Open Projector Night Returns, Now at Wealthy Theatre!

posted by Chris Kotcher on 09/20/2022

Originally founded at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), Open Projector Night is a regular series that shines a light on Michigan-made short films. Since 2012, OPN has provided the accessible opportunity for local & regional filmmakers to share their work on the big screen and connect with others. Over the years, OPN grew to be a celebrated series among filmmakers & cinephiles alike.

In 2020, OPN had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, statewide shutdown, and UICA's move to the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building on the campus of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. Now, after 2 years away, OPN finally returns to the big screen, at its new home: Wealthy Theatre, part of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center.

“Supporting working artists is at the core of UICA,” said UICA Executive Director Miranda Krajniak. “We knew with the transition to WNF that we could no longer host our film programming on site, but we wanted to assure that OPN continued its good work within the community. Wealthy Theatre, under the steady care of Nick Hartman, is the perfect fit for this treasured program and we are so happy to see it continue.”

“I’m thrilled that Open Projector Night has finally returned," said Nick Hartman (OPN Co-Founder, Theater Operations & Film Coordinator for WT). "OPN not only showcases some of the best Michigan made short films, but more importantly it creates community; a home for filmmakers to gather and grow.”

The first screening for Open Projector Night at Wealthy Theatre will be Wednesday, November 9th, 2022. The block of programming will include films that were originally scheduled to screen in May of 2020. With a discussion/Q&A to follow. Tickets and info can be found on WT's website.

"We at GRCMC have been huge fans of Open Projector Night since its inception," said Ted Diedrich, Station Manager for GRTV (a sister program with WT, under GRCMC). "Pairing film projects like this with the access to production equipment and training that GRTV provides really reduces barriers for entry level and low budget filmmakers to make their mark."

After the November 9th screening (fall season), submissions will then open up for the next OPN screening (winter season). Filmmakers interested in submitting their work for future OPN's can visit the OPN Submission Page.

“Short films in particular don’t often get enough time on the big screen with a real audience. The design of OPN provides that opportunity for local filmmakers,” said Chris Kotcher (Wealthy Theatre Director). “And it’s a great connector. There are so many separate groups of filmmakers in this region doing such fantastic work, OPN was a rare thing that I saw bridge those gaps and bring the film community together. We’re excited to see it return.”

In addition to UICA’s support of the OPN relaunch, UICA graciously donated excess furniture, podiums, assistive-hearing devices, projectors, and venue supplies to Wealthy Theatre during the move to its new location. UICA will continue its support for OPN events as a media sponsor. 

Additional thanks to those who collaborated on this process of bringing Open Projector Night back to the community: Sarah Nawrocki, Linda Gellasch, Jackie L. McLane, Megan M. Bylsma, GRCMC, UICA, and the Open Projector Night Volunteer Panel (Jackson Ezinga, Dale Jackson, & Spencer Everhart).

For more information about Open Projector Night, visit:
Tickets for 11/9 OPN:


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