Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Look Who’s Talking — Amy Heckerling’s portfolio is beyond impressive. These are films that embedded themselves into American culture instantly, whose cult followings have only grown over the decades. And now their creator is coming to GR.
Heckerling is a bonafide veteran of the business. She studied film at New York University in the early- to mid-70s before moving to LA to attend the American Film Institute. Since then, she’s written, directed and produced a whole slew of feature films and TV shows. She says the idea to pursue a career in film was not a difficult one.
“I’ve always loved movies, since I can remember,” Heckerling said. “People used to put their children in playpens in front of televisions, and that was how you raised kids. I just became addicted to movies. That’s the way it’s been my whole life.”
This Friday and Saturday, Heckerling is bringing her love of movies to Celebration! Cinema North as a part of the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance’s Visiting Artists series.
Friday night’s festivities include a 7pm screening of Clueless, the hit 1995 comedy that was both written and directed by Heckerling — which, as it turns out, is just the way she likes it.
“There are a lot of people that love interpreting as an artform. I’ve done episodes of other people’s writing, and to me that’s more like a puzzle, trying to figure out how to get their thoughts across in a visual way,” Heckerling said. “But I’d rather write and create my own things than try to figure out a puzzle.”
Heckerling will be present for a Q&A after the screening, in which she invites audience members to ask questions about Clueless and her other films, her experience in the industry and, well, pretty much anything else you can think of. Except for her upcoming projects.
“I’m highly superstitious,” Heckerling said. “I mean, it seems like any time you talk about something, you jinx it. Whereas if you don’t say anything about it… you know, I never told people I was writing a film about babies, and then that was my most profitable film. So I feel like I should keep my mouth shut.”
On Saturday, Celebration! Cinema North will host a luncheon with the director in their Wave Room, followed by a workshop from 1-3 p.m. called “A Filmmaker’s Perspective: Battle Scars and Victory Laps.” During the workshop, Heckerling will draw from her own personal experience in the industry to hand-tailor a lesson focused on the audience’s interests.
“Really I just want to be able to to tell people what they’re curious about,” Heckerling said of the workshop. “Sometimes you’re talking to students and people who are hoping to get into an industry, and sometimes you’re talking to film buffs that want to know the ins and outs of particular movies. I have a feeling it’s going to be more of an audience that wants to know about breaking in. So I’ll feel it out, but that’s what I think it will be.”
Registration is required for both events, and can be done by visiting wmfva.org.
Clueless Screening, Followed by Q&A
Friday, Sept. 9, 7-10 p.m.
$10 WMFVA members, $15 non-members
Luncheon with Amy Heckerling, followed by seminar
Saturday, Sept. 10, 12-3 p.m. (check-in at 11:30 a.m.)
$75 WMFVA members, $85 non-members
Celebration! Cinema North
2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids