Saturday, March 15, 2008

Athens, Georgia

Right now Ashley and I are in Athens, GA as part of the Southern Film Circuit. Tomorrow we drive to Columbia, SC. Last night, however, we left Austin at 1:00am (after telling Joel Heller Happy Birthday) and drove all night to Mansfield where we dozed into a 45 minute nap before waking up in a rushed daze to catch an early morning flight to Atlanta. We rented a car in Atlanta and then drove to Athens where Kamp Katrina is screening at the Georgia Museum of Art! [note: we JUST completed the Q&A with a fabulous audience who were both disturbed and intrigued by what was in the film (and what was left out). It was one of the most honest Q&A's so far]. We are delighted that Allen chose to program Kamp Katrina as part of the screening series and can’t think of another tour that we’d rather be part of. Thankfully, the Southern Film Circuit has stepped in to fill a needed gap in community involvement by providing a film series that focuses on storytelling as opposed to putting forth a political agenda or reinforcing a particular ideology. It’s also beyond our belief that Kamp Katrina is still finding locations in which to screen, colleges are programming our film(s), and teachers are using it in their classes.

All of the above mentioned events seemingly come out of nowhere. For instance, my claim of catching an “early flight to Atlanta” and “renting a car and droving to Athens” are a bit misleading. Hardworking people who care about the function of the organization they work for set up those events, of course. All the car rentals, tours, food, and flights were arranged ahead of time. Therefore, I think it’s realistic to describe me and Ashley as “dependent” filmmakers as opposed to “independent” filmmakers. In truth, no one does it alone. We (and other filmmakers) are dependent on organizations to secure screening venues, people who raise money to show Kamp Katrina (and our other films), fly us in for a workshop or Q&A, donate their time and energy for feedback, provide finishing, startup funds, or stipends, create and audience, and offer a much needed social and psychological support network for everyone involved in the complicated world of documentary storytelling.

The Southern Film Circuit provides all of the above functions and much, much more for filmmakers and audiences. Please check out their organization and welcome a filmmaker (or film) into your hometown, or volunteer a local venue to screen a documentary or two. Inviting people over to watch documentaries or sponsoring a screening in your hometown or neighborhood is a fantastic way to become engaged.