Michigan Native Returns for Film Premiere

"First Reformed" with Ethan Hawke & Amanda Seyfried

Former Grand Rapids resident and Calvin College graduate Paul Schrader returns to Grand Rapids next week to premiere his most recent film, “First Reformed.”

In “First Reformed,” the pastor of a small New England church (Ethan Hawke) spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife (Amanda Seyfried) in this taut, chilling thriller.

The Loeks Visiting Film Artist Series will host a two-day event featuring Schrader on Feb. 19 and 20. The first night will include the Michigan premiere of “First Reformed,” followed by a Q&A with the director. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September and went on to play at the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals. “First Reformed” has been widely acclaimed by critics and will be released to the general public later this spring.

The following evening, Feb. 20, Schrader will give a lecture and panel discussion on “Religious Film and the Transcendental Style” at Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall. He will be joined on the panel by Roy Anker, professor of English, emeritus, at Calvin College, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter professor of philosophical theology, emeritus, at Yale University, and Garrett Strpko, a sophomore at Calvin College.

Both events are free to the public, but an online RSVP ticket is required. Tickets can be reserved online.

Schrader is a celebrated filmmaker, screenwriter, and film critic. Among his writing credits are “Taxi Driver,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” and “Raging Bull,” all directed by Martin Scorsese. Schrader has directed more than twenty films, including “Light Sleeper,” “Affliction,” and “Hardcore,” which was filmed in Grand Rapids. Schrader is also the author of a widely-anthologized article on film noir, and the book “Transcendental Style in Film,” soon to be published in a revised edition.

The Loeks Visiting Film Artist Series is sponsored by Celebration! Cinema and Calvin College, with further support from the Grand Rapids Film Society, the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance, and the Grand Rapids Film Festival.

The Feb. 19 event runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Celebration Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Dr. NE. The Feb. 20 event runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Calvin College, 3201 Burton St SE.

*Photo courtesy of “First Reformed”

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