Amy Heckerling, award-winning writer and director, to present at WMFVA’s 2016 Visiting Film Artist Series

amyheckerlingBy Victoria Mullen



The West Michigan Film Video Alliance (WMFVA) is bringing award-winning writer and director Amy Heckerling (Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Johnny Dangerously and Look Who’s Talking) to Grand Rapids for WMFVA’s 2016 Visiting Film Artist Series (VFAS).


Heckerling will lead the two-day event with a film screening, Q&A and reception 7-10 pm, September 9 and workshop/lunch 11:30 am-3:30 pm, September 10.


“We are thrilled to welcome such an accomplished artist to West Michigan and introduce her to the thriving film and digital media community here,” said WMFVA Chair Deb Havens.


“We think she’ll be impressed with the talent and tenacity of our creative community and we are excited to make the connection.”


Heckerling has been recognized for her talent and contribution to the industry with several awards: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay; Writer’s Guild of America Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen; Women in Film Crystal Awards; and the American Film Institute Franklin J. Schaffner Award.


“Amy Heckerling has made a significant mark in the film industry, creating films with humor and heart that stand the test of time,” said Havens. “She has successfully navigated a notoriously difficult industry and the knowledge and experience she can share with the WMFVA members and others in our community is extremely relevant to today’s challenges.”


Celebration! Cinema North at 2121 Celebration Drive NE, Grand Rapids, is the VFAS venue partner for the event, and viewers may expect a state-of-the-art film viewing experience for the Friday evening screening. Saturday’s workshop and luncheon will be held in the venue’s versatile and spacious Wave Room.


“We’ve been presenting movies for more than 70 years in West Michigan,” said Emily Loeks, Director of Community Affairs for Celebration! Cinema. “We get to be part of the magic that happens when people laugh and cry and connect with each other through the viewing of a movie.  We love to take opportunities to encourage local filmmakers and are glad to support the WMFVA’s efforts to bring inspiration and resources to students.”

“Her films … are uncommonly intelligent mainstream comedies that are endlessly rewatchable.”
~Metrograph, New York City

The Visiting Film Artist Series debuted in 2015 with accomplished screenwriter Paul Schrader (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) to a sold-out audience. The event is dedicated to exploring the unique perspectives, experiences and knowledge of professionals who have made a significant contribution to the art and craft of film.


WMFVA developed the VFAS as an integral part of professional development opportunities for its members and others who live and work in West Michigan and contribute to its thriving film and digital media community and culture. The series is open to the public; WMFVA members receive a discount and early registration privileges. New members are eligible for the benefits immediately upon joining.


The VFAS appeals to the many area universities that offer distinguished film-related programs and provides an important opportunity for aspiring filmmakers and content creators to connect directly with industry veterans.


Also instrumental in supporting the WMFVA Visiting Film Artist Series are community partners Meijer, Inc., Grand Valley State University, West Michigan Film Office and Michigan Film Digital Media Office. University partners include Grand Valley State University Film and Video Program in the School of Communications.


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Cost for the film screening, Q&A and reception on Friday evening is $10 for WMFVA members and $15 for non-members. The Saturday afternoon seminar/workshop and luncheon is $75 for members, and $85 for non-members. Space is limited. Free parking is available at the venue location.