Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sara Nodjoumi - Atlanta, Milledgeville, Gainesville, and a Winter Update

The latest update from Sara Nodjoumi, producer of The Iran Job, on her Southern Circuit tour:

Sunrise flight to Atlanta
My Southern Circuit tour started with an uneventful early morning flight to Atlanta on Sunday. I say uneventful because we had two other people from our filmmaking team attend the first half of the tour and the forecast called for snow right before each of our trips. So getting to Atlanta and finding a sunny 60 degree day was a lot like being in heaven.  (Till, the director - attending the first three screenings, Julien, our Associate Producer - was at the next two and I was scheduled to do the last five.)

The drive to Milledgeville was supposed to be two hours but it took me three. My big secret in life is that I'm not really an experienced driver. I've only really started driving over the last few years and in 2013 I finally overcame my biggest fear which was driving on the highway. So renting a car and driving three hours was definitely a personal challenge and I'm glad to say I overcame it!

In Milledgeville, my lovely host Joe Windish gave me a tour of the Georgia College campus while the screening was taking place. After the Q&A and reception, some of the faculty and I went out for pretty awesome brick oven pizza. I was impressed that such a varied faculty hung out together and lucky to meet a couple of lovely Iranian professors. One of whom knew my parents back in the day in NY.

On the road to Gainesville
The next day was another two hour drive to Gainesville, which of course took me three hours - but I didn't mind - by that time I located NPR and the classic rock station so between the two I stayed entertained. (Sadly I couldn't find a good country music station which was one of the things I was looking forward to!). Southern charm and hospitality abound, my hosts Gladys, Jeff, and Alan where absolutely lovely and I think we had quite possibly the longest Q&A afterwards. And I mean that as a compliment -- it's lovely to be able to answer questions and hear audience reactions. I especially love presenting the film to folks who are not always in touch with many Iranians/Middle Eaterners.

My hosts in Gainesville
Next on the list was Auburn on Tuesday night, Memphis on Wednesday night and Charlotte on Thursday night. But every time I looked at the weather it seemed the looming ice storm and I were going to be heading in the same direction all week. After much back and forth, Teresa and I decided it would be best for me to cut my trip short and head back home. Sad as it was, I think it was the right decision considering the many cancelled flights and thick ice that's settled over most of the region.

Teresa and her team have definitely started something special and I wish them the very best for the remaining tours for this year. Maybe summer tours are a better idea considering the weird weather we're all experiencing.