Thursday, March 08, 2012

Anne Makepeace Braves Tornado Warnings to Reach Thomasville Screening

Day 2

Day 2 of the Southern Circuit tour was not so rosy.  I arrived at Charleston Airport to discover that the plane I was supposed to fly out on had been hit by lightning and was delayed for maintenance.  I had a very tight connection in Charlotte for my flight to Tallahassee, where I was to rent a car and drive 45 minutes to an hour to Thomasville, Georgia, for my next screening.

While the very helpful US Air agent tried to help me figure out alternatives, the flight was canceled.  At first it seemed that I would never make it to my screening; US Air couldn't get me to Tallahasee until 10pm.  Lots of flights were canceled due to weather, so most were full or overbooked.  The agent finally found Delta flights that were scheduled to arrive in Tallahassee at 9pm, which wasn't much better.  Then I met Paul Thompson, a wizard Delta agent who spent about 20 minutes trying to outwit his computer and get me on earlier flights.  The computer kept saying no, and he kept at it - it was almost as exciting as a NASCAR race as he pounded the keys and exclaimed with hope and jubilation, then moaned with disappointment and tried again.  It was truly inspiring!  And he succeeded at last, getting me on flights through Atlanta scheduled to arrive at 4:38, which would get me to Thomasville in time.  I gave him a copy of We Still Live Here for his efforts; he was excited to learn that I was a documentary filmmaker and asked with great passion whether I would make a film about.... NASCAR!

The new flight was delayed a bit, and when I finally got to Atlanta I called my host, Bonnie Hayes, in Thomasville where I was supposed to have arrived hours earlier.  She told me that Thomasville was being pounded by torrential rains, and that they were under a  tornado warning!  She wasn't sure if the screening would go on; I said I would call her when I got to Tallahassee.

Which I finally did, at around 5pm.  Of course my bags didn't arrive with me, so sorting that out took some time.  Then the rental car they gave me was so confusing - no key!  everything computerized - that I had to drive back to National with my head out the window (couldn't figure out the wipers or defrost) for a tutorial.  I finally arrived in Thomasville for a great screening with about 20 hardy souls who had braved the rain and wind to get there, and had chosen my film over the Rose Queen Pageant that was going on just down the street!   I loved the old renovated high school building that is now the Thomasville Center fort the Arts and the projection was the best I had seen from a DVD.

I was too frazzled by the events of the day to take photos, so have none to show you for this crazy day, but again I was moved and impressed by the intelligence and variety of people there.  Two little girls who sat towards the front asked sweetly smart questions, and there was real passionate interest in the film's issues that made the Q+A stirring and engaging.

-Anne Makepeace