Friday, 26 July 2013 12:07

August Film: A Band Called Death, Heroic Images

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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With the ominous autumn clouds looming in the not-too-distant future, it's imperative to pack the highest quantity of last-minute sun-drenched summer shenanigans as possible into August's 31 days. In order to help you narrow down your options, here are some especially crisp events for film lovers.

UICA to Screen Acclaimed Documentary A Band Called Death

Every musician can recall memories of the first band they performed with, which oftentimes consisted of a raucous group of kids annoying neighbors by playing loud music in their parents' garage. Most of these bands ended up sounding pretty awful, but every once in a while truly visionary sound came out of the garage. That is just the subject of the new documentary, A Band Called Death.

The film follows three brothers from Detroit who set out in the early '70s to play a raw, stripped-down form of rock that is a precursor to the punk movement of the late '70s. They disbanded after a few years, and for decades their recorded material remained largely ignored and unknown, until a demo tape of theirs made its rounds on the Internet and afforded them instant cult status.

Not only will the film be playing at the UICA Aug. 2-8, but Death will be appearing in flesh and blood at the Pyramid Scheme on Aug. 6 to perform a live set of the same visionary music the film showcases. And to sweeten the deal, if you buy advanced tickets to the concert you automatically get a free pass to the UICA's Aug. 5 showing of the documentary. That's a whole lotta Death, people.

The West Michigan Film and Video Alliance Cooks Up Some Fun

The West Michigan Film and Video Alliance (WMFVA) knows that the way to many a film-lovers heart is through their stomach, and they're employing especially tasty tactics for the annual membership picnic.

The picnic takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 8 from 6-9 p.m. at Millenium Park in Grand Rapids, and WMFVA marketing committee member Pamela Patton encourages anyone with a love for film to come out. Whether you're working on a project, going to film school or just have a general interest in film, there's something here for you.

“It's a great way to learn a little bit more about the organization, see what we're all about, and to chat with members,” Patton said.

She describes the event as a casual introduction to the organization, and the WMFVA hopes it will ultimately lead to new members.

“Mostly when you join, you're a part of a community,” Patton said. “The Film and Video Alliance is a way for us to network with our own, see what other people are up to, share jobs, share equipment and just to really build a community and keep in touch with each other.”

She also goes on to explain that they're open to accepting all kinds of members.

“There are people who are really active in the community, and there are people who join just for the sake of supporting the industry.”

And now for the big question: what will be on the menu? According to the event page, it's BYOB and attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to pass.

“We provide the hamburgers, and it's a big old potluck,” Patton said. “So we never know what's going to be served.”

For more information on the picnic, or the WMFVA in general, visit

New Heroes in Town

Heroic Images, a local independent film studio, is currently working on bringing its first feature-length film, Red Gorilla, to fruition this fall. The film follows a man returning home from Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and focuses on the effects it has on him and his family.

Rob De Ville, founder of Heroic Images, makes it clear that they want to focus on full-length features.

"We started our journey in September 2012, figuring out the formula for successful films on limited budgets, and knowing that if we produced short films or commercials we would never make it feature length films,” De Ville said.

In order to reach this goal, they focused on marketing and distribution prior to development.

“We knew that to remain sustainable we had to develop some sort of keen marketing sense on what would give us our largest return on investment,” De Ville said.

Heroic Images hopes to complete the funding for the film by Aug. 11 via its project campaign page on Indiegogo. To learn more about Red Gorilla and other related projects, visit the official website at

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