2012-03-04 / Community View

Locally made indie film to be shown at The PIX

BY JACOB HUNSANGER 810-452-2609 • jhunsanger@mihomepaper.com


Above, Mary Govaere (played by Sharon Nelson) and her son Billy (played by Quinn Nehr) are arrested for the murder of Macomb County Sheriff Joseph Ulrich. At right, producer Ray Govaere (right) stands with Made in Michigan Film Society founders Wally and Mary Greene. Above, Mary Govaere (played by Sharon Nelson) and her son Billy (played by Quinn Nehr) are arrested for the murder of Macomb County Sheriff Joseph Ulrich. At right, producer Ray Govaere (right) stands with Made in Michigan Film Society founders Wally and Mary Greene. LAPEER — At this time last year, the historic Lapeer County courthouse was filled with the hustle and bustle of an independent film crew. Crew members and actors turned the local landmark into a film set for a few days, and several local residents participated as extras in front of the camera.

A year has gone by with little word of what became of the film, but soon local residents will have a chance to see the finished product on the silver screen.

Mary’s Buttons, a historical drama, will be shown at the PIX Theatre in downtown Lapeer on Friday, March 23. There will be two showings, first at 5 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.


Photos provided Photos provided Mary’s Buttons tells the true story of the murder of Macomb County Sheriff Joseph Ulrich in 1910, the first law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Macomb. The shooter was the 14-year-old son of a Belgian immigrant farmer in Harrison Township. The mother of the family, Mary Govaere, was put on trial for first degree murder, while the community, distraught by the loss of their beloved sheriff, reacted with mob violence.

A large portion of the film centers on the courtroom drama that ensued, which was filmed at the Lapeer County courthouse. Moviewatchers will be able to see the courthouse perhaps in a new light as the setting for the film.

Mary’s Buttons was filmed entirely in Michigan at various locations with historic settings and backdrops, including the Holly Hotel and Crossroads Village, along with the PIX Theatre. The movie employed 270 actors and extras, many of whom were from Lapeer and Genesee counties.

The story was adapted for the screen by Mary Govaere’s grandson, Ray Govaere, and her great granddaughter, Charlene Govaere. Trailers for the film are available for viewing on Youtube.

The film has also been nominated for seven awards at the Uptown Film Festival, which will take place in Birmingham, March 8-10. Award nominations include: Best Michigan Feature Film, Best Screenplay-Feature (Ray Govaere, Charlene Govaere and Joel Paul Reisig), Best Director-Feature (Chris Nickin), Best Supporting Actor (Joel Paul Reisig and Jordon Hodges), Best Supporting Actress (Kirstie Munoz), Best Original Score-Feature (Todd Maki), and Best Cinematography-Feature (Travis Cleary).

Mary’s Buttons has not yet been rated, but the filmmakers said that it is a family film.

Advance tickets will be sold at the PIX Theatre Box Office for $10 each. Remaining tickets purchased at the door will cost $12. For more information, go online to www.pixlapeer.org or call 810-664-4824.

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