Monday, 28 July 2014 11:08

August Indie Film: Wealthy Theatre's Filmmaking Day Camp

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Ashes of Eden Ashes of Eden COURTESY PHOTO

If you're a kid film aficionado and interested in taking a stab at summer camp before the school year begins, look no further than Wealthy Theatre's filmmaking day camp. The camp is a yearly project run by Wealthy Theatre Education Director Gretchen Vinnedge, with help from Education Project Manager Lynn Mckeown. This year's iterations include a video production camp from Aug. 4-8 and an animation camp from Aug. 11-15.


In past years, the camp explored femininity as portrayed in the media. There will be a bit of a switch-up this year by focusing on masculinity in media.


Both need to be looked at.” Vinnedge said.


Along with technical training and film production education, both of the sessions will feature lessons centered around the documentary, Tough Guise II, a film that explores how mainstream media and societal pressures links a culture of violence to the idea of masculinity.


We had seen Tough Guise I and thought it had a really good message,” Vinnedge said. “And Tough Guise II was just being released, so we knew the timing was good to just go ahead and use that.”


The video production portion of the class will revolve around a project to create a documentary about a powerful male role model and the animation class will create a superhero based on positive masculine traits.


It doesn't have to be the strength of a guy,” Vinnedge said. “It could be their brain, or it could be the fact that they are helpful to other people because they're a little stronger or something, rather than brute force.”


The resulting projects will be included in a special screening at the Mosaic Film Experience at Wealthy Theatre Nov. 7-8.


Paid In Full filming this month in Michigan

There has been a lot of news lately about the Michigan film incentive bringing a lot of big-budget projects in from out of state. It's also refreshing to hear local independent projects are getting a chunk of the change too, as is the case for the Michigan-based project Paid In Full.


Paid in Full follows the older sister of a sex trafficking victim as she works with a struggling cop to bring justice to those who abducted her sister. Nipa Shah, producer of the film, hopes she can raise awareness of sex trafficking within America through the project.


Normally when people think of sex trafficking people think of third-world countries or Eastern Europe or drug addicts,” Shah said. “I'm trying to raise awareness about sex trafficking that happens right here in the United States during the Super Bowl.”


The movie is set to begin filming this month in Novi.


Shah has always viewed the movie as a local project and cites the financial help of the tax incentive as a major driving force for getting the movie made.


If I hadn't received the incentive, I may have considered pushing the project to next year and reapplying rather than taking it out of state because I'm all about controlling variables,” Shah said. “I cannot figure out things as well in another city as well as I can do it here.”


Shah has lived in Michigan for 29 years and her love for the state has Paid in Full employing a full cast and crew in Michigan, including Detroit native Lance Kawas as director. The film could set a precedent for other film incentive funded local projects.


Michigan-based film Ashes of Eden has strong run at Celebration! Cinema

Celebration! Cinema has always had a penchant for including indie films in its movie rotation, and Celebration! certainly has a soft spot for local film. Case in point: Ashes of Eden, which was filmed on location in Lansing and and various West Michigan locations, was put on Celebration!'s roster in July and is continuing into August.


The film, which was produced by the Michigan-based production company New House Entertainment, follows the story of Red (played by Michigan native Steven Sutherland), as he finds himself in trouble with a ruthless drug dealer, his family and his police officer father.


The sold-out premiere in April ended in a standing ovation and filmmaker Shane Hagedorn and crew find further success through more screenings throughout Michigan and beyond.

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