Monday, October 15, 2012

Up and down the Atlantic seaboard with An Encounter with Simone Weil

Lucas Theatre for the Arts, Savannah, Georgia
Last Wednesday, we had the honor of showing "An Encounter with Simone Weil" at the beautiful Lucas Theatre for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia. Restored in 2000, it was on the verge of being demolished when a group of local residents came together and raised the funds for its restoration. They did a remarkable job.

A glimpse of the cinema
At the reception afterward, I had some great conversations with a remarkably diverse group of audience members. A few were tourists who'd just wandered in off the street curious about this "Simone Weil", and now they wanted to run out and buy her books. One man, an historic map maker, had come all the way from Columbia, SC (2 1/2 hours away), because he'd recently discovered Weil and wanted to learn more.

The following day found me at the Miramar Cultural Center in Miramar, a suburb of Miami, Florida. Not a large crowd, but a beautiful venue and very friendly hosts. After the screening, Joyce Maddox gave me a tour of the area, which included the largest senior citizens community in the world. Century City boasts 7,000 residents with their own shops, health facility, and movie theater.

Friday, I flew up to Norfolk, VA, and drove down the coast to North Carolina's Outer Banks. The screening was in the historic town of Manteo. Dare County Arts Council hosted my visit, headed by their energetic leader, Chris Sawin. The Q &A covered both Simone Weil and the themes of mental illness that run through the film. Often the latter don't get openly discussed, so I was very pleased people were bringing them up and sharing experiences of their own. One couple had driven from Raleigh, NC (3 hours), which may be the record so far.

Me and my host, Dare County Arts Council's Chris Sawin
Saturday, I had my first day off and was able to relax by the sea. The whole area's rich with history––from the land pirates who used to lure in unsuspecting ships, to a restored Elizabethan ship, and the Wright Brothers Memorial (picture below).

Kites aloft above the first-in-flight memorial, Kill Devil Hills, NC

Plus I discovered a new fish species I'd never heard of. Contrary to its moniker, it's supposed to be yummy!