GRFF teams up with PechaKuchaGR to highlight 20X20 presentations from area filmmakers. Their talks highlight the transformative impact film had on their lives.
PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where a speakers shows 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Learn more about PechaKucha here.
Evan Koons is a writer and actor. Perhaps best known for the viral sensation Church Appropriate Dance Moves, Evan was also a co-writer and host of the 7-part series For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles. He penned the acclaimed hospice documentary Except for Six, a film Ken Burns called “heart-felt and important.” He’s written for both the corporate and commercial world, as well as the episodic television series Exploring Kaman. As an actor, he’s worked opposite the legendary Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future series, Taxi) in the film Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson. Camp Manna, a film Evan co-produced and starred in along side Gary Busey and Jimmy Tatro, is slated for a summer 2017 release.
Michael McCallum is an award winning director/writer/actor/editor who was born in Lansing, MI where he currently resides. He started acting in 1997 started his film company, Rebel Pictures, in 1999.His first feature film as a writer/director, Fairview St., was premiered in Jan. 2009 at Celebration Cinema, in Lansing, MI, to sell out crowds. The film was accepted into 28 film festivals nationally, played in 12 different states and won 15 major awards. It also played and won awards at festivals in India and Australia! McCallum was also awarded, Michigan Independent Filmmaker of the Year 2012 and asked to Direct the Production Workshop for the 2013 and 2014 the Grand Rapids Film Festival.
In 2015 McCallum and his Rebel Pictures team finished their fourth feature film, Buffalo! He was excited to work, again, with his talented Father, William C. McCallum, who plays the lead role in Buffalo. They also wrote the film together. It has won 10 awards and received 20 nominations in it's first 14 film festivals. It has also played in Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong and the Caribbean. With the 13 films that Rebel Pictures has made they have won 72 major awards, been nominated for 118 other major awards and been accepted into 119 film festivals internationally!
Lucas Miles is a sought-after film producer, writer, speaker, pastor, and entertainment adviser. As the principal and founder of Miles Media, Inc., Lucas is committed to making movies with a purpose. He commonly appears on television, in churches, at universities, and at conferences throughout the United States and abroad. Together, Lucas and Miles Media have a growing catalog of feature films under their belt, including Rodeo Girl (Kevin Sorbo and Sophie Bolen), Crowning Jules (Kevin Farley and Kristy Swanson), and The Penitent Thief (TBA, 2017). In addition, Miles Media is currently in development for several TV pilots and additional feature film projects with Lucas also at the helm. Beyond his work in film, Lucas is a pastor and writer and his new book, Good God: The One We Want to Believe In But Are Afraid to Embrace, released in 2016 in bookstores everywhere. Lucas has received endorsements from noteworthy figures, such as, Kevin Sorbo (Actor), Phil Cooke (Producer), Dr. Tim Storey (Celebrity Life Coach), Kristy Swanson (Actress), and Keith Hudson (Father of Pop sensation Katy Perry). He resides with his wife, Krissy, in Granger, Indiana.
Bret Miller was born and raised in Rochester Hills, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. While completing his degree from Michigan State University, Bret began pre-production on his first feature film, Some Are Born.
After working for a production company for a few short years, he dove headfirst into independently directing fiction films and commercial content. This led him to Grand Rapids, a town he likes to refer to as “home base.” He directed the feature film Chasing The Star, a biblical time piece from Collective Development Incorporated, and he has released numerous short films and commercial spots for companies such as Eightfold Creative and Revel Marketing. His short film Red Skies has screened in Italy, and in Paris, France.
Julian Newman is a husband, father, writer, artist, and storyteller. Julian says that he is just a “regular guy with an impossible dream.”
Born on a Marine Corps base near San Diego, California, he was a boy with a vivid imagination and a love for stories. Whether it was learning bible stories in Sunday-School, listening to his Dad’s Marine Corp narratives, or watching James Bond films on TV, an exciting tale always had Julian’s attention. But what he loved best was creating his own. So a group of Julian’s elementary school friends created their own comic book epics (above), penciling themselves in as the main characters.
Now over two and a half decades later, Julian doesn’t want to just tell a great story, but wants to live one and help others do the same. Using rare mix of truth/insight/humor/pop culture, and personal story a live session with Julian is something you won’t soon forget.
With 20+ years of wide ranging leadership experience inside the faith community as a pastor and teacher, and in the marketplace as a consultant, communicator, and creative, Julian has a unique knack for inspiring people to believe that they can become everything that they were destined to be. He has given unique talks(here & here) for various groups domestically and abroad, written for Relevant Magazine, danced at the Catalyst Conference, and starred in a Rocky-styled movie remake.
On October 12th, 2014 he was involved with a core team that launched an emerging Jesus community called Tribes Church. Julian has an uplifting take on life, leadership, and living a story that changes the world.
Tom Norton possesses extensive multi-camera production and post production planning for long and short form programming. Extensive experience in writing documentaries and shorts. Extensive experience in large scale project management from television station construction to purchase of full scale mobile units to detailed involvement in creating large scale television productions. Created The Eclipse Awards, a regional film, television awards in conjunction with other organizations which is now in its 6th successful year.
Founded a digital cinema program with area DP's and writers to foster the creation of locally based content utilizing cinema techniques with the newest cadre of digital cinema gear. Freelance producing, directing and writing for a wide variety of corporate clients from software to medical. Producer Director of the short film, "7 Stones" now in distribution on Comcast xFinity and Amazon Prime. Developed the cooking entertainment program "Engine House Recipes" in conjunction with Engine House Concepts, LLC and MPT (Maryland Public Television); directing, editing and shooting pilot episodes and promotional spots. Hired to write the independent feature "King of Kalamazoo." Author of three additional screenplays.
Founder and chief editor at now.wktv.org, a hyper-local news service the serves the communities and the region with resident citizen reporters. Trained by a staff of managing editors, citizen reporters source, collaborate and produce daily content for the online hyper local news source now.wktv.org. Starting in the Fall of 2016, the operation expands into a regular television/social media newscast.
After graduating with a Master of Science in Communications from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, John Otterbacher moved to Chicago where he splits his time between teaching and filmmaking. Otterbacher has mainly worked as a producer and cinematographer specializing in independent film/tv/new media and work for non-profit organizations. As a college instructor, Otterbacher has taught at a number of institutions and is currently coordinator for the Cinematography program at Tribeca Flashpoint College in Chicago. He is a board member and serves as Vice President for IFP Chicago and is a member of the Education Advisory Committee for Cinema/Chicago. More recently, John received his MFA in film from VCFA as part of the inaugural class. Officially Limited and Father Burke’s Boss Battle are John’s current film projects.
Zac Page is an award winning independent filmmaker whose body of work has screened in film festivals worldwide. After receiving his Bachelors degree in Film & Video Production from Grand Valley State University in 2010, he began development on multiple feature films and recently completed his feature debut BURST THEORY which was released Fall 2016. In addition to directing his own work, Zac has been screenwriter for multiple award winning short films including: THE PAINTER AND THE WIFE, MELON HEAD, and MOTHS which was a semi-finalist in the Student Academy Awards 2015. His body of feature scripts continues to grow as he collaborates with other independent filmmakers. Zac currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he acts as Writer/Director and CEO at DropDrop Studios, bringing strategic vision to a growing production and design company.
John Harper Philbin is a professor at Grand Valley State University and an award-winning filmmaker. In addition to directing many short films, Philbin has helmed three feature-length projects: the courtroom drama To Live and Die in Dixie (2008), and the higher ed satires, Lucky Jay (2015) and Lucky Jay 2 (2016).
Kathleen Sindorf earned her Master of Arts Degree in Radio/TV/Film from the School of Communication at the University of Michigan. She is a full-time faculty member, Student Advisor and member of the Admission, Retention and New Majors Committees. Sindorf is a Board of Directors and Executive Committee member for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and an Intercollegiate Committee member and presenter for the National Religious Broadcasters. She is a former board member and M.C. of Concerned Women for America. Among other awards and nominations, she has received the President’s Award of Excellence for the Christian Broadcasting Network. Sindorf’s articles have been published in Religious Broadcasting, World Magazine and Screen Magazine. In addition to contributing to the book, Evangelical Media, she has written the chapter on “The Evangelical Women’s Movement” in a new 3-volume encyclopedia, Evangelical Christians and Popular Culture: Pop Goes the Gospel, Edited by Robert Woods and published by Praeger Publishing, an imprint of ABC-CLIO.
A Michigan native, Ella Swift earned a masters in Irish literature with a specialty in dramatic literature, studying how folklore was used in early Irish theater.
While living and working in the Pacific Northwest, Swift had her “Aha!” moment: The best way to get storytelling out to the most people is through film. She moved back to her home state and began immersing herself in the film ecosystem here, founding Burly Mermaid Productions. While Burly Mermaid carries the honor of being the first female-only production company in West Michigan, Swift said she doesn’t hire only women and is “totally open to anyone with talent and drive.” Swift, whose married name is Ella Swift Redding, has many credits, including cheerleading coordinator for Touchback, assistant to Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel for The End of The Tour, and more recently, unit production manager and co-producer for The Alchemist Cookbook (shot entirely in Allegan) and assistant to the director, Rob Reiner, for LBJ.