Thursday, October 16, 2014

On the Road with 'Mona Lisa is Missing'

From Joe Medeiros (Writer/Director) & Justine Mestichelli Medeiros (Producer) 
of Mona Lisa is Missing.

As filmmakers, being selected for a festival as prestigious as South Arts' Southern Circuit was an honor. We are truly grateful that the selection committee appreciated our film's appeal to its audience. We have traveled with our film to numerous festivals, and we are so impressed with the professionalism, organization and respectful treatment of filmmaker needs that Teresa Hollingsworth and her team at South Arts provided for us.     

We started our travels in Augusta, Georgia at the Morris Museum of Art. Michelle Schulte, Curator of Education and Kevin Grogan, Executive Director and Chief Curator were most accommodating and gracious hosts. And we found the Morris Museum itself to be quite a treat with an impressive collection of local Southern art.  We also learned something new -- that telegraph inventor Samuel B. Morse was a portrait painter of some admirable talent.  Our screening was very well attended. The applause was plentiful and the Q&A lively.  

Onto Clemson University where Professor Amy Monaghan treated us to dinner and introduced us to faculty and local  filmmakers. We had a very respectable turnout of students (on a school night). They really appreciated the humor and animation that infuse our film and gives lives life to our extensive research and Peruggia's life story. Their questions were thoughtful.

Over 200 students and local residents turned out for the morning presentation of Mona Lisa is Missing at Wallace State Community College's Evelyn Burrows Center for the Fine and Performing Arts in Hanceville, Alabama. Our evening screening drew another 50 enthusiastic viewers. Kristen Holmes, Communications and Marketing Director, and her team were full of Southern Hospitality.  The audience was appreciative of the Peruggia family's genuine acceptance of the truth about Vincenzo's motivation for taking the Mona  Lisa.

Our final destination was the Winder Cultural Arts Center in Winder, Georgia. Don Wildsmith,  Director of  Cultural Events and Christopher Childs, Station Manager of  Winder Television, created an audience-friendly environment where the Q&A prompted the comment,  "I came to this documentary screening with some trepidation because docs can be dense with information but yours was so entertaining while being thoroughly informative."

All in all, the Southern Circuit was one of the greatest experiences we've had showing our film. It was fitting that our tour took place during Major League baseball playoffs because with our screenings at the Morris Museum, Clemson University, Wallace State, and in Winder, we not only batted 4-for-4, but each hit was a home run.

Thank you all and best of luck in the future. Your festival, your audiences, and your people behind the scenes are truly the best.