Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 18: Good Times in Gainesville

The Gainesville, Georgia screening took place in the Smithgall Arts Center, the Gainesville Art Council's beautiful historic building. The screening was well-attended by a mix of series regulars, film students, and a contingent of Olympic weightlifters. Truly one of my favorite screenings to date with great questions - and thoughtful moderation by Professor Jeff Marker of University of North Georgia. 

The screening room was set up with small tables and chairs facing the screen, which seemed to give the event a social dimension. 

Gainesville is one of the US's major Olympic weightlifting capitals - the town has produced several high caliber athletes who are now walking the path that Cheryl did several years ago.  Coach Stan Lutrell and Coach CJ Stockel brought some of their lifters and contributed a lot of insight to the film's story. I was touched by Coach Stockel's Facebook post the next day: 

"Hope Stockel and I, with the Luttrell clan were able to view Strong! tonight. WOW what a powerful movie about a Powerful person, Cheryl Hayworth. If you have not seen it, you're missing out. Julie Wyman presented Cheryl as the Champion she is and weightlifting as it really is. Having known Cheryl since she started weightlifting, it was refreshing that she is portrayed as the soft and compassionate person but tough competitor that she is. It shows the trials and tribulations that any elite athlete fights through to be the champion in life they are. It shows the strength of her family and how important that part of being an Olympian has to be. It reflects on the journey more than the moment of success.
As a father and coach of my daughter who is somewhere in the middle of her journey, having role models such as Cheryl A Haworth, Natalie Burgener, Doreen and Carissa Gordon Gump portrayed in the proper light is awesome. Thank you ladies for clearing the road for those who will come after you."

With Coach Lutrell, Coach Stockel, and other members of Team Georgia Weightlifting
Thanks again, SouthArts, and Gainesville for a great evening!
with hosts Gladys Wyant, Professor Jeff Marker and Professor David Smith PHOTO CREDIT: AKYM SIMS