Thursday, 08 September 2016 14:26

Indie film events, screenings and festivals in September

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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'Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words' to screen at UICA 'Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words' to screen at UICA


The UICA Lets Its Far-Out Flag Fly with Frank Zappa Documentary

From Sept. 9–20, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) is celebrating the king of weirdness with the new documentary Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words. 

Vastly underrepresented as a small footnote in rock ‘n’ roll history, Zappa was truly one of a kind. A self-taught musician and satirist, he would write intricate compositions, then give them titles like “America Drinks and Goes Home” and “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” He was an avid supporter of free speech, and (contrary to public perception) very rarely used drugs. But above all, he was a modern mad genius. 

Composed entirely of archival footage, Eat That Question follows this prolific musician and satirist as he explains his philosophy on music, religion, politics and life itself. The documentary swings between interviews with Zappa and live performances, both solo and with the Mothers of Invention. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Zappa’s music or just curious about this enigmatic character, Eat That Question is sure to please the wild-eyed rebel in all of us. 


Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (Rated R)

UICA, 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

Sept. 9-20, times vary, $4 for Members, $8 Non-members, (616) 454-7000


Saugatuck Short Film Competition Accepting Entries

If you’re from Michigan, it’s hard to not have an overwhelming sense of state pride. Just count the number of mitten bumper stickers and T-shirts you see in one day. But what better way to show that love than a short film?

Now through Oct. 14, the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) is accepting submissions for the fourth annual Saugatuck Shorts Film Competition. The theme for the competition is “Pure Michigan,” meaning the short must be shot in the state or center around themes and subject matter unique to the state. 

If you’re able to put something together that’s five minutes or shorter, SCA encourages you to submit your film. Students 18 and under can submit for free, while applicants 19 and older pay a meager $20 submission fee. 

 Whether you’re a professional in the industry or an amateur filmmaker with a love for all things Michigan, the folks at SCA will gladly review your submission. They are then choosing the 10 best films to screen, which takes place Nov. 5. Filmmakers will be given a chance to introduce their films, and prizes will be given to the best films in 3 different categories: the Student Category ($500 prize), the Adult Category ($1,000 prize), and of course the Audience Favorite ($1,000 prize). In addition, each of the 10 films chosen will air on local station WKTV. 

For more information and submission guidelines visit


Overcomer Film Series Celebrates Beating the Odds

When it comes to film characters, you’d be hard-pressed to find a main character more likeable than the underdog. It’s impossible not to root for the little guy, fighting against all odds to overcome adversity and rise victorious. 

When Meg Derrer, executive director of Hope Network, was working with her team to create a film event, they wanted it to coincide with Hope’s mission. It only made sense to make underdogs the focal point of the series.

“We have people who overcome mental, social or physical barriers, so we thought it would be cool to have an Overcomer film series where we secured a few of these movies that have ‘overcomer’ as a theme,” Derrer said. “The main character, or somebody in the movie, would overcome great odds in order to accomplish something, much like the people we serve at Hope Network.”

Thus began the Overcomer Film Series at Wealthy Theatre. In July, the Grand Rapids theatre screened the first movie, Toy Story, to a crowd of about 150 people. The Sandlot became the choice for August, and Derrer plans to close out the series with The Karate Kid on Sept. 28. The movies were chosen by staff at Hope Network with the intent of making the series fun for all ages. 

“We also saw this series as an opportunity to say thank you to all the people who support Hope Network: The donors, the families of the people we serve, and the community,” Derrer said. “So we wanted this to be for the whole family.”

For each film in the series, the Wealthy Theatre opens its doors 45 minutes early, giving families plenty of time to socialize, purchase concessions and partake in various activities. The lobby is also decked out with themed decorations to set the mood.

“For each of the movies, we’re doing a selfie booth with props that will be reflective of the movie,” Derrer said. “Then people can post pictures of themselves on social media with the particular hashtag that goes with the series.”

The Overcomer Film series is a free event, but Derrer encourages those interested to reserve a seat online in advance at


The Karate Kid, showing at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.,, (616) 459-4788

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