Aug. 27 2014 12:00 AM


Michigan seems to have a cultural climate conducive to producing eccentric, ambitious film directors. Michael Moore is probably the most high profile, the poster child for idiosyncratic documentary moviemakers. Moore’s fellow Flint native Kerry Conran is another piece of work; he toiled for years on what became the 2004 genre mash-up “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” a throwback sci-fi action film that married 21st century technology with tropes from old serials. And now there’s Thomas Reilly-King, a Michigan State University graduate and aspiring filmmaker who, much like Conran, has blended disparate styles into a feature-length film, “Enduring Destiny.” And those styles are about as unalike as Alfred Hitchcock and “National Lampoon.” Seriously.

“(It’s) like ‘Animal House’ meets ‘Rear Window,’” said King, the film’s writer, director and star. “But ultimately, it’s a coming-of-age tale.”

On Monday, “Enduring Destiny” will play at Studio C! in Okemos. Reilly has pulled out all the stops for his debut, offering free admission and free food from Oscar’s Bistro, the theater’s in-house restaurant, for all who attend. There will also be live music and a documentary filmmaker on hand filming a behind-the-scenes of the event.

“Enduring Desiny” was filmed almost entirely in East Lansing. King plays Max, a cocky aspiring CIA agent who is left wheelchair-bound after an accident. But don’t break out your tissues — King says it’s a comedy.

“I set out to make a suspense thriller,” King said. “The comedy in all my work comes as sort of an accident. I’m a quirky guy.”

King said the film, which has a run time of 1 hour 15 minutes, was a “laborious undertaking.” He said it took five years to get the story from his brain onto the silver screen. Additionally, the movie was completely self-funded.

“I’ve raised funds and (maxed out) credit cards,” King said. “I also worked four jobs.”

Following the film will be guest speakers and a Q&A with some of the cast and crew. There will also be a merch table replete with “Enduring Destiny” T-shirts that tout “I Endured the Movie” on the back. There will also be Blu-ray copies of the film, and — potentially a first for a local filmmaker — talking action figures modeled after King’s character from the film.

“The action figures (are) a gimmick,” King said. “There are only so many things you can do to stand out as a filmmaker.”

King has plans to shop the film around the festival circuit after the premiere, but is already hard at work on his next project: A graphic novel based on a script he wrote for a monster movie. It’s easy to assume that someone might grow a deep attachment for something after having worked on it for so long, but it is the life after the labor that King looks most forward to.

“I’m really excited to get this out — I’m a little sick of it,” he confessed. “I want it be in the public’s hands. At the end of the day it’s really the community that makes the art come to life.”

“Enduring Destiny” Premiere

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1 Studio C! 1999 Central Park Drive, Okemos (517) 393-7469 enduringdestiny

Williamston historian and author Mitch Lutzke is a man of many hats: He coaches track, teaches high school history, writes for the Williamston Today and is hard at work banging out his next book, “Stories from Williamston’s Past.” It’s anyone’s guess how he has found time to give his annual presentation on the history of Williamston for the sixth year in a row, but Thursday’s your chance to ask him. After lunch, you can feed your curiosity for Williamston’s past with Lutzke’s presentation, which will be followed by a Q&A. 11:30 a.m. $12. Brookshire Inn & Golf Club, 205 W. Church St., Williamston. (517) 655-1549,

The Touched by Adoption 5K Walk/Run is an annual event that helps raise money for Adoption Associates, a Michigan-based agency that supports families who have adopted children. Now in its third year, the main attraction is the 5K walk/run through the Bogue Flats Recreational Area in Portland. MSU’s Sparty will be on hand to evoke the power of Hermes in the young ones for the Kid’s Fun Run prior to the 5K. After the race, you can slam a bottle of Gatorade while listening to a performance from “American Idol” alum Shelby Ann Miller or see a demo from the Lansing Police Department’s Start Team. Registration for the race can be done in person or at Playmakers in Okemos. 9 a.m. $30. Bogue Flats Recreational Area, 251 Morse Drive, Portland. (517) 599-1910,

The annual “One Book, One Community” program continues with a talk led by filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who electrified national audiences last year with his feature film debut, “Fruitvale Station.” The film follows the true story of Oscar Grant, an unarmed African- American youth who died after being shot point blank in the back by a police officer in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Coogler will discuss the film and working with “Fruitvale” star and rising Hollywood talent Michael B. Jordan. (There will be a free screening of the film at the MSU Library 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28.) Seating is firstcome, first-serve for the Coogler event. 7 p.m. FREE. Kellogg Center Auditorium, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing. (517) 432-4000,

After a summer of the movie studios mining your pockets with a relentless stream of brainless blockbusters, NCG Eastwood Cinemas will give those who love the big-screen movie experience and their wallets a break with Wednesday Rewind. The series will play modern favorites every Wednesday in September, starting with “Superbad,” the Jonah Hill/Michael Cera comedy that put wiener tanks on the map. The series will also include showings of “The Fast and the Furious,” “Step Brothers” and more. Tickets are available on the day of the showing and are firstcome, first-serve. 9 p.m. FREE. NCG Eastwood Cinemas, 2500 Showtime Drive, Lansing. (517) 316-9100,