GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An award-winning filmmaker from West Michigan held a special screening of her critically-acclaimed documentary “Overland” in her hometown.

The Peabody and Emmy-award winning Elisabeth Haviland James graduated from Forest Hills Central High School. She now lives in North Carolina but has many family members in the Grand Rapids area.

“We’ve played everywhere, from North Carolina to Kathmandu, but I hadn’t had a chance to show it to the audience that probably means the most to me,” Haviland James said.           

She directed and produced the film with her husband, Revere La Noue. 

“I was born and raised in Grand Rapids and grew up on the Thornapple River and that’s sort of where I first fell in love with the great outdoors and this film is really a tribute to the love that I have for wild spaces,” Haviland James said.           

The documentary was filmed over five years in remote locations in seven countries.

The poster for “Overland” by award-winning filmmaker Elisabeth Haviland James. (Courtesy “Overland” movie)

“The film is about three falconers, one from Italy, one from the United Arab Emirates and an American,” Haviland James said.            

Elisabeth credits much of her success of 20 years as a documentary filmmaker to getting her start at Forest Hills Central High School.

Her mother, Marie Haviland, said she is beyond proud of her daughter’s success.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. It’s a great feeling for a parent to see their children grow up and succeed in the field that they love, so I’m really happy for her and this is an absolutely beautiful film,” Haviland said.  

The screening brought in Michigan falconers to greet the audience and answer questions. Kimberly Betcke with the Michigan Hawking Club had her falcon at the event. “Overland” works to capture the complicated relationship between the falcon and the falconer.

“These are not pets. These could be very dangerous they could really hurt you. They’re not tame ever. They mostly just get an understanding of what the relationship is and they allow it,” Betcke said.

“Overland” hopes to show viewers just how spectacular the falcons can be.

“To see it with surround sound on the big screen. The way we intended really elevates the experience,” Haviland James said.   

“Overland” is currently not available to stream. The filmmakers are working to get it into more theaters across the country. For more information on the film and upcoming showings visit