Grand Rapids Film Society launches with backing


Tamaryn Tobian. Courtesy Spectacle Creative Media

Get your popcorn ready.

The Grand Rapids Film Society, or GRFS, an organization dedicated to the appreciation and support of the region’s film culture, will launch this month during ArtPrize.

The organization will produce special screenings, signature events and promote the region’s cinematic storytellers.


The film society will be led by Spectacle Creative Media owner and independent film publicist Tamaryn Tobian, who said GRFS is modeled after established organizations like the Austin Film Society and Denver Film Society.

GRFS will develop and create events and collaborate with area movie theaters to promote and host film screenings and premieres, as well as create a platform for regional filmmakers and share film-related news.

The organization will also advocate for investments into resources that are necessary to foster growth of the region’s film culture.

“Through these efforts, we will cultivate a unified audience large enough to support a thriving, well-attended downtown regional film festival in the years to come,” Tobian said.


GRFS has partnered with Creative Many Michigan, a statewide economic development organization with a focus on the creative sector, to support the GRFS through its startup phase.

Through the partnership, Creative Many Michigan will act as fiscal sponsor for GRFS, providing administrative resources and legal services through the organization’s Lawyers for the Creative Economy program. GRFS also plans to raise additional funds through grants, sponsorships and an eventual membership fee.

Additionally, the partnership will allow GRFS to develop a board of directors, brand strategy, fundraising and revenue streams prior to GRFS establishing itself as a nonprofit.

Initial seed funding was provided by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation has also committed a second round of funding to match contributions made over the next year.


On Sept. 23, GRFS will host a reception at the ArtPrize HUB to celebrate the organization’s debut.

Volunteers will be on hand at ArtPrize On Screen film screenings to sign up those interested in GRFS membership.

Anyone who signs up for the GRFS Newsletter before Dec. 31 will receive free membership through Dec. 31, 2017.

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