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2018 Film Screenings

  • Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy Street Southeast Grand Rapids, MI, 49506 United States (map)

For 2018, GRFF screens 38 films from all over the world.

These films qualify as either: Quality Entertainment or Transformative works. 

Two theatres run simultaneously from 12pm-11pm at the Wealthy Theatre on Saturday, April 14. All film blocks are $5 each. Panels and lectures are free. 

Three educational panels are also included in this program:

  • Funding Your Film Panel at 1:30pm in Theatre 1

      Alison Watson, Programs Manager, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
      Jennifer Rupp, Policy and Program Officer, Michigan Humanities Council
      Tony Garcia, Michigan Film and Digital Media Office
      Patrick Ziegler, Fubble Entertainment
      Anna Proulx, Alumni Relations, Compass College of Cinematic Arts, and former Manager of Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute

  • Bad Protagonist, Bad Fans, and Ethics at 3pm in Theatre 1

Lecture by Carl Plantinga, Calvin College
This talk asks what sort of ethical response critics should have toward stories on screens that feature bad protagonists. Many long-form television serials such as Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Sopranos, and House of Cards feature transgressive male protagonists who would be considered evil by any conventional standards. What is troubling is that some fans, who television critic Emily Nussbaum has dubbed “bad fans,” seemingly respond to these protagonists with uncomplicated approval. This talk examines possible ethical responses to bad protagonists and bad fans. It also considers the possibility that shows with bad protagonists elicit identification with the protagonist through various storytelling techniques, thus implicating the show’s creators in the encouragement of bad fans. 

  • Femme Gaze at 5:45pm in Theatre 1

Panel of female directors with work screening at GRFF. 


Theatre 1

Film Block 1A
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Block 1a: Beautiful Shorts, celebrating the joy of life

12pm: Dandelions, Light Sight, A Whole World for a Little World, School of Honk

Dandelions (animation)


Block 1a @12pm
Runtime: 0:05:31
An immortal beast that resides in a field of dandelions is plagued by a curse that causes him to kill anything he touches with his paws. Until one day a young girl stumbles upon him and takes it upon herself to solve his problem. Through this chance encounter a friendship blooms through the years.

From Peru, IN
Director: Nicole Hines
Producers: Rebecca Strong, Nicole Hines

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Light Sight (animation)

Block 1a @12pm
Runtime: 0:07:34
M.E., the imprisoned character in a room is attracted to a hanging light and tries to catch it. But the room itself becomes an obstacle on his way.

From Montreal, Quebec Canada by an Iranian filmmaker
Writer/Director: Seyed M. Tabatabaei
Producer: Simin Farrokh Ahmadi
Assistant Director: Simin Farrokh Ahmadi; Animation & VFX: Seyed M. Tabatabaei; Music: Amir Pour Khalaji; Sound Design & Mix: Behrooz Shahamat; Hardware Support: Seyed Abbas Estahbanati

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A Whole World for a Little World            

Block 1a @12pm
Runtime: 0:15:00
A woman tells a great story to her baby. In the manner of a tale with princes and princesses, she remains into his memories to pass on his daughter.

From Le Plessis Trevise, France
Writer/Director: Fabrice Bracq
Producer: Fabrice Préel-Cleach
Actors: Delphine Theodore, Garance Bracq, Stephane Coulon, Philippe Du Janerand, Marie Christine-Adam, Jeanne Ferron, Andrée Damant

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The School of Honk       

Block 1a @12pm, F&M
Runtime: 0:11:42
The School of Honk is an open community brass band that promotes joy and inclusivity through weekly gatherings and parades around Somerville and Cambridge.

From Sommerville, MA
Director/Producer: Patrick Johnson

Film Block 1D
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Block 1D: Femme Empowerment

4:15pm: Choice, Valentina, Pale Mirrors, Refill, Secret, Never Too Late, Total Apocalypse



Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:07:20
The birth control pill has become almost a self-evident part of a western woman’s growing up. New studies have proven the pill to be linked especially to adolescent depression, but doctors keep laughing at natural pregnancy prevention options, and young girls are expected to pop pills that have a history of causing deaths. Choice researches the conventions and awareness around the pill in Canada through Victoria’s personal story, and professional knowledge. Why has our society swept this issue under a rug is it because it’s a WOMEN'S health issue?

From Canada
Writer/Director: Vilja Keskimäki



Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:08:33
During the hottest day ever recorded in human history, a fastidious maid’s duties are interrupted when her vagina comes to life.

From : Brooklyn, NY
Writer/Director:  Mary Angelica Molina
Producer: Annalise Lockhart
Key Cast: Emma Ramos

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Pale Mirrors     

Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:15:00
"Shawbo" a woman which has only 24 hours to be pregnant. This might be her last opportunity to be a mother, but assuming the vague future completely has confused her. For this important she need go to city prison ...

From: Islamic Republic of Iran
Writer/Director/Producer: Salem Salavati
Key Cast: Minoo Sharifi Pour - Akram Morab - Mozafar Rahimi

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Family Rewritten            

Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:13:15
Follow a girl’s surprisingly inspiring personal journey with foster care.

From: Brooklyn, NY
Writer: Maxine Trump
Director: Yasmin Mistry
Key Cast: Camilla Tecsy, Kim Flodin, Farhan Ali, Maja-Lisa Flodin-Ali, Yasmine Flodin-Ali



Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:10:41
An elderly woman is forced to confront her anxiety when it appears as a stressed out, twenty year-old, ready to prove her worth.

From: Grand Rapids, MI
Writer/Director:  Carese Bartlett
Producer: Alyson Caillaud-Jones
Key Cast: Mallory Caillaud-Jones, Mary C. Jones

Never too late  

Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:06:00
A woman struggles with alcoholism, which leads to homelessness. Even so, she learns that it’s never too late to get help. GRFF 36-Hour Challenge Winner Best of Show.

From: Grand Rapids, MI

Total Apocalypse            

Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:06:00
It’s the end of the world, and your best friend’s dealing with a break up. GRFF 36-Hour Challenge Winner Best Professional Film.

From: Grand Rapids, MI



Block 1d @4:15pm
Runtime: 0:14:51  
The story of a woman experiencing the stages of grief after the recent death of her husband, a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan. It is a piece about love and loss, the changing of the seasons, the healing power of nature, and the majestic beauty of horses.

From: Rochester Hills, MI
Writer/Director/Producer: Shana Gagnon
Key Cast: Shana Gagnon , Bill Doherty Jr. , Dennis Smrcina , Maegan Fitzgerald

Film Block 1F
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Block 1f: Forgiveness and Christianity

7pm: The Spirit of God is Heavy, Peace During War, FOUR-NINETY, Abstraction, David, A Name That I Admire

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The Spirit of God is Heavy         

Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:10:33
The story of a small church in West Michigan reaching out to a subculture largely forgotten and abandoned by the Church.

From: Grand Rapid, MI
Writers: Hailey Jansson, Michael Lentz, Grant Stubelt
Director: Kendra Larsen

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Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:12:00
A pardoned ex-con reluctantly returns to prison as a visitor, but the hardest prison to escape is a hateful heart.

From: Holt, MI
Writer/Director: Scott A. Magie
Key Cast: Jimmy Doom, Rico Bruce Wade


Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:15:46
Murder. Abstract art. Forgiveness.

Writer/Director: Jon Cipiti
Key Cast: John Priddy, Michael Priddy, Makoto Fujimura, Richard Brown, Paul Nethercott


A Name That I Admire  

Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:05:52
A seventh-generation dairy farmer in southwest Virginia casts his presidential ballot for an unlikely candidate.

From: Grand Rapids, MI
Director: Sam Smartt


Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:07:50
Documentary short about the dangers of distracted driving and the power of forgiveness.

From: Holland, MI
Director: Ben Lemmen

Peace During War          

Block 1f @7pm
Runtime: 0:16:00
Documentary short about two former gang members who found their way to forgive each other which resulted in founding Peace During War, a mentoring program for youth in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  This short is an inspiring story of how working together can change the lives of troubled youth, and inspire all youth to stay motivated, get education and be allies rather than enemies.

From: Paw Paw, MI
Director/Producer: Jennifer Machiorlatti
Key Cast: Yafinceio Harris, Michael Wilder

Film Block 1G
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Block 1g: For the Love of Music

8:45pm: Broken Strings, Up to Snuff

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Block 1g @8:45pm
Runtime: 1:20:16
Millions of people have been touched by his music, yet few know the journey, hardships and triumphs of American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. In UP TO SNUFF, friends and collaborators share personal stories, laughs and insights about this generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll to find success as one of the most beloved composers in television history. Infused with Snuffy’s music throughout, the film features luminaries from television, film and music, including Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, Tom Arnold, Timothy Busfield, Fred Savage, Marshall Herskovitz, Steve Lukather, Chaka Khan and Eric Burdon, and scenes from The West Wing, Wonder Years, and thirtysomething.

From: Herndon, VA
Director/Producer: Mark Maxey
Key Cast: Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, Tom Arnold, Timothy Busfield, Fred Savage, Joshua Malina, Ed Asner, Marshall Herskovitz, Lawrence O'Donnell, Steve Lukather, Tony Braunagel, John 'Rabbit' Bundrick, Tris Imboden, Eric Burdon, Mike Post

Broken Strings  

Block 1g @8:45pm
Runtime: 0:04:57
An aspiring musician seeks his idols approval.

From: Grand Rapids, MI
Writer/Director: Dalton Meyaard
Producer: Caleb Meyer
Key Cast: Jimmy Birney, Luke Haarkama

Theatre 2

Film Block 2A
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Block 2a: Street Art in Community Revitalization

12pm: The United States of Detroit

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The United States of Detroit      

Block 2a @12pm
Runtime: 1:22:00
Residents of Detroit's neighborhoods fight for survival in a city with an uncertain future, working tirelessly to improve their communities in the face of blight, broken infrastructure and mismanaged resources. Follow the perspectives of several leaders from three different community projects in Detroit, projects that a handful of empowered citizens took it upon themselves to create.

Film Block 2A
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Block 2b: Opioid Addiction

1:45pm: The United States of Detroit

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Detroit Diamond            

Block 2b @1:45pm
Runtime: 0:22:59
Diamond, a young single mother consumed by heroin addiction, battles to keep her child out of the hands of the state.


Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis        

Block 2b @1:45pm
Runtime: 0:57:47
An investigation of the opiate crisis following the stories of the people it has impacted in a small Michigan community.

Film Block 2C
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Block 2c: Religious History

3:30pm: Luther



Block 2c @3:30pm
Runtime: 1:31:31
Discover the story behind the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation. Told through a seamless combination of live-action storytelling and artistic animation, Martin Luther’s daring life is presented in extensive detail while still making the film relevant, provocative, and accessible.

Film Block 2D
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Block 2d: Environment Brazil

5:30pm: Beyond Fordlandia

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Beyond Fordlandia

Block 2d @5:30pm
Runtime: 1:15:51
An environmental account ninety years after Henry Ford’s Amazon experience. In 1927 the Ford Motor Company attempted to establish rubber plantations on the Tapajs River, a primary tributary of the Amazon. The film addresses the recent transition from failed rubber to successful soybean cultivation for export, and its implication for land usage, leading to such questions as: What were the actual economic reasons for Ford to venture hundreds of miles through the Amazon jungle for a home for his project? Why did he want to transplant a slice of twentieth century civilization into the middle of the Amazon forest? Was rubber cultivation his only goal? What are the ecological implications for a staggering number of fish, insects, plants, animals, and the biome in general, of this venture now ninety years later?

Film Block 2E
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Block 2e: Cultural Appreciation 

7pm: Are You Volleyball?!, Mino Bimaadiziwin, Dreamer, @ Beautiful Mountains

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Are You Volleyball?!      

Block 2e @7pm


A group of Arabians spoken asylum seekers arrive to an English spoken country border and can't keep going. They conflict with border soldiers everyday till a deaf-mute baby becomes a catalyst for better communication between two groups.



Block 2e @7pm
Runtime: 0:18:25
A Native American struggling with survivor's guilt finds redemption serving his fellow veterans.

Beautiful mountains.jpg

@ Beautiful Mountains

Block 2e @7pm
Runtime: 0:40:00
In the 500 years old Meishan Village in Fujian, China, over half of the population has left for the cities. But a 26 years old aspiring boy Lin Yusheng chooses to return and dreams of becoming a millionaire by introducing an Internet purchasing agency to the villagers. He needs the money to marry a city girl. Meanwhile, a 90 year old dance master Lin Shuibiao tries to pass on his centuries old expertise to the next generation. The film presents the inevitable collapse of an old China through the intertwining of the two characters' struggles.

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Mino Bimaadiziwin        

Block 2e @7pm, F&M
Runtime: 0:10:18
A love story about decolonization.

Film Block 2F
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Block 2f: Unconventional Love Stories
Short Narratives

9pm: Chocolate and Cigarettes, Just Coffee, Almost Human, Obits, Limit, Lawman, Nottingham, Genesis



Chocolate and Cigarettes            

Block 2f @9pm
Runtime: 0:15:53
A story of love, heartache, chocolate, and cigarettes. This slice-of-life drama & comedy revolves around Nick, an awkward flight attendant who decides that tonight is the night he's going to woo Cassidy, his beautiful and flirty coworker. Misinterpreting her signals as a sign that she is truly interested in him, he ends up going for her and stumbling into a terrible, awkward, (and comical) situation.

just coffee.jpg

Just Coffee

Block 2f @9pm
Runtime: 0:12:08
A diner descends into chaos when an elderly patron takes advantage of their Free Refill policy.

almost human.jpg

Almost Human

Block 2f @9pm
Runtime: 0:06:38
Technophobe, Vincent, struggles to make a meaningful connection with two women dependent on their cell phones.



Block 2f @9pm
Runtime: 0:07:27
Writing obituaries is the least prestigious job at the paper, and Kelly is stuck there.  When her boss challenges her to go deeper - to learn more about her subjects - she comes up with a plan to change everything.



Block 2f @9pm
Runtime: 0:07:00
Someone in a quiet area asked help from the people who he sees till someone enters the house and suddenly...



Block 2f @9pm, F&M    
Runtime: 0:13:11
1875, Indian Territory. Bass Reeves, is the first African-American to be deputized by the U.S. Marshal service. When Bass charges into the desert, he engages in a shootout with two outlaws, killing one in a gunfight, and arresting the other, ordering him to carry the dead body across the desert back to Fort Smith.



Block 2f @9pm, F&M   
Runtime: 0:06:21
In a rundown dystopia ruled by a Man in a Suit, an innocent Prisoner is made the scapegoat for society’s problems and sentenced to death by hanging. She is not the first to be wrongly executed, and unless things change, she is far from the last.



Block 2f @9pm, F&M   
Runtime: 0:10:00
A fantasy short film with a critical point of view about the horrible situation in Syria. 



Runtime: 0:04:36
We all try to numb the pain in our lives with our own form of Novocain; to no avail.

Earlier Event: April 13
F&M (fashion and music for film) 2018
Later Event: April 15
Filmmaker Impact Talks