The second stop of the “Money Matters” On Screen/In Person tour is Allentown PA. A two plane trip from Erie PA, one of which was literally 15 minutes, and no they don’t offer water on such a flight. The day is going smoothly until I get a call from the venue contact. She is super sweet but I can tell she is hesitant. She tells me that they reached out to two different teachers for them to bring their students to the screening. Both of them declined due to the graphic language of the film. Man, these small towns are tough. She was very apologetic. I’m thinking ‘I bet the venue is going to be amazing again’. And I was right.
We screened at the Symphony Hall in downtown Allentown. A refurbished space that looked great with three levels of seating. I was shocked to be screening in such a space and I also understood why it would have been a task for them to get to the target audience of the film. This type of film seems like if it would be left field for their typical patrons.
At this point I’m expecting the same response I got in Erie but it wasn’t. Just about all that came stayed for the talk back. Even the ushers, who I was told never stay for the films.
The viewers were angry that the screening was not well attended. One gentleman who spoke almost came to tears because he worked with an entire community that would love and appreciate this film. He ran a veterans treatment facility a block away.
He said to me several times “I am inspired by your film”. A lot of times I take what people say as politeness. Who is going to trash your work to your face? Now I’m not wishing that to happen, I’m just saying. He went as far as inviting me to screen at his organization the next day. So I did.
The following day I had an impromptu screening at Veterans Sanctuary. It was a packed house. They were really engaged and made observations I hadn’t discussed in while. What I thought was interesting with this session was that there were maybe 10 women in this group of about 80. But it was mostly the men who asked questions. Hmmm I wonder why.
The visit to Allentown turned out to be great. Thank you to Robin and Robert for sharing “Money Matters,” with your communities. Next stop: New Brunswick, Rutgers University.
Walking around downtown there are random signs that say ‘guns’. It may be time to leave Allentown.
Post and photos by Ryan Richmond, OSIP touring filmmaker.