September 29th, 2013 | Shored Up | Germantown, MD
The 6th and final stop on my OSIP tour was at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland. My first impression upon pulling into Germantown was that it seemed as though someone took a mall and turned it inside out and it turns out Germantown is essentially an intentional community in the mold of the New Urbanism movement. In other words, the idea of taking a mall, turning it outwards and making it the center of a walkable, downtown village was the general idea afterall.
And right at the center of this purposeful community is the BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12 years old and the physical locus of town. Now that’s planning. Krista Bradley, the Center’s ED, was waiting for me in the lobby when I arrived. OSIP is the first film screening series they’ve done at the Center and Krista she was excited to show me their setup. Seating was informal, 15 or 20 round top tables with 4 chairs at each and a buffet of snacks and drinks in the back. They’re working on their liquor license…
Like at almost every screening our blood pressure started going up at 3:45 when nobody had arrived except the three of us on the panel, but by 4:00 all the seats were taken and we were ready to go. This might have been the first screening I’ve been to where literally every last person not only stayed for the Q&A but also stayed for the entire discussion. Zoe Johnson from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources did a great job bridging the local connections to the film and explaining how a state that isn’t in denial about climate change can make significant policy strides towards adapting its infrastructure and communities for the long term. It is so refreshing to see that there is such a thing still as leadership on the political level and that science is taken seriously. As I said at the end of the Q&A, when people ask me at screenings for an example of a community or state that’s doing the right things to deal with these issues, now I have an answer.
It seems like there must be something left in my itinerary but I’ve gotten to the end of my packet and apparently my tour is done. I have lots of screenings lined up with the film and a national broadcast on DirecTV on October 24th (YAY!), but these were six varied, surprising and ultimately fun stops on the journey this film has taken me on. Many thanks to the folks at every point along the way for making this such a great experience.
Post by OSIP Touring Filmmaker, Ben Kalina