A perfect weekend at CCFF

Captial City Film Festival logo

Last weekend the two of us (Khalid and Shannon) jam packed our schedules with Capital City Film Fest fun, and for anyone who says there is nothing to do in Lansing, well, I call your bluff! We took advantage of the $50 festival pass deal and were able to come in and out of various films, parties, and shows for the festival’s four day entirety. There was so much to do this year that we had to carve out unique paths through the weekend festivities to make the most of all CCFF.

I went to see a bunch of the films and as you may have read in my previous post, I was especially anticipating the series of films directed by women. – Shannon

For me, the film festival was more of a music festival. I came out of the CCFF weekend with wonderful concert memories and new musical crushes.  – Khalid


This is how we spent our weekend….


Red Carpet group shot, courtesy of Ariniko Artistry.

I kicked things off with the CCFF Opening Night Red Carpet Party, which I prepped for by getting all dolled up with some girlfriends over white wine sangrias at our friend’s baller apartment just a few blocks down from the big party spot- Troppo in downtown Lansing. We all walked over together, met the fellas, and posed for some stunna pics! I then enjoyed one of the drinks on special, a beautiful troppotini…or two… a few appetizers and lots of socializing with the absolutely at capacity party. From there I walked down to the Lansing Center to catch the opening night Film “Elderly Instruments: All Things Strings”, which was playing to a full house. I felt enlightened from watching this well done documentary, for as a resident of Lansing for the past few years now, I had absolutely no idea that such a world reknown and gem of a business was located right in old town! I then ended the night by walking across the street to The Loft, where I caught the Greensky Bluegrass show, amongst the hundreds of others packing the venue. – Shannon

The opening night was a perfect kickoff for CCFF; there was a red carpet to welcome all the guests, omnipresent camera flashes, and opportunities to meet some of the directors. A few of the TEDx presenters were also at the red carpet event and I got previews of their talks for TEDx. This opening event had a big turnout yet it felt intimate enough for people to get to know each other. Anticipation was in the air on Thursday evening.- Khalid


The stage set up for TEDx lansing. – Photo from the TEDx Lansing facebook page.

I took the day off of work to participate in my first ever TEDx Lansing experience. I say experience, because this event was just that. Among the wonderful line up of speakers, all sharing approximately 15 minutes of inspiring stories, big ideas, and their passion for positive change in the region, there was a fantastic performance by the spoken word and poetry duo, Kinetic Effect, a collection of original music performed by the ecclectic The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, and a choice of local food prepared by two famous Lansing foodtrucks, The Purple Carrot and King of the Grill: Smoked Barbeque. My day did not end here, however! After a quick break and change of wardrobe, I came back to the Lansing Public Media Center that evening to watch the unbelievably moving short documentary “Little Mom”, the feature documentary “Man on a Mission”, and listen to the talk back by “Man on a Mission” composer Brian Satterwhite . I spent the evening crying over the day to day struggles of young girls tasked with the adult responsibilities of being primary caretakers for their older sibling living with a disability, laughing over the antics of Richard Garriot while he was documented on his journey of becoming the first son of an astronaut to go to space, privately, and then being moved by the passion and insight into the making of the film given by Brian at day’s end. I was so exhausted from my evening, that I just grabbed a late dinner and called it a night in anticipation of my full day on Saturday! – Shannon

Jeana-Dee Allen Rogers – Increasing Engagement through Creativity and Technology

Amongst all the things that were happening this past weekend, I was most excited about TEDx. I felt so fortunate to be around passionate people who are making this world a better place. I especially connected with Tashmica Torok’s presentation about the Nayak AIDS Orphans project. Often organizations are too narrow minded about their approach for charitable causes but Teshmica’s work deals with the burden of poverty in a cohesive and holistic manner. The children at their schools, not only get an education but also food and clothing. These little things add up to a much better quality of life and a better education.  Her devotion to the project, her pictures, and her story had the audience captivated.

Jeana Dee Rogers was another speaker at TEDx and as she was invited to the stage, I was giddy with excitement to hear about her work. I am good friends with Jeana Dee but she is often too modest to talk about the wonderful things she does around this city. I always use Jeana Dee as an example of a great innovator who does everything from behind the scenes and she is a champion at  shrouding people from the effort she puts into her work. Jeana Dee talked about her work at the REACH studio art center. She showed us how she uses art to engage and connect with her students. Jeana Dee hoola-hooped as she presented. Was that a “first ever” for TEDx?

Friday evening was jam packed with a slew of bands that rocked my world. The Fencemen, Flatfoot, and Bars of Gold, opened for Murder by Death. The Fencemen started off the night with lots of energy and the rest of the bands kept matching the bar the Fencemen set for this show. I had never seen Bars of Gold live and I was intrigued to see their version of rocking out to a banjo, guitars, drums and intense lead vocals. Check out, their songs  The Hustle and Doctor and Lawyers to get a sense of the diversity in their sound.

Murder by Death was one of the most anticipated bands for this year’s CCFF. The cello is one of my favorite instruments and Adam Turla, the lead singer has a hauntingly deep voice. The cellist and the lead singer were a perfect combination. If you haven’t heard Murder by Death, I highly recommend that you check out their next show. – Khalid



A screening of one of the CCFF films at the Temple Club, courtesy of Ariniko Artistry.

I took the opportunity to sleep in a bit on my weekend, arriving to my first event of the day at 2:30 p.m., being held at the nostalgic Temple Club in Old Town. While the screening of “Fake it so Real”, a documentary shedding light on the struggles, hopes, and ambitions of a group of young men who formed a pro wrestling group in Linconton, North Carolina, was not well attended, I certainly enjoyed myself as I learned a bit about just how much can go into a match, and how passionately these man feel about the sport. This feature film was paired with a short entitled “Street Pillow or The Sidewalk Sleep”, which I will admit I was not the biggest fan of. While I may not have loved this short, those in the audience seemed to as I am sure many people could relate to the quirky, yet shy, bike messenger who attempts to win over a beautiful woman with a daily, romantic gesture. Next, I viewed the entire block of Professional Shorts which included: “Clouds”, “Air Balloon”, “The Dance”, “The Extraordinary Life of Rocky”, “Other”, and “Bipolar: A Narration of Manic Depression”. This was one of my favorite portions of the weekend by far, for I was moved by so many of these short films. I was amazed at the character development and emotions evoked within the short amount of time that each film played for. While I wanted very badly to stay and view “Detachment”, I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed from the “Bipolar” screening, and felt it was a good time to grab some fresh air and dinner, then return to watch some of the Wes Anderson double feature. – Shannon

I was starting to feel bad about not going to any of the film screenings but until late afternoon, I was recovering from a late night of music at the Loft… am I getting that old? To start off my day, I had a relaxed morning with Murder by Death’s latest CD. As a contrasting juxtaposition to the shows from Friday night, Saturday’s line up was a lot more chill. CCFF organizers had transformed the Loft into a more relaxed candle lit hall. There were more chairs and tables for people to sit down and the music couldn’t have been more appropriate for the ambiance.

William Elliott Whitmore – Photo by Eat Pomegranate Photography

American Opera, Those Willows, and Nathan Alan opened up for William Elliott Whitmore. I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of any of these bands; not ashamed because I feel like I should know every good band but ashamed because I had been missing out on such incredible music. William Elliott Whitmore invited the audience to sit on the stage with him and rocked my world with a kickdrum and a banjo. His music has been on daily rotation at my apartment. Check him out. – Khalid


I arrived at the AFI DWW Showcase around 4:30 p.m., after having the amazing opportunity to lunch with a director of  the DWW short film, “Neighbors”, Rachel

Rachel Goldberg participating in the DWW Showcase talk back with CCFF Program Director, Dan Hartle, courtesy of Ariniko Artistry.

Goldberg. Her film was one of my favorites of the bunch and to have the chance to chat with her about her role as a female filmmaker and her experience creating the short, among other things, was a privelage I am honored to have had. She was hilarious, friendly and so intelligent. I am a very lucky lady! But, back to the movie screenings. This was my second time screening the DWW block, as I got a sneak peak which I wrote about here, but I will admit that I was moved even more the second time around. This block of films  tugged on my heartstrings as the plots  centered around concepts of loss and self acceptance. Following the screening, Rachel Goldberg held a talk back where she answered some very thought provoking questions from the audience. Hands down, this portion of the film fest was my favorite. I had to then jet to The Loft to catch the closing night performance by Lights. This was an all ages show and the venue was at capacity. While I did not enjoy the tween crowd, I had easy access to the bar, and was able to dance the night away with many friends. – Shannon

LIGHTS – Photo by Eat Pomegranate Photography

I was in awe as I biked up to the Loft on Sunday because the line was wrapped around the block. I heard that fans had been waiting in line since 10am to see Lights perform that night. I was  fortunate to have staff credentials for being a CCFF photographer, otherwise I would have been at the end of that line for a couple of hours. Rival Summers opened up for Lights and set the stage for a high energy conclusion to another awesome weekend in Lansing. – Khalid

All in all, we had an absolutely amazing weekend participating in some of what the Capital City Film Fest had to offer, and we can only hope to squeeze in even more fun the next time around! – Shannon and Khalid