Film Society finds home at Wealthy

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Interior Wealthy Theatre during Open Projector Night. Photo courtesy of Community Media Center.

Wealthy Theatre invites film lovers and filmmakers alike to connect through cinema by joining the relaunch of the Grand Rapids Film Society.

The Grand Rapids Film Society was originally formed in 2014 as a way to connect with local film enthusiasts. In late 2019, the Film Society was acquired by Wealthy Theatre, but pandemic-related safety measures stalled its programming.

Now, the historic Wealthy Theatre is officially relaunching the Grand Rapids Film Society with a mission to foster connection in the local film community and create unique and accessible cinematic experiences.

Nick Hartman

“My vision for the Grand Rapids Film Society at Wealthy Theatre is to create an inclusive space to celebrate local films and the talent behind them, as well as curate unique cinematic events that bring film enthusiasts together,” said Operations and Film Coordinator Nick Hartman, who oversees the Film Society at Wealthy Theatre. “I believe filmmakers and film-lovers benefit when we lift each other up, recognize each other’s achievements, and create community through our shared love of cinema. Wealthy Theatre and our dedicated staff will provide the structure, space and resources to realize this vision.”

Some recent events the Film Society has helped organize include Twin Peaks Day, Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour and “It’s A Wonderful Life” on 16 mm film. The Film Society also recently partnered with the Chiaroscuro International Film Series for its relaunch in early 2023. Upcoming events include the Grand Rapids Film Society Roundtable April 7, Titanic: An Evening at Sea April 14 and Open Projector Night May 24.

Starla McDermott

“We welcome the Grand Rapids Film Society with open arms at its new home in Wealthy Theatre,” said Starla McDermott, executive director of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, which operates Wealthy Theatre. “The Film Society is yet another way in which the Community Media Center exemplifies its mission of building community through media. We are beyond excited for upcoming programming and events this group has in store.”

Built in 1911 as a vaudeville and live theatre, Wealthy Theatre has been a historic landmark, community treasure and pioneer of implementing technology into traditional theatre.

Acquired by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center in 2005, the theatre underwent several critical improvements, including a new concert sound system, electrical upgrades, a new projection screen, a grand curtain and a micro-cinema space.

The Community Media Center is located in the historic Wealthy Theatre

Today, Wealthy Theatre serves as a vanguard of community media through its programming, community engagement and dedication to the cinematic arts.

Anyone interested in learning more or getting involved with the Grand Rapids Film Society can visit GRfilm.org. There is no cost to join. To stay connected with upcoming events and happenings, visit the Film Society on Discord, subscribe to its newsletter, or follow on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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