Wolf Tree 2022


The Franke Center & Marshall’s Youngish Professionals Committee

Present 4th Annual Wolf Tree Film Festival

JANUARY 22, 2022

In its fourth year, Wolf Tree Film Festival showcases films set in the Great Lakes region or that include themes or topics related to the region, as well as the work of filmmakers who reside in or grew up in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes region is defined as any state or territory that touches one of the Great Lakes (including Ontario, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York).

Submitted films should be no longer than 30 minutes, and all genres will be considered.

The festival will take place at The Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall, MI* and will include screenings of each selected film, a Q&A with select filmmakers, an awards presentation, and a filmmaker roundtable with industry professionals.

The Wolf Tree Film Festival is housed in historic Marshall, Michigan, a gorgeous small town with a vibrant artistic community. Hosted by the Franke Center for the Arts and Marshall’s Youngish Professionals Committee, the festival is held at Franke Center, originally a church built in 1921, now an arts complex that is the proud home of world-class concerts, inspiring theater, and award-winning movies.

This year, Wolf Tree’s host will be John Matthew Riopelle. Riopelle is an American, actor, playwright, lyricist and screenwriter. He is the winner of the Gilman Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Award, a two-time Richard Rodgers and Jonathan Larson Grant finalist and a Fred Ebb Musical Theater Award finalist. His musical, Streets of America, with score by Tony Award Winner, Michael Rupert, was developed at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in conjunction with American University as part of their Inaugural Page to Stage Series on the Millennium Stage. It was further developed in New York City and premiered at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Matthew grew up in Detroit, Michigan and studied acting at the Cranbrook Theater School and Actor’s Alliance Theater Conservatory. After lying about his age, he went on to become the youngest pupil of the acclaimed actress and teacher Uta Hagen. He continued his training at Webster University, Wayne State University, The Studio Theater in Washington DC. and later with acting coach Bob Krakower in New York City.

After graduating from the Boston Conservatory of Music with his BFA in Musical Theater, Riopelle moved to New York where he pounded the pavement and finally got his elusive Actor’s Equity card. In between auditions and call-backs, Matthew supported himself as a waiter, a personal trainer and eventually the assistant to cosmetic mogul Bobbi Brown. He embarked on a seven-year collaboration with Tony Award Winner, Michael Rupert on what would later become the musical Streets of America. In the fall of 2003, Matthew met his mentor, playwright, Glyn O’Malley. After his first meeting in Los Angeles, producer Dan Halsted, (Nixon, The Virgin Suicides and Garden State) hired Riopelle to write Chavez, a biopic chronicling the life of UFW leader Cesar Chavez. Shortly after, his first television pilot, Left was optioned and developed by Adam Shankman, Offspring Entertainment and Warner Brother’s Television. His second pilot was optioned and developed by Mark Canton (Purple Rain, As Good As It Gets, Goodfellas) and David Hopwood (Den of Thieves, 300 and Power). In between freelance writing assignments and grad school, Matthew held development, marketing and research positions at A&E, Lifetime Entertainment, the CW Network, Red Bull, Sony Pictures Television and Universal Music Group.

In 2020 producers Claude Del Farra and Brian Keady of BDCF Films, acquired the rights to his feature The Camel Knows the Way, based on Lorna Kelly’s memoir, which they are producing with Ginger Sledge, (Where’d You Go Bernadette?). His play Immaculate Heart, based on his mother’s true story of life after leaving a cloistered convent in 1968, was produced in April of 2021 by the Blank Theater Company in Los Angeles. Upcoming projects include the pilot Blind Pig and the feature Sullivan in Cuba. Riopelle holds an MFA in screenwriting and playwrighting from Point Park University.

*The festival will adhere to all public health and safety recommendations at the time of the event

Click here to get tickets to the festival.

Attention Filmmakers! Submit your film to Wolf Tree

Key Dates:
October 1, 2021:  FilmFreeway open for submissions
Dec 12, 2021:  FilmFreeway deadline for submissions
January 5, 2022:  Filmmaker Notification date
January 22, 2022:  Wolf Tree Film Festival at the Franke Center
For more information on submission rules and awards, please visit FilmFreeway.

 CONTENT WARNING: Some films included in this festival contain mature content that may be inappropriate for young viewers and may be triggering for others. Viewer discretion is advised.