As a filmmaker and native of Grand Rapids, I’ve long felt that we should have a world class film festival to showcase our amazing community and to be a showcase for movies.

Having been with the festival for a number of years, I’ve seen it grow and change and struggle and succeed. More and more films are being made every year and they need a place to be seen - not online alone, but in a theater with an engaged audience of film lovers and filmmakers. There’s something very special about seeing a movie, your own or somebody else's, on the big screen with friends and strangers alike in the crowd. We can be the vehicle for these special events with movies big and small. Building a festival is hard, building an audience for one is even harder but we’ve made it this far and I feel like with the right people and organizations supporting it, the Grand Rapids Film Festival has a bright future. I hope you’ll join me in helping take our festival to the next level!

John Otterbacher

Interim President, Grand Rapids Film Festival

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