Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Danielle Beverly from Old South visits East Tennessee State University

From Filmmaker Danielle Beverly of Old South

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN was the 4th stop for Old South on the #SouthernCircuit. I was greeted by the nicest Budget car rental agent ever and mountains in the distance. I made my way to the posh Carnegie Hotel conveniently located right across the street from the campus.

My screening was not until the next evening, which gave time to have a great dinner. I chose Café Lola where server Jamie could not have been more lovely. Southern hospitality, stories about family, and what’s important in life, were shared. He greeted all guests with the same warmth. The food was super delicious.

The next day I was able to do two class visits where I found out that ETSU has a bluegrass studies program! I spoke to a large writing class, and also watched student work, providing one on one feedback. Engaging with students is one of the best things about the #SouthernCircuit.

ETSU went all out for the screening. They created amazing giveaways – packets of seeds to promote “Plant Seeds of Understanding”. Also “Hope”, “Kindness” and “Friendship”. I grabbed a few to give to Karen, the gardener in “Old South,” and my mom, who I would be seeing at The Atlanta Film Festival screening later that week.

A special shout out to the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts faculty here, who all worked to promote the event, and make it incredibly well attended.

A highly diverse audience came and dialogued – community elders, students, fraternity members, faculty, and a variety of people and organizations from the town including Umoja. As often happens, two different people teared up as they shared with me their impressions one on one, in the reception afterwards. Old South opens up memories for audience members, and an eagerness to take steps forward.


One great moment was when a terrific young man from Sigma Ep came forward to ask about the film, and what he and his fraternity could do to engage in significant community service in the off campus neighborhood where they live. I encouraged him to talk with the community, ask their needs, and truly listen. I look forward to what emerges.