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Waterfront Film Festival plans June 22 grand opening screening for new year-round Holland facility

From left: Siblings Dana DePree Minter, Hopwood DePree, Kori Eldean Rentz and Dori DePree with longtime colleague and family friend, Kori.

Filmmaker Steve Mims holds a Q&A following the screening of his film Ario & Julie during the 2014 WFF in South Haven.

After spending much of the past year revamping the former auto-body shop on Columbia Avenue near downtown Holland, organizers of the Waterfront Film festival announced the opening of a new, permanent screening and event facility with a year-round indoor-outdoor screening space. 

“We've been looking at expanding to have a permanent year-round event space, so it’s something we’v been working on for a long, long time,” says Hopwood DePree, who co-founded the Waterfront Film festival alongside his sister, Dori DePree. 

With three big rolling garage auto-bays turned theater, the 200-seat venue will also serve as a workshop and education space in the off months, with phase I of the project nearly complete. Plans for phase II include an update to the building’s exterior, and additional landscaping for an outdoor reception area. 

“In the summer months, we’re really offering a unique indoor-outdoor gathering space, and then, when it’s time to play the show, we can shut the doors and put up the black-out curtains and go,” says DePree, adding that one of the big favorite moments Waterfront Film Fest goers talk about each year is the first outdoor screening, something the new space can afford them whether it’s rain or shine. 

“We, as the organizers and volunteers, are always worried about if it's going to rain,” says DePree. “This kind of solves that problem because it’s still an outdoor indoor space, but it’s completely weatherproof.” 

The Waterfront Film Festival has set the date for the grand opening screening at the new facility on June 22, and additional ticket information will be released in May. Until then, visit www.waterfrontfilm.org for more information. 

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Dianne Carrol Burdick
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