Thursday, October 23, 2008

On my way to Lake charles

I am currently sitting in a great little coffee shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fueling up before I head to Lake Charles for a 7pm screening. I thought this might be a good time to catch up on blogging my first three days of the tour.

Day 1 - I landed in Jacksonville Florida, exhausted yet excited to see a part of the country I have never been to. Also a bit nervous to show my film to a group of people who I don't know and aren't obligated to say nice things. Turns out Brunswick Georgia is a breathtaking place, so green and quaint, and full of nice people.

The screening was held in the Ritz theatre which is in the charming downtown. After handing over my exhibition copy I headed to a restaurant for my first Southern meal. Instead I found a very "California" style restaurant filled with vegetarian food. The screening was attended by about 25 people with the enthusiasm of 100. Hospice was there with a table, informing the audience about their organization. I LOVED that they were there. Very perfect for the message of my film "You matter until the very last second of your life".

The funniest part of that screening was that the mayor who was in attendance, noticed a suspicious looking bag in the street before the screening started. Before I knew it there street was shut down, the bomb quad had arrived and there was a huge crime scene outside the theatre. I felt right at home with all the sirens and police. Luckily it was nothing threatening but I have never felt so safe. What a great mayor! Unfortunately he missed the screening but he puts his community first. The Q and A was great and I felt the film was very well received.

Day 2 - The next day featured a long drive to Auburn Alabama. Auburn is GORGEOUS! The campus takes up most of the town which makes it very youthful. The hotel was one of the nicest I have ever been too with a full service gym and a view. The museum where my film screened was enormous and soo classy. Again the audience was about 25 with lots of enthusiasm. They asked a lot of great questions and one young woman even gave me a hug!

Day 3 - I started my day with a short drive to Atlanta to catch a plane to Baton Rouge. All of the crossing in and out of time zones got pretty confusing but I managed to make my flight. Baton Rouge is a bigger town than I thought it would be. It is a college town with a big downtown with really nice architecture. I came to the downtown area early to have dinner with the women who run the Manship Theatre. The Manship is another huge, state of the art facility, set inside a museum. Jane and Paige, the lovely ladies of the Manship took me to Italian/Cajun dinner. We all ordered the fried green tomatoes with shrimp and crab on top. Delicious!! I can tell I am going to do some serious eating here in Louisiana.

The audience for the screening was around 20 people but the space was so huge, it was hard to count. I certainly didn't mind. They laughed and cried and commented. For me, enthusiasm is the key. After the screening we had wine and cheese and talked about how cancer has effected each of our lives. It was a very touching experience and I feel so honored that the audience was so moved.

This morning I have taken the advice of Jane and Paige, and gone shopping at some quintessential Louisiana shops. I bought some souvenirs for the family back home and soaked up all the culture.

In a few minutes I am off to Lake Charles for another screening. Then I will enjoy a day off tomorrow in New Orleans. I will blog again in a few days. Having a great time. Thanks so much to the Southern Arts Federation for this opportunity and all of my hosts to date. Heather in Brunswick, Scott in Auburn, Jane and Paige in Baton Rouge. I have had a blast so far.