Grand Rapids native Richard Turke's film Watch This was instantly beloved by GRFF's selection committee. The main character, Clifford played by Harrison Page, captivated as one only can when well-developed and well-acted. Turke currently resides in Southern California where he is well-knit in the film community. Here's what he had to say in a recent interview with GRFF.
Q: You're from Grand Rapids? What school did you attend? Is your family still here?
A: I have many fond memories of growing up in East Grand Rapids. My teachers at both middle school and high school always encouraged my interest in the arts. I was fortunate to have their support and the support of my friends. Most of my family has moved across the country from New York City to Nebraska, to Chicago and San Diego. A brother and sister have remained in Grand Rapids.
Q: When did you leave Michigan? Why?
A: After graduating from East Grand Rapids High School, I was accepted at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, California, where I studied Film and Animation. I love storytelling and seeing it come alive on the screen... There, I graduated with a BA in film. Thereafter, I decided to stay in California. When I got homesick, I would visit Grand Rapids.
Q: Where do you live now?
A: I live in beautiful downtown Burbank.
Q: What's your role on set?
A: I have worked as a Writer, Producer and Director. I love the opportunity to create my own ideas and then have them developed on the screen though my direction. But it is important to note that making a film is a team effort. I enjoy working with the many talented people that collaborate in producing a film project.
Q: Are you paying the bills completely with filmmaking? Or do you have to supplement?
A: I currently have a “day job” working in “post-production”. This gives me an opportunity to hone my skills in post-production and editing. I also have time to produce, write and direct pilots, music videos, features, and shorts.
Q: What advice can you give to up and coming Grand Rapids filmmakers?
A: Fully understand that there is a lot of competition but there is opportunity if you have vision and passion for your ideas and are willing to work. Because of technology, making films is much more accessible. You can collaborate with friends or a film community. Filmmaking is a team effort and you can’t do it alone.
Q: Besides the festival, what are you looking forward to doing while you're back in your hometown in April?
A: I am thankful for being invited to participate in the Grand Rapids Film Festival and to be able to meet with local filmmakers and talk film. In addition, I am looking forward to spending some time with old friends and my family that remains here. There is no place like home.