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Michigan-Made Film Opens in Grand Rapids

by Lisa Diggs

Tax incentives for filmmakers may be a shadow of their former selves in Michigan these days, but that doesn't mean movies aren't being made here anymore.

On a large scale, Oz the Great and Powerful, starring James Franco, filmed at Raleigh Michigan Studios in Pontiac, hits theaters March 8. 

On a smaller scale, but with deeper roots in Michigan, I Wish, an independent film shot entirely in West Michigan is embarking on a week-long run at Celebration Cinema in Grand Rapids.  The film will show three times daily at Celebration Woodland January 18 through January 24. Tickets are reportedly only $3.99.  

The Brandella Films production was written, directed and co-produced by filmmaker Jim Idema. It is a fantasy-drama that stars Spencer G. Tomlin as a man who learns he has the ability to make his wishes come true, and seeks help from his sister (Rebekah Fuller) and her husband (Benjamin Hanes) to make sense of it.

According to Idema, "I Wish is more than just a story about having one's wishes come true, it's also about doing the right thing, even if it's unclear what that right thing actually is.”

The movie, which also features a soundtrack with Michigan artists including HollowayDaddy'z Breakdown  and The Sanger Brothers Band, premiered to a sold-out Grand Rapids crowd on December 28, 2012, leading to the week-long run. 

The premiere festivities included a red carpet arrival of the cast, an exclusive showing of the film, and an after-party.  Guests got a taste of Hollywood-style glamour, enjoying cocktails and hors d'ouerves while mingling with the cast and crew.

As with many film projects, it’s been a long process from inception to silver screen.  According to Idema, he wrote the original version of the script back in 2006. It seems at last both he, and the character he created, will experience what it’s like to make their wishes come true.    


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