Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
The Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland is a former high school that at one time was destined to be leveled into a parking lot. Thankfully, it has instead become a thriving community gathering place. As I walked through the halls, peeking into the re-purposed classrooms, I was impressed by rows of dancers doing rigorous exercises, listened to singers practicing opera, and watched youngsters giving piano recitals. I even saw a class of potters at their wheels. In the auditorium, the mayor was defending his budget. And then, my movie BLAST! was playing to an enthusiastic audience!
Posters all over
This crowd included some tech-savvy people who were blown away by what happened on screen. They seemed flabbergasted that the scientists had to subject such incredibly sophisticated instrumentation (How do the the detectors work? How does the telescope point with such precision when dangling beneath a balloon?) to such an inherently risky process (You mean they can’t control where it floats, it’s just moving with the wind? How does the telescope separate from the balloon? What caused the parachute separation to fail?) The lively Q&A evolved into an extended conversation about how BLAST! portrays the humanity of scientist in ways we rarely see elsewhere and the challenges of science education in the United States.
The lively discussion
When I met him that afternoon, Director Thomas Fridrich had explained that this is one of the first times the Maryland Hall has participated in a film series. But as far as I could tell, they were doing a great job so far. BLAST! was printed up on their monthly brochure; I picked up a separate flyer that included an announcement for BLAST! right beneath one for Merle Haggard, who had played there the night before; and out front was a huge banner on the facade of the building promoting the entire On Screen/in Person Film Series. Great start, if you ask me. Look for good things from Annapolis as the Maryland Hall develops its independent film audience.
Reaching the community
My wife Emily had to teach in New York, so we planned to meet up the following day in Washington DC. Instead she surprised me and showed up in the middle of the Q&A! Very happy she did, because Annapolis is a cute, historical town and she is going to enjoy exploring it.
At the docks
Back on the Tour together!
Post by Paul Devlin, OSIP touring filmmaker
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