In July, the popular summer Independent Film Series, celebrating its fifth year, will once again attract audiences to the Reif Center in Grand Rapids.

“We are excited to offer this film series to the Grand Rapids community in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Library,” said Paul M. Gregersen, Marketing Director with the Reif Center. “The goal of these evenings is to provide an opportunity for folks in the area to experience cultural film at no cost. When we think of summer movies, blockbuster comes to mind, but there is such a wide array of diverse films out there that are more than just special effects and limited storylines. These works of art dig a little deeper.”

The popular series will open this year with “La Montaña” on Tuesday, July 9 at 7 p.m. “La Montaña” is the fascinating true story of how the most unlikely confusion lead to lasting peace between sworn enemies in one of Colombia’s most hostile, war-stricken areas. 

On Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m., the series will host “The Third Murder.” Tomoaki Shigemori is a lawyer tasked with defending a client (Misumi), who faces the death penalty if found guilty, in a murder trial. Misumi has previous convictions for murder and has confessed to the crime, but evidence in the case leads to Shigemori having doubts about what really happened.

Continuing the series, on Tuesday, July 23 at 7 p.m., is “I Am Not A Witch.” Following a banal incident in her local village, eight-year-old girl Shula is accused of witchcraft. After a short trial, she is found guilty, taken into state custody and exiled to a witch camp. At the camp, she takes part in an initiation ceremony where she is shown the rules surrounding her new life as a witch. Like the other residents, Shula is tied to a ribbon which is attached to a coil that perches on a large truck. She is told that, should she ever cut the ribbon, she’ll be cursed and transformed into a goat.

Concluding the series this year is “Jasper Jones,” showing on Tuesday, July 30 at 7 p.m. “Jasper Jones” is a coming of age story about Charlie Bucktin, a bookish boy of 14. On the night that Jasper Jones, the town’s mixed race outcast shows him the dead body of young Laura Wishart, Charlie’s life is changed forever. Entrusted with this secret and believing Jasper to be innocent, Charlie embarks on a dangerous journey to find the true killer. Set over the scorching summer holidays of 1969, Charlie defeats the local racists, faces the breakup of his parents and falls head over heels in love as he discovers what it means to be truly courageous.

All series showings take place in the Ives Studio Theater and are free and open to the public. Admission is free and no tickets are required, although free-will donations are accepted to help defray the costs of screening and publicity. To learn more, visit the Reif Center’s website at www.reifcenter.org.

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