UCC church in Michigan opens its doors to local college’s communication school
Written by staff reports
August 24, 2010

Expanding its seven-year partnership with Grand Valley State University, St. John’s United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Mich., opened its doors this summer to the university's School of Communication.

Scenes for "Horizontal Accidents," the summer film project of the Allendale, Mich., school, were shot July 25 on location in St. John's church building. Extras included members of St. John's and Plymouth Congregational UCC in Grand Rapids.

Each summer, students in the GVSU Film and Video Production program work with a professional director and cameraman to complete an independent film. Tom Costillo's screenplay, selected from a community-wide competition, is an adaptation of a short story by GVSU student Michael Salisbury. Plymouth Congregational UCC member Kim Roberts, a professor at GVSU, is the film's producer. The director is Hollywood filmmaker Tom Seidman.

"Horizontal Accidents" captures a week in the life of the bargain-basement Adamac Funeral Home and the two modern-day grave robbers who work there: Boeve, the shady, charismatic assistant manager who talks the bereaved into burying their loved ones with precious (and pawnable) mementos; and Brandon, whose aimless life is shaken when a suicide jumper drops square onto his car.

The dark, humorous tale of robbing the dead – and rejoining the living – will be entered in several national and international film festivals. It is expected to premier in Grand Rapids next spring.

"We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the college experience of these young men and women," says St. John's pastor Bill Lyons. Each month St. John's purchases and distributes 5,000 pounds of food free to Grand Rapids residents in need.  The students unload the truck, assist mobility challenged clients, help elderly residents return to their apartments, repackage bulk items and monitor the distribution line. 

For additional information see: www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=151219&id=133717866664604#!/pages/Horizontal-Accidents/133717866664604?v=wall  or  www.stjohnsuccgr.org/ReachingOut/tabid/43822/Default.aspx

Photos of the film project and the mobile food pantry are available on request.

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