The second-year awards show will take place at Marshall’s Franke Center in April, with a Jan. 1 deadline for video entries. Last year’s winner Grace Theisen called the event ‘amazing.’
SCROLL DOWN FOR LAST YEAR’S WINNING VIDEO BY THEISEN
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Kalamazoo-based singer-songwriter Grace Theisen knows what it is to suffer for the sake of art.
While planning the music video for her Americana song “Down to the River,” Theisen decided to portray a “backwards baptism,” in which she entered the water dressed in pure white and emerged donning a red dress.
“This song, for me, was sort of reclaiming my own spirituality,” Theisen said.
Unfortunately, doing so meant submerging herself entirely in a 40-degree Michigan lake at the end of October.
“I took a shot of bourbon, and I was like, ‘Here we go! This is going to be freezing,’” Theisen said. “And it was. I spent, like, 30 minutes in the water, and I couldn’t feel anything after.”
But it was all worth it when “Down to the River” won Best Americana Video –– and then, later, the fan-voted Audience Choice Award –– at the 2022 Michigan Music Video Awards.
“It was wild,” Theisen said. “That was the first music video I’d ever done and put out. I had no idea that was going to be the response.”
Hosted by The Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall, the 2023 edition of the Michigan Music Video Awards will take place on April 8, 2023, with a deadline of Jan. 1 for musicians and filmmakers to submit their videos. Submit videos online here.
Any genre of music is welcome, but all submissions must highlight Michigan somehow and can be no more than 5 minutes long.
“The only specification is that either the filmmaker [or] the musician is from the state, or that the video is set and filmed in Michigan,” said Cathy Bovitz, the event manager at the Franke Center.
Each entry costs $5 and videos are accepted through electronic submission via FilmFreeway.
Specific award categories will be determined by the composition of the submitted videos –– which include a wide variety of genres so far, according to Bovitz. There will also be a special category for student submissions.
AN AWARDS SHOW THAT ‘FELT LIKE THE GRAMMYS’
“We have some wonderful award shows in the state already that celebrate music,” said Bovitz. “The one thing that we didn’t have, though, was something to celebrate music videos.”
Thus, the Michigan Music Video Awards were born, with the inaugural event unfurling earlier this year. The spring awards show takes place in a town that’s ideally located between Grand Rapids and Detroit.
The competition is designed “to give filmmakers an opportunity to participate, but also to celebrate the marriage between filmmakers and musicians,” Bovitz said.
In this celebratory spirit, last year’s ceremony included a pre-show reception for artists, complete with a professional photographer. The show itself screened nominated videos and gave out a series of juried awards, as well as the Audience Choice Award –– which Theisen won.
“It was such a well-curated night,” Theisen said. “I’ve never been to the Grammys, but it sort of felt like what [the Grammys] should feel like. Every artist felt encouraged and included.”
The 2022 ceremony was headlined by Traverse City alt-folk heroes The Accidentals.
“We thought, ‘We would love to have a Michigan band who had a big reputation,’” Bovitz said. “And, of course, the first band that came to mind was The Accidentals.” That night, the band played two sets and premiered a music video to boot.
“You could just feel the energy of the whole room,” Theisen said of the Accidentals’ performance. “Everyone was in awe.”
For 2023, organizers will alter the ceremony’s format slightly.
“We wanted to allow more musicians to participate in the performance piece,” Bovitz said. So, a variety of selected nominees will get the opportunity to perform a song. These performances will be interspersed with video showings and award announcements.
For her part, Theisen plans to submit her latest music video and she encourages other artists to do the same.
“You work so hard, and you put so much time and energy into these pieces of art, and I think it’s a shame when there’s not any place for them to be shown,” Theisen said.
Regardless of winning or losing, “it was cool to give [the art] its moment in time. [The Michigan Music Video Awards] did an amazing job of doing that for every single artist.”
VIDEO: Grace Theisen, “Down to the River” (Winning 2022 Video)
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