The people I met when TRUST screened in Long Branch touched on almost every thread Kenji and I wove into the film.
The afternoon before the screening, Monmouth University Associate Professor Donna Dolphin and I met with Cecilia Reynolds, publisher and editor-in-chief of Nosotros, a monthly newspaper serving Latinos in the NJ/NY area. Cecelia’s office is in the Center for Immigrant Services on Main Street in working class Asbury Park (Bruce Springsteen’s stomping grounds). As Cecilia interviewed me about TRUST, the hallway outside her office was busy with kids coming to do art projects and mothers needing medical attention for their sick children. Cecilia responded to Marlin’s story – lots of women in her community can relate to the abuse Marlin suffered and Cecilia knows how important portrayals of the very Americanized teenage immigrants and teenage children of immigrants are in raising awareness about the importance of passing the Dream Act. Cecilia is going to screen TRUST, which is subtitled in Spanish, at the Center. Donna, who is an advisor to the student TV station, is going to get some students to produce stories about the Center and also help Cecilia find interns.
When TRUST screened at Rutgers University last week, Carlos Fernandez, Director of the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, learned I was born in Massachusetts and told me about a project he did in Lawrence Massachusetts, helping the Anglo and Latino arts communities find ways to work together. One of the first things he did was identify whom to contact – so basic, yet so crucial. As Donna and I we left Cecilia’s, I felt like we had just taken a similarly basic, yet crucial first step.
That evening, at the lovely Pollak Theater, TRUST looked rich and colorful on the screen. That theater has a fantastic projection system. The audience was students and professors from theater, screen studies and communications classes, and people from the community. When the lights came up, everyone – everyone! – stayed for the Q&A, something Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication says he has never seen happen in his fifteen years at Monmouth.
The questions were perceptive and unusual – someone asked about the structure of TRUST – which deals with time in a non-chronological way more commonly found in fiction films and is something Kenji and I are very proud of. Someone asked about what it was like to be included in a theater company for all those years. I loved it. Every time I walked up the stairs to their space, I was excited and happy, knowing that the APTP-ians would welcome me with hugs, look me warmly in the eye, and then return to being themselves and doing their intense, life-changing work while we filmed.
Post by Nancy Kelly, On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker