Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jan Krawitz - Hapeville, GA & Lake Charles, LA

An update from filmmaker Jan Krawitz, touring her film Perfect Strangers on the Southern Circuit. This entry is from March 21 and 22, 2014.

I was a bit late arriving at the pre-screening reception held outside the restored church where the Perfect Strangers would be shown. A wrong turn landed me in the Atlanta airport and I felt a bit like Charlie on the MTA (an antiquated reference, I know...).

The road leading in to the airport was different than the one leading out so I ended up on yet another interstate headed in the wrong direction. Fortunately, when I arrived at the reception a half hour late, no one seemed to notice – or care—that I hadn't yet arrived. I was introduced by Charlotte -- the representative from Hapeville who attends the annual meeting hosted by South Arts at which the Southern Circuit hosts collectively decide which films they will screen that year. She told me that she is a big fan of Perfect Strangers and had done some outreach to local people who she thought might be particularly interested in the subject matter. As a result, there was a professor who teaches a course in biomedical ethics and several of her students in attendance.

The screening was held in a small, recently restored church that had been moved to a sight in a local park. It was a lovely setting in which to watch the film. Now that I have sat through it three nights in a row, I find myself doing re-edits in my head, thinking about where a voiceover could be trimmed, a shot rearranged, etc. It’s always the case that the perspective of offered by distance and time, coupled with the experience of watching a film repeatedly with an audience creates post-decisional dissonance about some of my editing choices. But my film mentality will prevail – no more changes! The audience was again populated by older people (mainly in their sixties and seventies) and they found Ellie’s character quite appealing. I have felt a bit uneasy on this tour when she says her pejorative “Dick Cheney” line because I don’t want to offend people in the audience and I can’t make assumptions about their political persuasion…  I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s screening at McNeese State University as it will help me understand how a younger audience responds to the film’s message and narrative.

March 22  Lake Charles, LA
I decided to take the scenic route to Lake Charles after flying in to the Lafayette airport this morning. Driving the backroads of Louisiana, I happened upon a local festival in Lake Arthur, replete with classic cars, Cajun food (all for free!), and a local band playing zydeco music. I wish I could have stayed longer but the circuitous route I had taken made me mindful of the time. I arrived in Lake Charles, checked into the hotel, and fortunately, checked my email before heading out. Perfect Strangers got local press, but not on its own merits: The screening was cancelled due to a power outage at the University. Ever onward back to Lafayette for Monday’s screening…