Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jan Krawitz - Suwanee, GA

The latest update from Jan Krawitz, touring her film Perfect Strangers on the Southern Circuit:

I began my Southern Circuit tour on Monday, March 17. I've flown tens of thousands of miles in my life, but had an amazing moment of synchronicity as I boarded my plane in San Francisco to begin the tour. As everyone staggered down the aisles with their luggage, the captain made an announcement: he implored us to settle (especially) quickly because we were on a tight schedule and had to get in the air immediately. The plane was carrying a heart for transplant in Georgia so time was of the essence! Since my film, Perfect Strangers, is about an altruistic kidney donor who decides to find someone in need of a kidney, I marveled at this coincidence and felt that the transplant (and secondarily, my circuit tour) would have a successful outcome.

I am thrilled to be invited to a Southern Circuit tour for a second time. In 2005, I screened Big Enough (my documentary about dwarfs), to attentive audiences in the Carolinas, Mississippi, and Alabama. This time, I will be travelling through Georgia and Louisiana and I welcome the opportunity to do community-based screenings in mid-sized towns. The first screening in Suwanee, Georgia was such a great event that I can only hope the next five will sustain the momentum. My host, Toni Shrewsbury (Department of Economic and Community Development in Suwanee) and Alex Edge (Downtown and Business Development Manager) met me for dinner before the screening. Our conversation was primarily focused on the film as they had so many questions about the issues it raised. I was amazed at all of the details they had retained from the film and joked that they must have watched it only the day before (which wasn't the case)…

The screening was held at a place called the Movie Tavern. Someone had the brilliant idea to repurpose a former Publix supermarket and turn it into a beautifully designed multi-screen movie theater. Perfect Strangers screened in optimal conditions (food ordered at your comfortable seat and impeccable projection) to an audience of about 40 people who almost filled the intimate theater space. Following the film, Alex led with a few questions to get the ball rolling, but the baton quickly passed to the audience. They were curious about how Ellie (the film’s main subject) and I connected, what were her motivations, how she feels about what she did several years out, etc. About midway through the robust discussion, my host Toni asked if anyone in the audience had a personal relationship to the subject matter. It was a daring question and I appreciated her asking it. Sure enough, several individuals shared their stories including one woman who received her brother’s kidney 26 years ago and is doing great … and a second woman (whose husband had already asked several questions) who is on dialysis and has been on the wait list for a kidney for three years. There was a nice balance of questions between those focused on the issues raised by Perfect Strangers and those focused on the filmmaking choices. We cut off the conversation after 45 minutes of discussion when the theater personnel came in and asked us to vacate for the next screening. Ever onward to Madison, Georgia…..