Friday, February 28, 2014

George Gage- Georgia and Louisiana

The latest update from George Gage, touring his film Bidder 70 on the Southern Circuit.

I started out in Hapeville, GA, which is a cute little town. It is unbelievable that only a few miles out of Atlanta it’s almost seems like a throwback to the 1950’s. The venue was a cute little white church with a white steeple. I was met by a nice host, Allen O’Brien, who was very enthusiastic about having my film, Bidder 70 there. We had a good screening and a good crowd, and a very engaging Question and Answer session. All in all, my residency in Hapeville was very successful.

Then I went on to McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was actually a small crowd. I was a little bit upset because at McNeese college, where the venue was, there’s an art program. Usually we get the local art students and social activist types attending the screenings, but I don’t think there were any students here, and I was disappointed. I just hope that young people and future generations start coming out to events like this and start coming out to movies because you can’t get the whole message by going on Facebook or streaming it online. When you have that one on one with the director or the protagonist of the film, I think you get so much more out of it. Again, the host, Ladonna McKnight was very nice.

Robert Redford wearing
a Bidder 70 hat on the set
of his 2012 film,
The Company You Keep.
Something funny happened at this screening. I usually sell merchandise after the movie, including Bidder 70 hats, which Robert Redford made sort of famous by wearing it everywhere. This gentleman came up to me and I said asked how much it was to buy a hat. His wife said, "Oh he has so many hats!" and this gentleman agreed with her, and began to put the hat back on the merchandise table. But then, I just picked the hat back up put it right on his head and said, "Well now you have one more; that will be 20 dollars." And amazingly enough, he reached into his pocket and gave me the $20! I've learned that sometimes when the crowds are slim you have to push a little bit!

George Gage at the Movie Tavern
From Lake Charles, I then went on to the city of Suwanee, GA. The evening started out with a very nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse, with our host, Tony Shrewberry and Councilman Dan Foster. Dan took some really nice pictures of the theatre, which was called the Movie Tavern. The theatre is very interesting because it’s a dinner theatre, so people can sit at a table and watch the movie with a fresh cocktail and food as they enjoy the movie. Again, we had a nice crowd and a good Q&A session.

George Gage at the Movie Tavern
My next stop on the tour, in Alexandria, Louisiana was tough. The movie was screened at a giant venue. The theatre had 1,200 seats, and the audience was small. One member of the audience drove all the way up from New Orleans to see the movie! In fact, he’s going to be there again tonight to see the movie again! My next stop on tour, and where I’m reporting from now, Lafayette, Louisiana, has been great so far. I just had a radio interview at NPR (National Public Radio), which will hopefully reach out to the college students in the area. I really tried out to shout out to them. I said, “It’s really important that we get young people in the theatre. It’s important that young people get the message of Bidder 70 and the message of Timothy DeChristopher.” I've been very optimistic that we’ll have a nice crowd tonight that will include college students as well as what seems to be our average age group, which is people around age 55 or 60.

[Update from the following day] - Well I did get some people to the screening in Lafayette because of the interview on NPR. There were quite a few mature people there that heard the interview and were inspired to come see the film. But again, no young people came, even though Lafayette is the city that the University of Louisiana is in. On a brighter note, there were a lot of members there from the Sierra Club. During the Q&A not only were the Sierra Club members very actively participating in questions about Timothy DeChristopher’s actions and Bidder 70 and everything else, they also got a discussion going of some of the local issues here in Lafayette, about some issues important to Louisiana and the Sierra Club. It was an inspiring, mature “round table” type discussion. The venue itself in Lafayette was an old historic building with excellent projection equipment. The surrounding area was really interesting! The buildings were like little museum pieces! The building where we actually held the screening was a really cool venue. 

Hope you find this report interesting and that something exciting will happen tonight in Madison!