Friday, March 28, 2014

Jan Krawitz - Lafayette and Alexandria

The latest updates from filmmaker Jan Krawitz, who recently completed touring her film Perfect Strangers on the Southern Circuit.

March 24, Lafayette, LA
Today's screening was held at The Vermilionville Living History & Folk Life Park. Erin Stickney first took me to the local NPR station situated at the University of Louisiana for an interview on a local talk show. The host, Judith Meriwether, asked provocative questions about the film and my approach to documentary in general. The setting for the screening that evening was in a lovely museum where a number of historical buildings had been restored in a plein air setting. The screening was in a performance space and jambalaya had been prepared by the chef from the on-site cafĂ©. Although the audience had only six people, we had a substantive conversation following the screening. There were two nurses in attendance who had a lot to offer and one woman talked about her husband who had donated his organs posthumously. As always, I took away more insights about the issues following as well as suggestions about outreach to “health ministries” within Southern churches.

March 25, Alexandria, LA
It was lovely to be off the interstate and invited by a local couple, Nicole and David Holcombe, to stay in their home. They have hosted filmmakers on the Southern Circuit for about five years and I truly enjoyed meeting them, seeing their wonderful house filled with eclectic art, and having an incredible home-cooked meal!  We rushed off to the local performing arts center – a grand, 10-year old building. Matt Henry introduced the film to a very small crowd.  But again, the conversation afterwards had its own rewards. Present in the audience was a nephrologist who has worked with kidney patients for years and sits on the board of LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency) so he proffered some interesting opinions. His wife and I chatted before the screening and, based on the film's description, she shared her incredulity about that someone would voluntary choose to donate a kidney to a perfect stranger. After the screening, she had moderated her skepticism and appreciated how Ellie's (my subject) actions were consistent with her worldview and approach to life. I had a wonderful night in the restful environment of the Holcombe's home before flying back to San Francisco the following day. So the whirlwind tour has come to a close and I truly appreciated the opportunity to be present with the film in such diverse locations. I often think of putting a film out in the world as akin to a “tree falling in the forest." Most of the time, I don't really know if it is heard – but the Southern Circuit allowed me to engage with audiences who approached the film with an open mind and generously shared their responses with me.