Saturday, February 12, 2011

WOODPECKER half-way through

Just hit the half-way point of the tour last night at Duke with a wonderful crowd sprinkled with numerous hardcore birders and piercing academic wits. Had to really stay on my toes for this q&a – an effort made that much more difficult by two glasses of red wine at the pre-screening reception inside Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. Before that was Cullowhee, in the gorgeous mountains of lower Appalachia. Following a wild and crazy introduction by Jack Sholder (director of Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and The Hidden, among many many others), the West Carolina University crowd seemed to really enjoy the dark humor and existential absurdity of Jonny’s search. Speaking of wild and crazy, apparently some sort of brightly colored woodpecker was spotted at the screening itself (see images). At first the mysterious creature swirled above the crowd in very quick circles before momentarily perching itself right above the screen. The crowd whipped out their binoculars as I was reaching for my camera phone, but the bird quickly flew off, once again proving elusive. After the screening, one bystander in the lobby reported that the woodpecker took a bite out of its own cake on the way out (the nerve!) Before that was Clemson, where a full house of college students nurtured a very funny and lively q&a, and before that East Tennessee State University, where I met some folks that actually took part in the original search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which was pretty incredible. Before that was Memphis. Despite screening against the Superbowl (talk about counter-programming!) we got a great crowd of devoted birdwatchers and Indy cinephiles. As we shot a chunk of the film in Memphis and shot the rest of it just an hour east in Brinkley, Arkansas, this was as close as I’ve ever come to a “hometown” screening for the film, and thus it was a pretty special and unforgettable night for me. And finally, before that was Charleston, South Carolina, my very first stop on the tour and one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been too (at least on this side of the world). So rich and mysterious and dreamy and I can’t wait to go back. It was Friday night at the College of Charleston, and we had a full house, sold a bunch of DVDs, and had a really really fun q&a. Next stop, Montgomery, Alabama, which people keep telling me is one of the South’s brightest jewels. This cranky Yankee can’t wait…
-- Alex Karpovsky, WOODPECKER