working to help attract productions.

The terminal would be attractive because it wouldn't have active passenger service or security concerns.

Filmmakers have been flocking to Michigan since April, when Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law a package of bills offering lucrative incentives to film companies that bring in their projects.
Detroit figures into at least three selections in the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off today.

The fall festival, currently in its 34th year, is a launching pad for Oscar contenders and important independent and art films -- a way for big-ticket films to build buzz and smaller projects to land deals with distributors.

With 312 films showing over the next week-and-a-half, creating separation from the pack is no easy feat. But here are a couple of films with local angles that are trying to do just that:

• "Detroit Metal City" is a live-action comedy, based on a popular Japanese graphic novel, about a mild-mannered musician who finds himself in full demon makeup fronting the notorious Detroit Metal City, known for vile lyrics and smashing hotel rooms. A midnight premiere late Friday night will be followed by screenings Saturday and Sept. 11.

• In "Flash of Genius," Greg Kinnear plays real-life Richard Kearns, the Wayne State University and University of Detroit grad who successfully sued Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler for $30 million over allegations that they stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper. Alan Alda, Lauren Graham and Dermot Mulroney costar. It shows Sunday, Tuesday and Sept. 11 before a national release in October.

• Former Detroiter Jack White is generating festival buzz over "It Might Get Loud," a documentary that pairs the White Stripes front man, Jimmy Page and U2's the Edge in an examination of how to play the electric guitar. The highlight of the film, directed by Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"), comes when the trio gets together for a jam session and combines their many influences. All are expected to attend the Friday night premiere, though the film also screens Sunday and closing night, Sept. 13.

The fest's complex ticket system is harder to decipher than the tax code, but you may still be able to attend. 416-968-3456 or 877-968-3456. http://www.tiff08.ca/.

Doc uses humor, dignity to discuss death: The makers of "Except for Six" want nothing less than to change the way that people think about death and end-of-life care. The documentary, screening at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Emagine Novi and produced in conjunction with Hospice of Michigan, uses emotion and humor to humanize the dying process and hospice's role in it. The title refers both to the six months that patients typically require hospice care and the importance of the six people enlisted to carry you to your final resting place. After premieres here and in Grand Rapids, the film will be shown on PBS affiliates in Michigan. 44425 W. Twelve Mile Road, Novi. 888-466-5656. Tickets $50, with business attire recommended.

Classics return to Northville Marquis: Friday's screening of the 1974 Agatha Christie thriller "Murder on the Orient Express" ushers in a monthlong classic film series at the historic Marquis Theatre in downtown Northville. The event marks the 30th anniversary of the 1925 theater's renovation. All tickets are $5 (including a box of popcorn) for the 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday screenings, all projected on digital video. On the bill: Saturday: "Operation Petticoat." Sept. 12: "The Natural." Sept. 13: "The Great Gatsby." Sept. 19: "Gaslight." Sept. 20: "Funny Girl." Sept. 26: "The Sundowners." Sept. 27: "Out of Africa." 135 E. Main Street, Northville. 248-349-7640. http://www.northville.org/

Magic seeks movie reviewer: Auditions for a hometown movie reviewer at Jim Harper's Morning Magic Show (WMGC-FM, 105.1) continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Art & Apples Festival at Municipal Park in downtown Rochester. The position is unpaid, but the winner will get to attend advance screenings of films and broadcast their reviews on the show each week from January to June. Applicants (21 and over) also can send a recording to the station. Complete details at http://www.detroitmagic.com/.
The State Administrative Board, which approves contracts for state agencies, last week approved the addition of $100,694 and one year to a deal between the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to develop a demonstration of a commuter rail line linking Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The money is for infrastructure improvements and passenger rail equipment, such as train cars.The state money is in addition to $450,000 in Federal Highway Administration funds earmarked for the demonstration project.

The deal was extended to February 2010.

SEMCOG, the regional planning agency for metro Detroit through which federal transit project money flows, has been studying for some time the feasibility and cost of a high-speed passenger railroad route connecting the two cities.

It would link into a proposed Woodward Avenue commuter line, and a wider regional system in the future.The goal is to have the 48-mile Ann Arbor-Detroit route running by 2010.

SEMCOG is in negotiations with three railroads that own the tracks, is studying funding options for the route and is considering what cars would be used.Amtrak would be contracted to operate the line.
There are some great opportunities coming up to see Detroit from the luxury of your own, or a rented, bike. The best part of these tours is that they take you into the city's neighborhoods at a pace that affords participants the chance to admire the architecture and get a real feel for the places.

The annual Tour de Troit is Saturday, Sept. 20. Take in 40 miles of the city at a leisure pace with several hundred of your closest friends. It's a police escorted ride through Downtown, Eastern Market, Brush Park, Boston Edison, University District, Palmer Park, Old Redford and Grandmont-Rosedale.Last year 600 people participated. Advance registration is strongly encouraged to guarantee a T-Shirt. Register by Sept. 13 to ensure you'll get one.

Advance Registration is $25, $15 for students. Day-of-ride registration is $35 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. But wait, there's more. Wheelhouse Detroit, the city's newest bike rental and repair shop, is also offering weekly tours of Detroit's neighborhoods. Each week, they feature a different portion of the city, and most rides are around 15-25 miles. Upcoming tours include Southwest Detroit (9/13), The Villages (9/27), Boston Edison (9/28), Creekside (10/04) and the Conner Creek Greenway (10/5). Wheelhouse also offers weekly tours of Downtown and the Woodward corridor, offered in conjunction with Inside Detroit. For more information and pricing, check their web site.