The Emagine theater in Royal Oak has been forced to postpone this weekend's planned Juneteenth Film Festival by order of the state of Michigan.
Emagine Entertainment announced Thursday afternoon that company Chairman Paul Glantz was served at home with a letter from the state Attorney General's office saying it would bring criminal charges if the festival went on as planned. Michigan has not yet given the green light for indoor movie theaters to resume operations, though outdoor drive-ins are open again.
The festival, with a dozen key movies by black filmmakers and actors, was slated to begin Friday, June 19, and run for a week, with proceeds going to the United Negro College Fund. A similar event at one of Emagine's Minneapolis theaters will still be taking place.
A new date for the Royal Oak festival will be announced in the near future, according to the company. Refunds will be made to ticketholders' credit cards.
In a statement Glantz lashed out at the state and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, accusing her of "hipocrisy...Strip clubs are open, massage parlors are open,and yet there is alleged 'science and data" to support the continued closer of the movie theaters...If there is anything more arbitrary and capricious in governmental behavior, I certainly have not experienced it in my lifetime...We find this wrongful abuse of governmental power appalling and we will be seeking legal redress to prevent it from occurring in the future."
Glantz had submitted a set of proposed guidelines to the state for movie theaters to reopen and said he's "received absolutely no feedback." The Juneteenth festival was set to use contactless ticketing and other "extensive efforts to ensure public safety."
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