A movie production has begun filming a feature film in Grand Rapids this week, and they're looking for some local flavor.

You may have noticed some film crews around Martin Luther King Jr. Park this week. They are from Branch Out Productions, a Grand Rapids based, African-American and female owned company that has begun production on a movie to be shot here and in Detroit called 'Block Party'.

The plot of 'Block Party', according to the company's press release, follows the main character, Keke McQueen, as she prepares to move from Grand Rapids to Atlanta.

But when she discovers that her once sharp Grandma Janice (Margaret Avery) is showing early signs of dementia, Keke puts her career at stake to save her grandma's annual Juneteenth Block Party. During this time, in all the mayhem, Keke falls back in love with her hometown and its people.

Anoinette Robinson ('Dear White People') has been cast as Keke for the film, which will also star Margaret Avery as Grandma Janice.

"Our comedy, Block Party, is set in Michigan, so it is important to add in as much regional flavor as possible," said Lisa Mathis, president of Branch Out Productions. "We're making an extra effort to cast locally while bringing more jobs to Michigan to strengthen our hub for diverse actors, producers and filmmakers. We believe casting local actors is good for the economy and good for creativity."

“’Block Party’ is a heartfelt, socially relevant comedy in the vein of films like ‘Barbershop,’ ‘Best Man Christmas.’ and ‘Soul Food’ backed by an all-star cast and directing team."

Emmy-nominated John Amos, Luenell, and Charlyne Yi are also signed for roles in the film.

The film is looking for some extras and smaller roles for the film, and has begun that casting process. If you're interested, you can get more information here. 

I love that they are brutally honest about life as an extra, publishing this list of the pros and cons:

Pro: You get to hang out on a working film or television set.
​​Con: Extras are the lowest on the totem pole and are often treated like it.
Pro: You get to learn more about the industry you are passionate about.
​​Con: The hours are long.
​​​Pro: You get paid while having plenty of time to read, listen to music, and relax.

They also ask you to read this list of the Do's and Don't's of being a film extra.

Branch Out Productions recently produced the film 'Mighty Oak', which was streamed on the Hulu and Epix networks.

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