FRIDAY OCTOBER 16TH
6:00 pm Film Block #1
Girly – Narrative Short/Student (9 minutes)
Director/Producer: Kira Bursky
A girl struggles to make the most of the last few moments with her lover, while trying to figure out whether or not his love for her is forever.
We’re On Our W - Narrative Short/Student (13 minutes)
Director/Producer: Curt N. Pickford
Robert Zynk and several others come to tell their story about how texting and driving changed their lives forever after Robert’s mom caused the tragic accident.
The Cager - Narrative Short/Student (27 minutes)
Director: Keenan Wetzel Producers: Nicholas Stachurski & Victor Lord
Wesley Ray is a former college basketball star who has only ever planned on being in the “League.” Injured in his last college game, Wes, now 5 years older, has to choose between his family and the easy way out. Feeling trapped by his family structure and struggling to find work, Wes is met by Joe, a mysterious, happy-go-lucky stranger on a park bench at the zoo. Little does Wes know, his interactions with Joe will forever change his perspective on life.
Girls Don’t Cry Wolf – Music Video/Student (4 minutes)
Directors/Producers: John Chigas & Anna Eva Kotyza
Girls Don’t Cry Wolf is dedicated to survivors of sexual assault. Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than the general population. Together we can raise awareness to end this culture that perpetuates the objectification and oppression of young women.
Make Your World An Interesting One - Animation (1 minute)
Director/Producer: Shannon Kohlitz
Your world doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. Make your world an interesting one.
Mom I’m Not Having Fun Come Pick Me Up - Narrative Short/Student (10 minutes)
Director/Producer: Eve Hinz
There’s the girl that people know and there’s the girl that lives inside her head.
The Train Job – Animation (20 minutes)
Director/Producer: Paul Pate
An animated short about a wild west train robbery. Cookie has worked on the train for a full year now and it is about time to let Tina know how he feels about her. But before he can, a mysterious stranger shows up and steps in his way. Wild
West action and adventure ensues. Join them for the ride!
7:40 pm Documentary Feature
T-Rex – Documentary Feature (89 minutes)
Directors/Producers: Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari
Producers: Sue Jaye Johnson, Bianca Darville & Gary Kout
“T-Rex” is an intimate coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. For the first time ever, women’s boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for gold from the U.S. is Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, just 17 years old, and by far the youngest competitor. From the hard knock streets of Flint, Michigan, Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring. She protects her family at any cost, even when their instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream. Claressa does have one stable force in her life. Coach Jason Crutchfield has trained her since she was just a scrawny 11-year-old hanging out at his gym. Jason always wanted a champion, he just never thought it’d be a girl. Her relationships with her coach and her family grow tense as she gets closer to her dream. But Claressa is fierce and determined. She desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.
9:25 pm Film Block #2
Victor – Narrative Short (7 minutes)
Director/Producer: Chad Thompson
Victor is a short film about imagination, solitude and the sometimes blindfolded quest for happiness. This whimsical journey follows Victor, a peculiar man who has some interesting ideas about how to make friends. With an optimistic plan and a few technological tricks, Victor shows that sometimes all you need is a little help to notice what’s been right in front of you all along.
How – Narrative Short (8 minutes)
Director/Producer: Ty Staples
If you could choose between when you were going to die, or how you were going to die, which would you pick?
Recycling Lies – Narrative Short/Student (15 minutes)
Director: Raquel Bordin Producer: Bobby Nielsen
A socially challenged couple find themselves going to great lengths to avoid dinner with a relative.
Natural Poisons – Narrative Short/Student (14 minutes)
Director/Producer: Jason Klug
A woman eulogizes her husband’s funeral, revealing secrets.
The First Monday of Summer – Animation (4 minutes)
Director/Producer: John Chigas
A teenage boy wakes up one Monday morning thinking he is late for school. Foolishly unaware that it is the first day of Summer vacation, he gets out of bed, hops on his bike, and starts the long trek to his abandoned high school, only to realize he has forgotten one thing…
The White Bag – Narrative Short/Student (24 minutes)
Director: Marie Ullrich Producer: Elizabeth Merriman
Pearl, an older woman, feels invisible. People regard her as an obstacle rather than a human being, rushing past her to get on with their lives. She feels their collective disinterest but is resigned to it – that is, until indifference turns to disrespect. When Pearl encounters a disrespectful young man, she lashes out, and suddenly she’s more visible than she ever wanted to be.
Wait ‘til the Wolves Make Nice – Narrative Short (11 minutes)
Director: Jessica dela Merced Producer: Jon Coplon
Confronting boredom in a crumbling southwest Detroit neighborhood, four young kids are tempted into sacrilege and destruction by the cool apathy of the older new kid in town.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 17th
11:00 am Documentary Feature
Exported from Michigan – Documentary Feature (92 minutes)
Director/Producer: Jon Vander Pol
Producers: Johno Wells, Jeff Daverman, Amy Filbeck & Marcia Vander Woude
Michigan’s economic struggles over recent decades are widely known. However, these challenges are not unique to Michigan and economic and environmental solutions developed anywhere can benefit people everywhere. Exported From Michigan is the story of entrepreneurs reinventing their economy locally through art, craft beer and permaculture as well as big business solutions in wind energy and hybrid electric cars. The film follows the University of Michigan Solar Car Team as they compete in the 2013 World Solar Challenge in Australia.
12:45 pm Film Block #3
Rabbit Island – Documentary Short (6 minutes)
Director/Producer: Ben Moon
One man’s quest to protect an island he loves leads him to ponder great questions: “Is there an opposite to development?
Or an antonym to subdivision”?
Painting Pilfinger – Narrative Short (12 minutes)
Director: Bradley Silvius Producers: Martin Faber & Raquel de Paula Silvius
A forgotten hero searches for salvation through a friend who may or may not be real, as an unlikely relationship with a stray dog blossoms into a chance to rediscover purpose in a painting of his mysterious companion. But newfound hope may have painful consequences.
White Toast – Narrative Short/Student (10 minutes)
Director: A.J Grimm Producer: Chi Tran
Michael, a man in his early 30′s, has the appearance of someone with nothing to hide. But we soon find out that there is something else behind his casual attitude and appearance when he goes to a diner one fateful morning.
NO Filters – Sizzle Reel – Narrative Short (3 minutes)
Director/Producer: Michael Pfaendtner
A groundbreaking experiment in behavior modification occurs when a law-abiding citizen lives without the conventional restraints of society for 30 days.
Trust – Narrative Short (24 minutes)
Director/Producer: Mike Sneed
This is a segment of “The Five Keys” project. Five films by five directors linked by a mysterious Key maker.
Choice Cuts – Narrative Short (5 minutes)
Directors/Producers: Jeff Meyers & Keith Jefferies
A pair of sadistic sibling serial killers, a beautiful young woman handcuffed and gagged. We know how this is going to turn out. Or do we?
2:05 pm Narrative Feature
Alone in the Universe (97 minutes)
Director/Producer: Joshua Courtade
Petra is funny, outgoing, and smart, but she can’t commit to a relationship deeper than a one-night stand. Then she meets Oscar, a socially anxious web cartoonist who can barely say more than two words at a time. She starts to draw him out of his shell, and he starts to bring some stability to her life, but if they want to build a lasting and meaningful relationship, they’ll each have to overcome deep personal wounds.
3:55 pm Narrative Feature
Buzzard (97 minutes)
Director: Joel Potrykus Producers: Ashley Young & Mike Saunders
A slacker working as an office temp makes extra money by stealing refund checks from his employer.
5:45 pm Film block #4
Shotgun Wedding – Narrative Short (6 minutes)
Director/Producer: Michael McCallum
Melissa is pregnant and pushing Carmine down the aisle to get hitched before she gives birth. Shotgun Wedding was created through the Grand Rapids Film Festival’s 4 day Production Workshop that I was invited to direct. My editor, Andrew Tebeau, and myself then edited the footage and finished the work.
Pantomime – Narrative Short/Student (7 minutes)
Director: Joseph Jonker Producer: Michael Schlotz
A street performer races across the city while adhering strictly to his code of ethics.
Heart Of Wax – Narrative Short (20 minutes)
Director: Michael Sneed Producer: Darryl K. Perry
A successful middle aged couple awakes one morning and find themselves in a stark discussion of the realities of their marriage and life together.
The Fourth Wall – Narrative Short/Student (16 minutes)
Directors/Producers: Daniel Cooper & Adam Cooper
A narrator must ‘break the fourth wall’ in order to escape from his psychological prison cell. Using his angry cellmate, an introverted writer who ‘lives in his writing,’ as an example, he teaches us that we are all bounded by four figurative walls, four psychological flaws that stand in the way of our seemingly unattainable goals. One must learn to identify these flaws and knock them down, one by one. The Narrator shows us how it’s done and breaks free. So begins his twisty, abstract adventure home. He encounters three eccentric characters who bare a strange resemblance to the writer: The driver, a drunk whose ultimate flaw is his inability to handle tragedy, Mr. Illusionist, a magician who lives in a chronic state of fantastical denial, and the mugger, whose ultimate flaw is an obsession with control.
Within – Narrative Short (17 minutes)
Director/Producer: Robert Butler
Jacob is a hopeless Detroit romantic looking for love in the digital era. After miserable dates, he looks for life’s meaning through a series of philosophical readings on synchronicity. But Jacob can’t seem to get anything right His life goes on a downward spiral that includes being disconnected from society and even family, being trapped at his dead end job at a diner, and failing to find the right woman. Eventually Jacob has a brief encounter with a stranger visiting Detroit who can ultimately allow Jacob to discover a renewed purpose to his life.
Moths – Narrative Short (22 minutes)
Director: Andy Fortenbacher Producer: Maddie Shapiro
The chills of winter blow through a rural midwestern community in 1944 and Sam Whitaker, a lonely 9-year-old, awaits her father’s return from the World War II front lines. One day, Sam has a chance run in with a disfigured older boy named Frank, who is known for his monstrous appearance as the town outcast. Despite the harsh criticism from her peers, Sam befriends Frank, and learns a lesson about true friendship while nurturing a rare breed of moths.
7:30 pm Student Film MPI Workshop Film Premiere
7:45 pm Film Block #5
Celesta’s Sonata – Narrative Short/Student (12 minutes)
Director: Jalon Lee Producer: Nate Driesenga
The story of Celesta is that of tragedy, determination and revenge.
Love Positive – Narrative Short (31 minutes)
Directors/Producers: Kenneth R Nelson Jr. & Sean Vaughn
Two longtime friends’ relationship is challenged when a tragedy from the past resurfaces.
The Neverlands – Narrative Short/Student (11 minutes)
Director/Producer: Luke Jaden
Producers: Cort Johns, Joel C. Warren & Vincent Shade
You are not welcome in The Neverlands! This is the place where lost boys graduate into a life of chaos at a young age to be permanently cast out of society. This is where squandered youth meets manhood head on.
The Blood of Love – Narrative Short (19 minutes)
Director: Jeff Meyers
Producers: Jonathan West, Keith Jefferies & Arden Morris
Unwilling to accept the death of her husband, a young widow, acquires a machine that can bring him back to her. But the machine exacts a terrible price: she must provide the blood it needs to revive her beloved. And it starts demanding more and more blood for less and less time.
9:10 pm Made-in-Michigan Film Festival Awards
SUNDAY OCTOBER 18th
1:00 pm Film Block #6
Don’t Laugh I Love You – Narrative Short/Student (15 minutes)
Director/Producer: Frederick Karn
Lorenzo will go to lengths to prove that the girl of his dreams has a crush on him.
Project Zemph - Narrative Feature/First time filmmaker (53 minutes)
Director/Producer: Tyler Shane Seeley Producer: K. Charles Wight
A recovered missing child, Ze, works closely with post-traumatic psychotherapist, Dr. Gabriel David Liam, to discover the events which took place over the weekend in which Ze disappeared.
2:20 pm Film Block #7
Till We’re Free – Narrative Short (20 minutes)
Director: Denn Pietro Producers: Rita Montpetit-Liegl & Stephanie Shum
TILL WE’RE FREE is the story of a mother, Mamie Till, whose defiance while exposing the truth behind the murder of her 14-year-old-son, Emmett Till, helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. Emmett was beaten and killed for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955. The two accused men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milliam, were acquitted of the murder, but later confessed to a reporter to kidnapping and killing Emmett Till – but they didn’t tell the whole truth.
Reality Gallery – Narrative Short (16 minutes)
Director/Producer: Cary Ewing Producer: Tom Larson
A Satirical look at the operation of an art gallery, its happenings and inhabitants. Filmed on location at C.A.T. Work Studios Gallery of Art in Bay City, Michigan.
BFA – Narrative Short (10 minutes)
Director: Jim Gleason Producer: Jeff Vande Zande
A poet tries to get a job at a bank.
The Hunt – Narrative Short/Student (6 minutes)
Director/Producer: Jose Nunez
A man goes on a hunt in the forest but all is not as it seems…
Solo – Narrative Short/Student (9 minutes)
Director/Producer: Gintare Zukauskaite
In one of the southern states in the US, in the 1930’s, Charles is a teenager, who finds himself in a party, where his parents serve as hosts. Jimmy, the houseboy, secretly hands him a jazz record, while Charles’ manipulative and conservative father watches them. This leads to Charles’ family wish to destroy a friendship between a black servant and aristocratic boy that is deeply touched by jazz music.
Buzzed – Narrative Short/Student (7 minutes)
Director: Josue Ferrero Producer: Steve Rodenburg
Frank and Katie meet through an online dating service. They carry with them buzzers that let them change the other person’s answers. They try to get to know each other while trying to get what they want from a relationship.
3:45 pm Documentary Feature
One Simple Question – Documentary Feature (95 minutes)
Director: Derek Alan Rowe Producers: Teresa Carey & Ben Eriksen
A young couple seeks adventure, sheds the comforts of land, and begins a life at sea aboard a small sailboat. Their goal is simple — sail north until they find an iceberg. But they’ll need to sail over 1600 miles before the first sign of ice. The journey takes them from the suburbs of New York to the scenic grandeur of Newfoundland and ultimately to a little known place called Iceberg Alley.
Through Teresa’s voice as an introspective writer, the film follows the two as they endure tight quarters, sleepless nights, thick fog, rough weather and icy northern water. Drawing on insight from seasoned world voyagers, arctic scientists and neuroconservationists, One Simple Question explores a metamorphosis in values and the joys of a simple life. It inspires a greater understanding of our planet, and a new path in the pursuit of happiness.
5:20 pm film Block #8
The Real Bargain – Documentary Short/Student (9 minutes)
Director/Producer: Kirk Rasmussen
Advocating for a system reform through positive spending decisions, “The Real Bargain,” is an observation of the local livestock production systems in the state of Michigan, and the journey in which consumers’ dollars enriches their communities.
The film depicts what happens when consumers spend decide to allocate their food budget toward local, sustainable farmer rather than buying meat, dairy, poultry or eggs at the supermarket. Featuring interviews with local farmers, customers, food system experts and others interested in a sustainable food system.
D is for Dream: A portrait of Detroit – Documentary Short/Student (7 minutes)
Director/Producer: Scott Swanson
“D is for Dream” is a video exploring the issues of race, art, and the future of Detroit.
The Second Right Off Main Street – Narrative Short/Student (5 minutes)
Director/Producer: Ryan Debergh
“The Second Right Off Main Street” accurately depicts the troubles and joys of growing up in a small town and how the hometown environment influences the life choices of its residents.
The Cold One – Narrative Short (6 minutes)
Director/Producer: Sandy Shelton
Dean goes looking for his missing brother and finds more than he bargained for…
Malignant Separation – Narrative Short (40 minutes)
Director/Producer: Tony Jacobs Producer: Brandon Crockett
“Malignant Separation” follows Boris Jackson, a flamboyant vigilante, as he confronts Detroit’s dark web of mayhem and corruption in this ‘good vs. evil’ tale. Out for the greater good, but with questionable tactics, Jackson must conquer his own demon