Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Danielle Beverly from Old South visits Auburn University

From filmmaker Danielle Beverly:

Auburn, AL was my second stop with Old South on The Southern Circuit. I nearly didn't make the screening on time when I discovered I'd reserved a car at the Columbia SC airport, and not the Columbus GA airport. Doh!

"I'm sorry Ma'am we don't have any cars. Completely sold out," was the response I got from each of the apologetic rental agencies. Some quick producing got me into a cab and across the state line to the Jule Collins Museum of Fine Art on the campus of Auburn University

I was met by "Super Docent" Virginia Transue. She was working an afternoon chamber music event in the atrium, a series she is deeply involved with there. Virginia was to be my host and liaison. She and I hit off immediately. As the concert was ending I did my tech check in the theatre, and then Virginia drove us the mile to her home to have  a lovely egg salad sandwich lunch before the screening.

We talked about music, politics, Southern identities, and super computers. She shared the press clipping she'd saved, promoting Old South. We did some bird-watching - an energetic woodpecker was the highlight. She told me about her departed husband Bill, who was clearly the love of her life for over 45 years - a mathematician from French ancestry, who fell in love with the plucky young Virginia, from rural Louisiana.

As we got ready to drive back to the museum the sky had darkened. Thankfully, a torrential late afternoon rain still did not keep the audience away. Students arrived soaking wet, but ready to watch the film.

Afterwards a great Q&A with questions about fraternities and the eerie timeliness of Old South's release, why and how I made the film, and a reflection from a man who'd lived in Athens, GA and knew the neighborhood in the film. (Each screening seems to have at least one former Athens resident).

The conversation continued in the museum's cafe as a jazz band played in the atrium. Virginia's offered this sage observation on life in the South, "Alabama is frustrating often, discouraging often, but it is never boring".

As we drove home, Virginia's eagle eye spotted a coyote loping across the road. We stopped the car and watched it as it watched us. Then it turned and disappeared into the woods. A beautiful way to end the night.