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15th Summer Film to premiere

Posted on March 17, 2010

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Now celebrating 15 years - and 15 films - the Grand Valley State University Summer Film Program will premiere the locally produced short film "The Darkroom."

Thanks to the generosity of Loeks Theatres, the film will be screened on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m., at Celebration Cinemas North, located at Knapp St. and East Beltline, in Grand Rapids. The public is welcome with a suggested $5 donation for admission to the film and reception to follow.

The film, about an aging photographer fighting for his craft and his livelihood, was produced through a unique program in Grand Valley's School of Communications. The Summer Film Project provides film and video production students the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals on every aspect of a short film, from start to finish. More than 25 students have actively worked on the production of this film. It was written and directed by Z. Eric Yang, a narrative filmmaker who teaches 16mm film production and scriptwriting at Grand Valley.

The plot focuses on the character John, a divorced, old-school photographer, who has spent his life dedicated to the discipline of his darkroom and the art of photography. He suddenly finds himself fighting for his craft, and ultimately his livelihood, when his young manager gives him an ultimatum. He is faced with a decision that will define him not only as an artist, but also as a father.

More than 100 still photos and slides were needed in the film as props used by the actors in many scenes. All of them were shot and hand-printed by Grand Valley photography students Amy Stubblefield and Mark Andrus.

"We needed to create both film-based and digital photographs for scenes where the actors compared their quality," said Stubblefield. "Another scene required photographic slides being projected by the main character."

Stubblefield also created photographs used throughout the main character's home, and Andrus helped create the darkroom used on the film set and made sure all the equipment positions were accurate.

"While I've done work as a wedding photographer, working on this project opened the door to new possibilities for me," said Stubblefield. "My career path includes working in the film industry and the current boom of it in Michigan."

For more information about "The Darkroom," contact Z. Eric Yang at (616) 331-8169, and watch For more details about Grand Valley's Film and Video Production program, contact coordinator Kim Roberts, or visit


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