21st annual Summer Film Project wraps production

"The Lens" filming in Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids. Photo by Jess Weal.
"The Lens" filming in Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids. Photo by Jess Weal.

The 21st annual Grand Valley Summer Film Project, "The Lens," wrapped production July 27 after six consecutive days of filming.

The 20-member crew, consisting of all Grand Valley students, filmed in various West Michigan locations, including Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), Marks Photo and Video, and a house in Jenison. 

Joseph McCargar, affiliate professor of broadcasting, and Brian Gotberg, ’14 and ’15, are co-producing “The Lens.” Richard Brauer, president of Brauer Productions Inc., based in Traverse City, wrote the script and functions as director. 

Brauer said the story revolves around a woman named Isabelle who buys an antique camera lens at a garage sale and discovers it has mystical powers of healing.

“Anything or anyone she photographs gets better. When she realizes that, it’s quite startling, but then almost immediately she also realizes that every time that phenomenon happens it pulls a piece out of her soul. So she’s faced with this moral dilemma of continuing her passion for healing knowing full well that it’s hurting her,” Brauer said.

Lewis Stone, senior film and video major and the film’s first assistant director, said among the many benefits of working alongside industry professionals on the Summer Film Project, there’s one in particular that helps prepare students for future careers in film and video production.

“The No. 1 thing this project gives to students is confidence and seeing how our skills and abilities can grow,” Stone said. “As first assistant director, I have to facilitate all departments and make sure everyone is working together and on time. Through that I know that after this project I can move on to more professional sets and do a really good job as first assistant director or in other roles in other departments especially as a director or screen writer, which is what I want to do in the future.”

Student production crewmembers for “The Lens” included:

  • Lewis Stone – first assistant director
  • James Stephens – second assistant director
  • Zach Salamon – first assistant camera
  • Zach Speckin – second assistant camera
  • Caleb Dawdy – camera operator
  • Chelsea Sokolowski – art director
  • Jenna Tucker – art department
  • Leah Mazzara – art department
  • Andrew Bedard – key grip
  • Ryan Rosenau – grip
  • Joshua Rose – grip
  • Josh Brack – gaffer
  • Kristian Bringedahl – sound mixer
  • Brandon Thrall – boom microphone operator
  • Holly Crevier – sound assistant
  • Ryan Winkler – digital imaging technician
  • Shane McSauby – script supervisor
  • Denali Shaw – best boy
  • Erika Collin – production assistant

Lead actors in “The Lens” include Emily Smith, from Dearborn; Spencer King, from Grand Rapids; Sade Sellers, from Okemos; Sharon Sigler, from Imlay City; Emily Wayman, from Morrow, Ohio; Jennifer Jelsema, from Holland; and Ray Cox, from Grand Rapids.

The Summer Film Project was established in 1995 to offer junior and senior students and opportunity to work side-by-side with film industry professionals to produce a short film during a six-week practicum course during the summer semester. Post-production is completed during a 15-week fall course, with a premiere screening each spring.

For more information about “The Lens,” contact Brian Gotberg at (248) 767-5591 or [email protected]