GRFF to present three days of film-centered activities

GVL / Courtesy - Jennifer Shaneberger

GVL / Courtesy – Jennifer Shaneberger

Carmen Smith

The 2017 Grand Rapids Film Festival (GRFF) will present three days worth of film-centered activities, including: interviews with filmmakers, discussions on fashion, music in the film industry and over 25 different films varying in age and genre.

The GRFF will begin Thursday, April 6, with Filmmakers PechaKucha, a discussion facilitated by 12 filmmakers who use the PechaKucha 20 slides x 20 seconds format to tell the story of how film transformed their lives. The discussion will be held at Noto’s Old World Dining in downtown Grand Rapids from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person in advance and $7 at the door.

The festival will continue with an F&M program Friday, April 7, which explores the intercept between fashion and music in the film industry. This event will be held from 7 p.m to 11 p.m. at 900 Grandville Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets are $10 per person.

GRFF will conclude Saturday, April 8, with a series of 13 different time blocks, each showing an array of films, beginning at noon and running consecutively until 11:45 p.m at the Wealthy Street Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids. Each time block has $6 admission. To check out which films are shown at each time block, visit

The GRFF showcases films that have the ability to connect viewers to emotions and ideas that might not be found in their daily experiences. The films are designed to address social issues, injustice, discord and polarizing voices that have the power to transform viewers by creating awareness, offering solutions and calling for change.

The festival aims to increase regional access to and overall production of quality films that provide meaningful, constructive and encouraging entertainment while harnessing the transformative power of film.

The films include a wide variety of genres, including: documentaries, dramas, comedies, romantic comedies and many more. Along with the films, GVSU professor, John Harper Philbin will be speaking at the Filmmakers PechaKucha, as well as two GVSU alumni, Sloan Inns and John Otterbacher.

“I believe that film has the power to shape behavior, and I want to enhance our community by giving it the opportunity of watching these films,” Jen Shaneberger, president and CEO of the GRFF said. “The festival is a great opportunity to be a part of the Grand Rapids art community, and also has excellent networking opportunities for students and professionals.”

Working alongside Shaneberger, are five GVSU student interns, Miranda Bator, Kelsy Murphy, Alcedo, Lauren Harrington and Maria Sych After working with Shaneberger and the GRFF, Bator said that learning more about the arts and film culture of Grand Rapids has been so rewarding and something she will carry throughout her future career endeavors.

“Working with GRFF has been truly rewarding experience,” Sych said. “GRFF does so much to create inclusive and accessible arts exhibitions to strengthen the vitality of our diverse and vibrant Grand Rapids arts community, and I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of that vision.”

The student interns are all able to acquire hands-on experience with community connections, selling and persuasion, branding, funding and organization.

“Only from an intern’s perspective, I see that GRFF is working toward building and identifying their solid foundation, and in so are becoming better equipped to serve Its regions film community,” Harrington said.