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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Short film exhibition at GRAM highlights local filmmakers

Courtesy | GRAM

In collaboration with the Wealthy Theatre, The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is displaying an exhibition titled “Wealthy Theatre Presents: Experimental Film Selections from Open Projector Night” until Jan. 14. This exhibition showcases several short films from local filmmakers, with topics ranging from issues in society to artistic expression.

The exhibition is inspired by Wealthy Theatre’s  Open Projector Night and focuses on curating films created by Michigan-based filmmakers, bringing their work to new audiences. A selection of films deemed as experimental have been grouped to create the exhibit at the GRAM, with separate programs running throughout the life of the exhibit. Included in the exhibition are a wide range of short films that incorporate different approaches to the art form. 

Terra Warren, the GRAM’s assistant curator, collaborated with Nicholas Hartman of the Wealthy Theatre and Spencer Everhart, Adjunct Professor of Film & Video Production at Grand Valley State University, to bring this exhibition to life.

“Both Wealthy Theatre and Grand Valley’s film program have been doing exceptional work promoting local filmmakers and we wanted to throw in our support in whatever way made sense for the museum to do so,” Warren said. “GRAM is honored to provide a container for bringing Open Projector Night outside of Wealthy Theatre to reach new audiences.”

Hartman hopes that local filmmakers will see Michigan and Grand Rapids as a place of opportunity for their art. Hartman believes the Wealthy Theatre Open Projector Night has been a massive success in bringing the local film scene together.

“If you look in different areas such as New York, LA and everything, everyone’s just kinda spread apart and competing for each other,” Hartman said. “We’re really trying to bring people together, to work together, to build crews, to get people excited here in Michigan so they don’t leave, so they don’t go to New York or LA.”

Each film was purposefully selected by Hartman and Everhart out of a collection of over 75 separate films. Hartman said their goal was to create a “mixtape of cinema” that displayed a wide variety and made sense cohesively for the exhibition. 

“Some of the films are interested in the corporeal, others are highly cerebral,” Warren said. “Some are serious, tackling issues like racism, gender, and the human experience, while others are deeply funny–and a few of them encapsulate these polarities.”

With experimental film being shown in an official setting at the GRAM, Hartman hopes people will view film as an art form instead of disregarding it because of the different or abstract content.

“Film (to me) is the ultimate art form,” Hartman said. “There’s a lot of people that put blood, sweat and tears to put out this product.”

The event has been organized into two different programs that both include a selection of different short films. The first program has already concluded, but the second program will run until the exhibition wraps up on Jan. 14. Information about the films and filmmakers on display can be found on the GRAM’s website.

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