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Hollywood director, former Ferris Student, James Gartner to speak at Ferris

BIG RAPIDS - The Television and Digital Media Production program at Ferris State University and the Ferris Media Communications Association are hosting the sixth annual Ferris Video Festival beginning at 10 a.m. March 31 in the Rankin Student Center, located on the university's Big Rapids campus.

This year's featured speaker is Director James Gartner, who will be speaking at 1 p.m. in Business 111. Video festival awards will precede Gartner's speech at noon in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room, with students participating in a panel discussion at 2 p.m. in the Instructional Resource Center television studio.

Gartner's most recent work is feature film "Glory Road." Made for Disney with Jerry Bruckheimer, "Glory Road" opened to positive reviews in February and topped the box office its opening weekend.

Gartner's work before that includes a number of commercial campaigns for such companies as Coke, Pepsi, American Express and Visa. His ties to Ferris began a little earlier. Gartner arrived on the Ferris campus in September 1968 and immediately began working at the campus radio station then known as WFRS.

From WFRS, Gartner went on to work at WBRN in Big Rapids, WLAV in Grand Rapids and WQXI in Atlanta. He then worked in Los Angeles before settling down in Salt Lake City for almost 15 years, where he worked at an advertising agency, before making his home in Traverse City where he lives today.

"We're thrilled to have Mr. Gartner as our guest speaker," said TDMP assistant professor and MCA advisor Connie Morcom. "The Ferris Video Festival was created by Fred Wyman as an outreach program for high school students to give them an opportunity to learn about careers in television and digital media production.

"I encourage anyone who may be interested in entertainment and careers in television and digital media to view the FVF entries, attend the special presentation and student panel," she added.