Waterfront Film Festival reveals 1st movie for Holland venue

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HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A film centered around a rare genetic disorder will be the first movie to air at the Waterfront Film Festival’s new Holland venue.

Organizers announced Tuesday the venue would celebrate its grand opening on June 22 by showing “The Ataxian.” The award-winning documentary centers around two men affected by the degenerative neuromuscular disorder, Friedreich’s ataxia. The men attempt the grueling Race Across America on bicycles to raise money and awareness about the condition.

The film’s cast is expected to be in attendance for the screening and after party. Holly LeBlanc, the Holland woman who suggested the movie to the Waterfront Film Festival, also plans to attend. LeBlanc has the same rare disorder and was also diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in January, according to Waterfront Film Festival organizers.

Waterfront Film Festival co-founder Hopwood DePree said the film is a perfect example of what they want to offer the community: an entertaining film bringing awareness to a worthy cause.

Tickets are $25 for the 7 p.m. screening and fundraiser reception on June 22 and 23. Proceeds will go toward raising awareness and finding a cure for Friedreich’s ataxia.

An encore matinee screening will take place Saturday, June 24 at 11 a.m. Tickets to the matinee are $10.

LeBlanc, who recently founded It Takes Hope, will share her story at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Central Wesleyan Church at 446 W. 40th Street. The event is free and open to the public.

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