Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cullowhere?

That was the refrain going through our heads (in between singing at the top of our lungs to Cher - don't ask) as we made the 7 and a half hour trek between Louisville and Western Carolina University. A mostly fun and painless trip, leavened by a hour detour into Knoxville TN to find quintessential southern BBQ for lunch. (Sadly, after getting directions to various BBQ establishments from a 97 year old man in a golf cart, a drunk pregnant woman smoking a cigarette, two businessmen in ties and a janitor with a russian accent, we ended up eating Chinese chicken salads at a sidewalk cafe.)

We finally rolled into Western Carolina University, Cullowhee NC (Go Catamounts!) in the late afternoon. Dr. Elizabeth Heffelfinger, a great professor of film here, was our host. After doing an intro to a packed house (I'm on a roll) she took us out to the only BBQ joint in town. So mission accomplished there, although we're still looking for that perfect BBQ sandwich.

For the first time since I can remember, I was nervous about the Q&A. This was not some older, liberal film festival crowd. These were all college kids, many of them Greek, trending conservative, not obviously predisposed to be contemplative about race and politics. In part, my film is about these kids, or kids like them, so if they thought I got it wrong, then I really got it wrong. And also, the film is premised on basic assumptions about world view that I wasn't sure this crowd shared.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried. They were polite, interested and thoughtful in their questions. Perhaps more questions about fraternities and less about racial politics than I am used to, but good questions and a lot of interest. I think, or at least hope, that it gave them a window into a point of view that they wouldn't otherwise have spent an hour and a half pondering. Or maybe they were just hanging around politely for the free pizza following the Q&A...

Tomorrow it's on to Charelston SC, which I hear is beautiful. And I'm looking forward to seeing the water. I lose Kathy so I'll be on my own for a couple days. All the more time for blogging.

Night.