Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Steven Ross - Day 2

I feel a bit like I am on a shoot.( I remember several prolonged trips shooting for Pepsi back in the early 90s). Traveling to a new place each day by plane and/or by car, then into the motel, and then off to the location. Today is Jackson,MS and Milsaps College. Milsaps is a small, private, liberal arts college (only about 1300 students) that is fighting the valiant fight to excel in a difficult economic climate.

I am met by Michelle Acuff who teaches Sculpture, Video, Drawing, and Painting, and then we are joined for dinner by her colleague, Holly Sypniewski who teaches Greek and Latin as well as civilization courses on the legacy of Rome and concepts of love in the ancient world. Holly has been Milsap's lead person with the Southern Circuit for a number of years now. Over a lovely Cajun dinner (fried pickles, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee), she explains how the selections are made for the Southern Circuit. After the submissions are made by the various filmmakers (approximately 50-60 this year), there is a yearly meeting with representatives from all of the host venues and the Southern Arts Federation. Long days of screenings and then discussions and, I am guessing, a bit of arm-pulling and negotiation, and then a vote is taken. This year, six filmmakers were chosen. I feel very fortunate and honored.

Holly suggests that we screen Fishers and then have a short discussion before showing Liberia. This proves to be the right way to go. Given the provocative subject nature of Liberia, Fishers is already a distant memory if discussion is only held at the end of the double feature. I am forced to admit to a bit of film trickery when some smart viewer wonders whether all the sound in Fishers is original sound. Coming clean, I tell the story of doing a bit of extra recording in Manhattan - peeling shrimp, scraping fish, stirring oatmeal - all for the cause.

Again, the audience seems very engaged and asks smart questions. I am having good fun and am definitely being well-treated.

Tomorrow, I am up at 4am for a 6am flight to Lynchburg, VA and Sweet Briar College.