Sunday, September 14, 2014

Laurel Spellman Smith, Oil & Water - Madison & Hapeville, GA

The latest update from filmmaker Laurel Spellman Smith, touring her film Oil & Water on the Southern Circuit:

Students of Madison High School
Yesterday was the first stop on my tour in Madison, Georgia, a ridiculously adorable small town an hour drive from Atlanta where teacher Steve DeLaigle welcomed me to his Film Appreciation class. (How cool is that for a high school class??) He normally starts the school year with horror films, but he made an exception by showing Oil & Water. (I guess it could be considered an environmental horror film). After screening the film, the students were a bit shy at first but warmed-up to an interesting discussion that focused on the filmmaking challenges of our 8-year-long story.

More students of Madison High School

Bonar Hall (Alex & Betty's home)
In Madison I was invited to stay at the meticulously restored 1830's home of Betsy Wagenhauser and Alex Newton – they are supporters of the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center and they graciously offered their guest room to me and my husband/navigator extraordinaire. Their home is like a living museum of Southern architecture mixed with a an amazing collection of art and artifacts they gathered while living all around the world for three decades. You could not ask for more stimulating hosts or environment. We sat on wicker rocking chairs on the grand porch, sipping drinks and hearing about the history of the house, the town and Alex’s work with USAID – I felt like I was on the set of a movie.  So it was a very fun and productive day (ate BBQ, walked around the artsy town decorated with lots of Oil & Water posters!) before the real screening even started at the Madison-Morgan Cultural center that night. Rebecca Bonas arranged a fantastic screening for our Georgia premiere.  Gorgeous auditorium. Great audience. Lovely reception. So grateful!

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
We could have spent many more days or a lifetime in Madison but we had to move on to our next destination, Hapeville GA.  I had another great high school visit organized by teacher Leslie Gordon at Hapeville Charter Career Academy. Students with interests in Latin America and filmmaking had already seen clips from the film so we engaged in a spirited discussion – I gotta tell you those kids kept me on my toes with fabulously thoughtful questions and deep curiosity about life in the Ecuadorian jungle. Looking forward to tonight's screening at the Christ Church & Carriage House in the center of Hapeville and meeting Mayor Alan Hallman and South Arts Senior Program Director irector Teresa Hollingsworth!