Royal Starr. Royal Oak.


“Welcome to the Royal Starr Film Festival!”


“The Royal Starr Film Festival. Welcome.”

“Royal Starr?”


Two “Rs?”


“Where is it?”

“Royal Oak?”

“Why isn’t it called the Royal Oak Film Festival?”

And, so it goes. Stay with me.

I was having dinner with the board of directors of the Royal Starr FF in Royal Oak last week when the subject of favorite screenwriters came up. Someone said, “Aaron Sorkin.” Mine too. “David Mamet.” Him too. Then, someone simply said “Orson.” Just Orson.

Of course, he meant Orson Welles. No last name needed. We knew he didn’t mean Orson Bean. Or, Orson Starr.

Orson Starr. Yep. For whom the Royal Starr Film Festival was named. Orson Starr settled his clan at Thirteen Mile & Rochester Roads in the early Nineteenth Century. He manufactured cowbells. He also sired ten children. Hell , my mother raised nine kids, ostensibly not enough to get a film festival named after her.

When Royal Starr FF president Larry Kantor asked me to write a blurb about the name (Royal Starr–with two R’s) and it’s namesake (Orson Sta
rr), I balked.

Why? Larry asked.

Because, I said. I have worked at dead white men’s museums all my life. And, do you know what those museums’ problem is?

What, said Larry.

Nobody cares. Have you ever been to the Gerald Ford Library in Grand Rapids?

No, said Larry.

Cased closed. And Gerald Ford was president of these United States.

I image Googled Orson Starr just to see what he looked like. And, do you know what? Orson Starr was Burt Reynolds’ doppelganger.

Who is Burt Reynolds? asked one of our thirtysomething board members..

Never mind. Although, Burt Reynolds was born in Lansing. Perhaps, we could have called ours the Royal Reynolds Film Festival. Or, Smokey & the Bandit Film Festival. Better yet, Boogie Nights Film Festival.

In any event, welcome to the Royal Starr Film Festival in Royal Oak, Michigan. Coming this October.

Who’s your favorite screenwriter?

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