Friday, February 18, 2011

Do No Harm screened last night at the Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville

Last night’s screening of Do No Harm took place at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville, GA. The center, a former train depot, was built at a time in the south when there were separate entrances marked with the signs “White” and “Colored.” Those entryways are now encased in glass mirror and have become one of the renovated walls of the Art Center’s theater space where the film was screened. But the south’s painful legacies of slavery and the Confederacy are not far in the past, it seems. Stories in the local and national papers these past few days have reported the controversial upcoming celebration of Jefferson Davis’ inauguration 150 years ago and locally the removal of a faculty painting from the Gainesville State College gallery for it’s depiction of the Confederate flag with Klansmen and a lynching in the background. Excuse my editorializing here but I felt I had to comment. I think the fact that it was a painting at the college that sparked the debate reminded me of the power of art to be provocative and generate discussion (often heated, as the headline stated) around difficult subjects. Segue to the screening of Do No Harm last night and we see another side of the arts, this time our film, with very different subject matter, that was the catalyst generating debate. This time the discussion took place around issues of health care reform and the unethical billing practices of some non-for-profit hospitals. I have to say how proud I am to be representing the Kindling Group’s Do No Harm, and my colleague, the film’s Producer-Director, Becca Schanberg, at these first stops of the Southern Circuit Filmmakers tour. As I watch the film again, I am also reminded of the courage of our main characters, Dr. John Bagnato and Charles Rehberg when they came forward and exposed these unethical billing practices.
A special thanks to the Art’s Center, Gladys Wyant, Dr. Marker and the students of Gainesville State College for a terrific evening. I also enjoyed meeting and talking to the board of directors yesterday afternoon and being able to promote the film on the Afternoon Show with George Mason Dixon and BJ Williams.
On a much, much lighter note, I learned that Gainesville is not only the poultry capital of the world (ok Mr. Purdue, quit your clucking, that’s what I was told) but was also named the hospitality center of the world, based on it’s hosting of the 1996 Olympics rowing events.
Susanne Suffredin
Do No Harm