Cinetopia 2018: Lesser-known films that deserve your attention

Still from "Quiet Heroes" courtesy of the Cinetopia Film Festival.
Still from "Quiet Heroes" courtesy of the Cinetopia Film Festival.

ANN ARBOR – The 2018 Cinetopia Film Festival is so close it's ridiculous. The festival runs May 31 through June 10 and will feature many films you've probably heard of from the festival circuit, as well as some lesser-known indie gems you might not be aware of. We wanted to highlight a few of them here as you're no doubt already making the necessary preparations and planning your festival schedule. 

First up is a documentary called "Quiet Heroes," which screens on June 8 at the Michigan and June 10 at the State.

Directed by Jenny Mackenzie, co-directed by Jared Ruga and Amanda Stoddard, the film focuses on Dr. Kristen Ries, an infectious-disease specialist who arrived in Salt Lake City on June 5, 1981 -- the same day the Centers for Disease Control first published a report on what would become known as AIDS.

By the next year, Ries would encounter her first patient with the disease. Because of stigma and fear surrounding both AIDS and homosexuality, Ries and her eventual partner, physician assistant Maggie Snyder, became the only medical professionals in Utah willing to treat the growing number of people with HIV/AIDS. These patients, facing certain death in the early years of the epidemic, often had to keep their status a secret or risk ostracism from their families, workplaces, and religious communities. "Quiet Heroes" reveals the impact of the disease on a less obvious, more conservative location as it shares the evocative story of these unheralded caregivers and their patients.

"Quiet Heroes" will feature many special guests, including the filmmakers and the subjects in the film. It's an important documentary that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. Make sure to add it to your "must-see" Cinetopia 2018 list. 

Next up is another documentary, "The Last Race," which will screen at the Henry Ford with director Michael Dweck in attendance on June 8. (The film also screens June 10 at the Michigan.) The synopsis for "The Last Race" is as follows: