Spotlight Event in Review

Written by: Nicole Lardner and Kyle Kaczor

On October 13, GRFF held our annual “Spotlight” event on the riverfront of Compass Insurance featuring the award winning short, Supermom (Jason Honeycutt) and feature film, Something Fun (Chad Rhiness).

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Recap: The event kicked off with the Blue Spoon food truck bringing amazing Tex-Mex options for the event-goers (vegetarian and meat-lovers alike). Adding to the relaxed environment was Grand Rapids’ native Brewery Vivant. Serving their beer on wheels, including their special brand of IPA called Hopfield and Farm Hand, one of the most popular Farmhouse Ales in the state.

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The pre-screening party offered modified versions of the hit game jenga and beer pong, but enhanced to giant size, along with cornhole and horseshoes. DJ Kevin Kowalski set the mood with a variety of music to entertain all attendees. The fire pit cut through the fall air and offered ambiance as well as warmth.

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When it came closer to the viewing, the directors, Jason Honeycutt and Chad Rhiness gave a short interview and answered questions. This was a nice touch, seeing as to how both directors are Michigan born and raised, and now making it in Los Angeles.  

Because a good amount of film students aspire to land themselves in LA for their professional careers, GRFF toured the filmmakers to four regional universities to offer some advice to students. The most meaningful advice was to, “stay humble and prove yourself.” In fact, Honeycutt said that the advantage that Michigan students have is their humility and lack of entitlement.

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Exhibiting films outside in October is a risk, but the weather held and with blankets and lawn chairs in front of an impressive blow-up screen, the evening was magical, a “perfect fall night.” There was no cozier of a setting, with blankets, friends, and two great films playing below the star and tiki-torch lights. A special thanks to Compass Insurance for hosting and sponsoring the event.


Why you missed out: Even as an intern working the event, I had a blast. It was clear to see that event attracted a wide variety of  viewers, around 75 people to be specific, and there was so much for them to do before the film showing. The location was truly beautiful, which definitely added to the experience. The films were shown directly on the riverfront in Grand Rapids, and we lined the space with tiki torches, which only added to the overall aesthetic. It was also a nice touch to have Food Trucks because they are honestly just so fun, as well as easy. But by far, my favorite part of the evening was the feeling in the air. It was the perfect mix of fun, and relaxing all throughout the evening. Seeing everybody enjoying the films, fire, food, and their friends made the work well worth it.