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Local Director Series: Camp Manna

Local Director Series: Camp Manna
May 8th, 2019, 8:00 pm


Local Director Series: Camp Manna
Director: Eric Machiela | Eric Scott Johnson

05/08 | 8:00 PM

UICA Members: $5
Public: $10

Movie tickets can be purchased at the Guest Services desk beginning at 12 noon on the date of each screening.

UICA’s Local Director Series is a recurring event that showcases feature-length films by independent directors who live and work in Grand Rapids, MI. The Local Director Series is a premier forum for directors to share their work publicly and the event acts as a vital resource for the advancement of the West Michigan film community by increasing public awareness about independent filmmaking and the impressive film industry established right here in Grand Rapids.

About the Film

A stylistic throwback to the summer camp films of the 80’s and 90’s, Camp Manna is the story of a Christian camp turned upside-down by the arrival of the wayward “new kid,” Ian Fletcher.

After a tragic accident, Ian Fletcher, a 15-year old Floridian, moves far north to live with his aunt and uncle. Shortly after his arrival, Ian is shipped off to Camp Manna, a backwoods Evangelical Christian camp soaked in baffling religious sub-culture. Camp Manna is centered around the God Games, a Biblically-themed Olympiad focused on turning boys into “men of faith.” But as a “nonbeliever”, this is the last place in the world that Ian wants to spend a week.

He is bunked up with the Passover Privates, the cabin of outcasts and misfits, and their zealous, un-cool counselor Bradley Sommers. But when Ian is introduced to Clayton Vance, the savvy and chiseled counselor of the Righteous Regiment, he has one focus: ditch Bradley and join up with Clayton.

But as the God Games approach, Ian realizes that Clayton may not be as “cool” as he claims to be and his choice to ditch the Passover Privates and join the Righteous Regiment may end up being the worst decision of his life...

Camp Manna blends hilarious comedy with loving nostalgia. This “satire with soul” reminds us all that sometimes getting to the heart of something is best told with laughter.

Directed By: Eric Machiela | Eric Scott Johnson
Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 91 min
MPAA Rating: NR
Origin: USA

About the Filmmakers



Eric Scott Johnson is an award winning filmmaker who has produced and directed feature films, documentaries, and commercial projects in over 50 countries worldwide. Together with his business partners Eric Machiela and Ross Vande Waa, he has spent his filmmaking career building Gorilla: a national production + creative agency focused on commercial films and entertainment IP.

Many of Eric’s perspectives have formed in reaction to his unusual upbringing within Christian culture. Homeschooled as a child, he was encouraged to explore the world without traditional boundaries — a characteristic which has served his creative process as a filmmaker and (ironically) inspired a lifelong curiosity of social sub-cultures.

“For me, Camp Manna is a sort of love letter to a weird and wonderful childhood.” Says Johnson. “It’s easy to criticize something for its flaws. I think it’s much more fun to love it despite its imperfections.” Eric lives with his wife and four boys. When he’s not working, they spend their time exploring in a 1981 Airstream Trailer.

Eric scott johnson.jpeg



Eric Machiela grew up in picturesque Holland, Michigan, a town which proudly boasts as many churches as people. He went through the Holland Christian school system from pre-school through graduation. Via peer pressure, he participated in Christian summer camps, the Cadets (Boy Scouts with a lot more Jesus), and Young Life. He became a counselor at a Christian camp in the summer of 2002. He was fired after 6 weeks. In one way or another, his Christian upbringing (which he still loves) has informed his filmmaking and the stories he pursues. He has co-written three feature films and produced five, all of which have won zero Dove Awards. Camp Manna is his co-directorial debut and a passion project that took 14 years from its Genesis to its Revelations.

Eric Machialla.jpeg

Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations should contact Megan Bylsma, Associate Director, at (616) 454-7000 x11 or at least 72 hours in advance.

Earlier Event: May 3
Ask Dr. Ruth
Later Event: May 10
Hail Satan?