Walking into the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center
The first stop of the “Money Matters” On Screen/In Person tour is Erie PA. The skies are dreary but the people are nice and polite. Everybody says, “you came while we’re having good weather”. My usual response is “really?” I guess 35 degrees and overcast is much better than the normal 20 degrees and 3ft of snow on the ground this time of year. I am very happy I missed that. LA here I come.
Anywho’, off to the screening at Mercyhurst College, hosted by Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. I have no idea what to expect. Who will be the crowd? How many will attend? What will the response be in this very ‘middle of the road’ small town? The story is pretty opposite of this culture and lifestyle. Will they get it, understand it or walk out? I don’t know.
Well the venue was amazing, surprisingly state of the art all the way around. It is always a good feeling to see your film on the big screen in a great venue. It’s how it should be seen. I have two screenings scheduled for the day. Before the first I’m probing everyone for information. The techs, the coordinators, the students, the help and nobody is giving good answers. “The second should be more then the first” one person says. “The attendance varies” someone else says. You see, no help. All I can do is wait. Oh someone did give me the heads up that the attendees are usually retirees that don’t like to drive after nightfall. WHAT! I’m thinking. This is going to be a trip.
Ok, if you are not familiar with my film, it’s a coming of age story about a young girl growing up on the rough side of Washington DC. Outfitted with the explicit language and perspectives typical of such an environment. Not to mention the same sex relations amongst kids. You see how I excited I’m getting for this talk back?
My new friend, never got her name, who told me about her dogs for like 15 -20 minutes. I have never meet someone who loved dogs so much. This is why Vic. This is why.
Sure enough the average age in the audience was like 65. I was sure most of them would have walked out if they weren’t scared to walk in the dark. But to their credit those that stayed to talk were pretty open-minded. I got a couple backwards compliments but its all good. My favorite was “I didn’t understand what they were saying. I was two or three scenes behind trying to catch up, but I thought it ended beautifully”. The one appreciated the most was “It seemed so real I had to remind myself that it was not a documentary”. I think that was a compliment.
A group of kids at the second screening who dominated the talk back. You could tell they were so happy to see someone on screen that looked like them and they understood.
Now I’m in route to Allentown PA. Lets do this Allentown.
Post & Photos by Ryan Richmond, OSIP Touring Filmmaker