Russ Collins is Executive Director and CEO of the historic Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor, a position he's held since 1982. He started the Cinetopia regional film festival, and headed up the Art House Convergence, a national conference for art house cinemas. In 2014, the Michigan Theater acquired the former balcony space in the nearby State Theatre (they did not acquire the space occupied by the retail store Urban Outfitters). Collins is overseeing the renovation of this C. Howard Crane designed Art Deco cinema. Closed in September 2016, the renovated State Theatre will reopen as a four-screen cinema in late summer of 2017.
Collins served on the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board July 2005 to December 2014. Collins served on the Michigan Humanities Council board of directors, appointed by the governor. He's a member of the State Street Area Association board.
Collins provides commentary on films for several local radio shows. He also taught film studies at Eastern Michigan University from 2002-2013.
In 2013, Collins was named to Indiewire’s inaugural list of “influencers” in the independent film industry.
Born in 1956, Collins grew up in Ann Arbor – his father, Russell Collins, ran the Collins Dental Laboratory in the Ann Arbor Professional Building from 1962 until the structure was demolished in 2008. The Varsity apartment building is now located on that East Washington property, just east of Division.
Collins is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a bachelors degree and a masters in arts administration. He is married to Debra Polich, President and CEO of Artrain USA and of the Ann Arbor-based Arts Alliance.
In the news
Interview with Russ Collins, Cinetopia International Film Festival - CinemaNerdz, June 6, 2013
Michigan Theater's Russ Collins reflects on 30 years with community institution – Heritage Papers, Nov. 4, 2012
Mastermind: Russ Collins – Concentrate, Aug. 27, 2008
- Russ Collins, Teeter Talk, June 2007