Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mobile, AL

It’s been a deeply profound experience and a true honor to be part of the Southern Film Circuit. Ashley and I have met so many wonderful people who we’d otherwise not meet: projectionists, aspiring filmmakers, waiters and waitresses, clerks, and residents of the towns who enthusiastically show up to simply say “Thanks for showing your film!” Last night in Mobile, AL 150 people packed into the library to see Kamp Katrina. Charlie, curator and director of the event, eagerly greeted us with a smiling face and then thoughtfully introduced our film at 6:45pm (we arrived at 6:30pm, just in time for the introduction). During the film, Ashley and I left for a quick stroll down Dauphine St. and soon came across a small bookstore. Inside we met the owner and casually remarked how Mobile “looked like” New Orleans. The owner, obviously taken aback by our ignorance, kindly corrected us by explaining that Mobile was a city before New Orleans existed, and that New Orleans imitated Mobile’s architecture. I’ve read that the first Mardi Gras in the U.S. was celebrated in Mobile (and influenced by the French) back in the early 1800s, and then found its way to New Orleans. Recently, however, I read another book that provides evidence of the first Mardi Gras celebration existing in the 1700s in the area of Philadelphia (influenced by Caribbean culture). Either way, downtown Mobile is absolutely beautiful with its small coffee shops, local restaurants, and friendly people. We were only able to stay downtown for a few hours before we had to prepare for the next day’s screening in Baton Rouge.