Monday, April 13, 2009

South Carolina State University & Laid Back Seats!

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2009

Tonight marks the second to the last screening on this fabulous Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.  South Carolina State University is an historic Black college that I am excited to visit.  I arrive on campus and head straight to the I.P. Stanback Museum & Planetarium.  I am immediately welcomed by the staff and instantly feel right at home.  True Southern hospitality up in the Stanback.  I am greeted by everyone and eventually meet a very nice former New Yorker who happens to be the museum's curator and my Circuit Tour hostess, Ellen Zisholtz. 

The first thing we do before the screening begins is walk into the phenomenal exhibit of everything James Brown.  Ellen gives my a guided tour of the exhibit and tells me so many fascinating stories behind the items that only a curator who selected each item from the Brown estate could know and share.  I was truly impressed by how well Ellen, Darryl Murphy and other dedicated folk on her team assembled this remarkable James Brown exhibit.  The exhibit (which includes hand-written music/lyrics to some of his chart-topping songs, his furniture, wardrobe, hundreds and hundreds of personal items, awards, photographs, artwork, jewelry and even his hair-rollers) is at the museum until September 1, 2009.  So if you are close to Orangeburg, SC, you should really stop by the Stanback Museum and see his "stuff."

The All About Us screening was packed with students, faculty and adults from the town.  As other filmmakers have mentioned in their previous blogs this is the tour stop where your film is projected inside of a planetarium!  This was the first and possibly last time All About Us will be screened on a domed ceiling.  As we sat in permanently reclined seats and watched the film, I had this feeling on the inside about 30 minutes in that they REALLY, REALLY like the movie!  

After the screening the audience and I had a very long Q&A which has now become more of the norm on the tour.  I was told after the screening that the students had never asked that many questions to any of the other filmmakers (due respect, of course, if other tour  filmmakers are reading this).  But the students connected with the material and perhaps with me.  In fact, I asked how many had seen my first movie, All About You, and lots of hands went right up all over the planetarium.  That was cool.  Like the last evening at Clemson, I felt like I was interacting with my Johnson C. Smith University students again here at S.C. State.  We had an awesome exchange and a memorable event overall.  

I look forward to returning to the museum with my family this summer to show them James Brown's rollers.  -Michael Swanson