GV alumni spotlight genre films in upcoming festival

Courtesy Photo/ thrillerchiller.com
A crowd gathers outside the Peter Wege Auditorium at the Wealthy Theatre for the Thriller! Chiller! FIlm Festival.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo/ thrillerchiller.com A crowd gathers outside the Peter Wege Auditorium at the Wealthy Theatre for the Thriller! Chiller! FIlm Festival.

Chris LaFoy

The inside of the Fulview Films office in downtown Grand Rapids looks like a mix between an Apple store and a film nut’s dorm room.

Scattered among the glowing white Apple logos are film props and movie posters of classics such as “Indiana Jones” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Chris Randall’s time in this office is split between editing and producing films and commercials for Fulview, a local film production company, and organizing Grand Rapid’s own “Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival.”

Randall and Anthony Griffin, both Grand Valley State University graduates, created Thriller! Chiller! six years ago. Randall said it started as a way to shocase classic horror films around Halloween, but the festival has bloomed into a three-day event that screens more than 70 films from around the world.

The festival is held in the historical Wealthy Theater from Oct. 21 to 23 and highlights genre films, a category of movies usually associated with low budgets and independent producers.

Griffin and Randall said they make a point to differentiate their festival from others in Grand Rapids and Michigan as a whole.

“We offer a completely different film festival,” Randall said. “We show movies that aren’t shown in typical festivals.”

This year, among the dozens of showings of independently produced low-budget projects, blockbuster hits “Die Hard” and “Cape Fear” will also be screened.

“Our first year we showed Ghostbusters,” Randall said. “We show the movies we love, the movies we like to see.”

The festival has grown considerably since its earliest stages. The first festival was held in Muskegon and only received around 20 submissions.

“We decided to bring the festival to Grand Rapids the second year,” Randall said. “Since we were based here it made it much more sustainable.”

Randall added that the decision to show the movies at the Wealthy Theater was an easy one.

“We were going to shows at the Wealthy long before the festival was around,” he said. “It’s perfect for our festival since it has that old theater feel.”

Griffin and Randall said they try to make their festival accessible to anyone. They fear that some people think they cannot attend film festivals because they are not film experts.

“The films are art and we like to appreciate them that way,” Randall said. “But it should fun before anything else.”

Randall said they like to refer to the work as movies, not films. “Movies” implies that they are entertaining, not necessarily something that needs to be dissected and understood.

Festival organizers have been sifting through over 200 film submissions from around the world for the upcoming showing.

“We are showing a movie from Iran this year,” Randall said. “It had to be illegally smuggled out of the country virtually.”

The festival will consist of 78 films of both feature length and short format. In total 11 countries will be represented.

“Come in, grab a beer, see a movie,” Randall said. “We just want people to have fun.”

For more information, visit www.thrillerchiller.com.

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