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Grand Valley documentary garners international attention

Posted on June 04, 2010

A documentary film produced in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University is garnering coast-to-coast and international attention.

"Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream," won an award as a "Best Film/Video on Matters Relating to the Black Experience/Marginalized People," at the recent  XXV International Black Cinema in Berlin, Germany. The film will also premiere in Chicago on June 19 at the 8th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival. It was recently shown in San Francisco at the Museum of African Diaspora, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, in New York City.

The 56-minute film about the World War II-era migration of African Americans from the American South to Muskegon, is narrated by actress Cicely Tyson, with a soundtrack that includes music from Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Grand Valley students did background research and collected oral histories from more than 15 people, now in their 80s, who settled in the Bottoms.

Produced by adjunct professor Jim Schaub and his brother Rod, the documentary has been included in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The film is sponsored by Grand Valley State University, Michigan Humanities Council, Community Foundation for Muskegon and Alcoa Howmet.

For more information, including a trailer and a complete list of showings, visit

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