Friday, November 12, 2010

Eric Metzgar - Gainesville, Georgia

On my day off, I went to my alma mater, the University of Georgia. A book series could be written on the neurology of nostalgia, but suffice it to say the experience was overwhelming. Twelve years of memories confronted actualities. The place has changed. I've changed. Yipes. Life is flying.

I popped into the Journalism department and quickly recognized an old professor. We caught up quickly and he invited me to sit in on a class he was about to teach, wherein his kids were pitching faux documentary films. So I went, and it was fascinating. Their pitches were academic, not heartfelt. Understandable. It was an assignment, not a passion project. Yet I was left pondering the relationship between life experience and passion.

Onto my screening at Gainesville State College. A sizable crowd. Poor equipment. Everyone onscreen was green. But the audience managed to have a viable experience nonetheless, or so it seemed. The Q&A was long and varied. We talked a lot about General Nkunda (the warlord in my film). He's endlessly fascinating, particularly so, I think, to a southern crowd because he rationalizes his violence with talk about Jesus and liberation.

Not too many folks in the audience had heard of Kristof before seeing the film. With no understanding of his work or impact, it's easier to condemn his methods. So at length we discussed Nick's seemingly cold and calculated approach to news gathering. Rather, I rambled and they listened patiently. A kind crowd.