Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Screening #6, Recalled.

#6: Nickelodeon Theatre, Columbia, SC
Oh what a difference a day off makes! After a seemingly unending series of hours on picturesque country roads (and nights of sleeping 3 to a room), we at last had a day to park on the roadside and move into the forests and fields that we'd been zipping by. Good intelligence led us from Augusta to a stone's throw south of Columbia to the Congaree National Park, where we took the above-marsh bridge-paths into the wilder bits of this old-growth forest. Benjen, a fellow who'd grown up in the tropic jungles of Suriname, filled with snakes and dense undergrowth, was amazed at the space that existed between the trees, as well as the fact that we didn't need a machete to protect ourselves.
As a mostly-Northener, it was odd being in a forest that was equal parts New England Fall (golden leaves littering the ground) and Southern Swamp (small bodies of black water sucking at the trees and roots). We walked for hours, listening for birds and feeling our eyes adjust as the sun set and the colors left the trees. Dusk brought owl hoots and bounding families of deer, smiles on all our faces.
Happily, these smiles stayed through the next days - we had the good fortune of staying with the director of the Nickelodeon Theater in his house, which meant that city tours and hot breakfasts and amiable drinking sessions were all part of the deal. Thanks Larry! We also got to see the new Nickelodeon Theater that was on the path to construction - an old movie palace that was somehow hidden within a downtown beauty shop. It'll be a gem!
The screening, as promised, was sold out (both Larry and Andy brought their classes to the show), and the Q&A was accordingly spirited (extra credit for questions asked). As filmmakers traveling with film and screening on film, it's been part and parcel of the discussion to talk about such things, and I do hope that my explanations for this particular set of films to be on film makes sense... Most of the conversation continues to center around TJUBA TEN and TRYPPS #3, films which are close enough to documentary to make their movements away from it distinct and curious.
Needless to say, we were sad to leave Columbia and certainly hope to make it back there again. Small arthouse cinemas are #1 in my book!