Chiaroscuro International Film Series Returns on January 14 at UICA

The Chiaroscuro International Film Series announces its 12th season with five celebrated films from around the world. The theme for this year’s award-winning roster of films is “Borders.” Using a variety of narrative, cinematic and thematic devices, each film explores the idea of borders – geographical, interpersonal, metaphorical, or otherwise. The programs begin at 2:00pm on scheduled Sundays January through March and include the feature presentation, a panel discussion, and a reception with refreshments. All programs are free and open to the public.

The 2018 films and their screening dates include:

January 14

Mediterranea (Carpignano, 2015) Italy/France/USA/Germany/Qatar

Two men make the dangerous journey from Burkina Faso in Africa to Italy for a better life, only to face hostility and violence once they arrive at their destination in this revealing look at the life-and-death struggle of refugees.

 January 28

Force Majeure (Östlund 2014) Sweden/France/Norway                           

Original Title: Turist

A Swedish family vacationing in the French Alps is confronted with a devastating avalanche. In more ways than one, the family’s world is shaken to its core.

February 11

House Without Roof  (Yusef, 2016) Germany/Iraq/Qatar                             

Original Title: Haus Ohne Dach

A difficult journey to the homeland of three siblings who were born in the Kurdish area of Iraq and subsequently raised in Germany. They want to fulfill their mother’s dying wish to bury her in her home village beside her husband, who was killed in the war under the Saddam Hussein regime.


February 25

Two Days, One Night (Dardenne, 2014) Belgium/France/Italy                    

Original Title: Deux Jours, Une Nuit

A factory worker discovers that her workmates have opted for a EUR1,000 bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She has only a weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses in order to keep her job. Starring Marion Cotillard.

March 11

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Waititi, 2016) New Zealand

A charmingly offbeat comedy about a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who are targets of a manhunt through the wild New Zealand bush country. Starring Sam Neill.

The panel discussion is organized with consideration of each film selected. Two experts are invited to sit on the panel, one is knowledgeable in film studies and the other deeply connected to the culture represented in the film. Feedback and questions from audience members is greatly encouraged.

The reception that follows the film viewing and panel discussion completes the afternoon immersion in world culture by offering complimentary food and drink and a comfortable space to gather outside the theater. This allows participants a space to mingle with others and build upon the ideas presented earlier in the program, encouraging further dialogue and cultural exchange in a friendly, casual setting.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy Sunday afternoons of film, food, and cultural exchange. The series offers an engaging way to experience the world without leaving town. All films are shown in the state-of-the-art theater at the UICA in downtown Grand Rapids, 2 West Fulton.  A Parking garage is available and the entrance is off Commerce Street.

About the Chiaroscuro International Film Series

The Chiaroscuro International Film Series is a non-profit cultural and educational organization fostering a deeper understanding of world cultures through the medium of film. Chiaroscuro enriches the West Michigan cultural landscape by presenting films in a setting that encourages discussion and enjoyment through a shared social experience. Serving the greater Grand Rapids community, Chiaroscuro provides a forum for award-winning cinema and support of local emerging filmmakers.



WMFVA is bringing in filmmaker Amy Heckerling in September…


Amy Heckerling, award-winning writer and director, is scheduled to lead the West Michigan Film Video Alliance’s 2016 Visiting Film Artist Series (VFAS) on September 9 & 10. Heckerling’s talent and contribution to the film industry has been recognized with a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, Writer’s Guild of America Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen, Women in Film Crystal Awards, and the American Film Institute Franklin J. Schaffner Award.

Celebration! Cinema North is the VFAS venue partner for the event, ensuring a state-of-the-art film viewing experience for the Friday evening screening, with the workshop and luncheon held in the versatile and spacious Wave Room on Saturday afternoon.

Event schedule at a glance:

 Friday, Sept.  9               WMFVA Members $10; non-members $15        

7-9pm                               Film screening Clueless and Q&A with Amy Heckerling

9-10pm                            Reception and meet and greet with Amy Heckerling


Saturday, Sept. 10          WMFVA Members $75; non-members $85

11:30am                           Registrant sign in opens

12-1pm                             Luncheon with Amy Heckerling

1-3pm                               Workshop with Amy Heckerling “A Filmmaker’s                                             Perspective: Battle Scars and Victory Laps”

3-3:30pm                        Wrap-up social with refreshments


Space is limited. Register soon! Visit for details.

Things Happening in GR This Weekend

I am excited to share some announcements public viewing opportunities for the coming Aug 5-7 weekend (in addition to Movies in the Park showing of Edward Scissorhands).

FIRST – Beginning Friday evening, August 5th at Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapidians will come together under a banner of international brotherhood to celebrate the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio on a beautiful 40’ video wall that features precision picture quality.  All weekend long, citizens can find the WOODTV8 Olympic coverage available on this big (gigantic!) screen in Downtown Grand RapidsThe event is free and open to the public. Please consider bringing lawn chairs and a picnic. No alcohol is permitted.  This weekend of viewing opportunities is made possible by a partnership of WOOD TV8, LiveSpace, The City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

THEN Saturday, August 6th – during a break in Olympic broadcasting – DGRI will provide an outdoor screening of Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character. The recently released documentary film tells the story of how President Ford’s character – and Grand Rapids upbringing – influenced decisions that helped shape and define the future of the United States and world.

The film was conceived and commissioned by the Peter F. Secchia Family of Grand Rapids to showcase the significant role President Ford played in the healing and revitalization of our nation through a challenging period in American history.  The show begins at 7 PM on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at Rosa Parks Circle in Downtown Grand Rapids. Like the Olympic programming, this event is also free and open to the public. Please consider bringing lawn chairs and a picnic. No alcohol is permitted.

This excellent documentary will play – rain or shine – on the aforementioned very large and impressive outdoor video wall.  The program is presented by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. in partnership with Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Executive Producer Peter Secchia, LiveSpace and WOOD TV 8.  Click here for more information about the documentary film:


Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience


Our Fires Still Burn is a one-hour documentary about the lives of contemporary Native American role models in the Midwest. The film examines the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society. Their experiences will touch both Natives and non-Natives and help build bridges of understanding, respect and communication. A question and answer session the filmmaker Audrey Geyer will follow the screening.

Grand Rapids Public Library

111 Library St NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Phone: 616.988.5400

Found Footage Festival

The Found Footage Festival

You may have to see it to believe it. Odd and hilarious videos are featured during the Found Footage Festival at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, 2 W. Fulton St.. Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett (of The Onion and “Late Show with David Letterman”) take guests on a guided tour of their new collection of found video clips coupled with live comedy.

Among the new group of videos are a Grand Rapids-based Christmas video called “Jingle Cats,” a holiday-themed workout video, a bizarre instructional video from 1997 titled, “How to Have Cybersex on the Internet,” and many more.

Tickets to the Found Footage Festival are $11 at or at the door.