Saturday, February 20, 2010

Goldilocks in the Smoky Mountains



The Smoky Mountains Mobile Light Show (courtesy of an NC state trooper) cost me more than I can afford, so I drive slowly into the gorgeous mountain valley.  This is Cullowhee, the home of Western Carolina University.  Ms. Lori Davis checks me into the Alumni Guest House.  There are seven beds to choose from.  All of a sudden I feel like Goldilocks.  Or one of the seven dwarves.

Alumni Guest House Still Life

Later that afternoon, I show a couple of clips to Prof. Arledge Armenaki's senior thesis film class, and start talking.  Everyone seems downright sheepish about asking questions, and I realize that this Yankee's been chattering on way too fast, gesticulating too durn wildly.  They're all just wondering who gave the guest filmmaker the amphetamines.  

Unexpectedly, I meet a former compatriot:  Jack Sholder runs the filmmaking program here.  I knew Jack more than 20 years ago, when he was a respected film editor in NYC (and I was a lowly assistant).  Since then, Prof. Sholder has successfully directed features in LA, then moved to Asheville and set up the film program here at WCU.  We reminisce.

The screening goes very well:  The theater is equipped with 7.1 surround, so the students hear the Trimpin film in all its auditory glory.  Their questions are on-point.  Over brownies, Prof. Marie Cochran and I converse passionately about visionary artists.

Jolene is waiting silently for me in the car the next morning.