On Tour: Wilmington, DE

23 Feb

February 11, 2015  | REBELS WITH A CAUSE | Wilmington, DE

Screening 1: 88° day, 86° night
Screening 2: 43° day (feels like 33°), 20° night
Screening 3: 48° day, 30° night
Screening 4: 43° day, 25° night
Screening 5: 43° day, 20° night

Wilmington, DE. Rebel Congressman Clem Miller’s birthplace. He’s the primary mover behind creating the Point Reyes National Seashore in the 1960s. Wilmington’s belching smoke stacks even have a cameo in Rebels with a Cause. The city’s industrial heyday has, of course, passed, leaving behind a lovely walk able downtown with buildings ranging from colonial to modern. After driving many miles from one screening to another, I happily parked my car at my hotel and walked everywhere for two days.

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Tina Betz, Executive Director of the Light Up the Queen Foundation, is an energetic, warm, magnetic, attentive person. The Queen Theater, built in 1915, is one of those classic gigantic places—2,000 seats! It closed without notice one day in 1959 and sat unused, rotting, until it either needed to be demolished or restored.  Tina worked for the city during the campaign that brought it back to life. It has a café, a large theater where music and theater performances take place, and a community room where Rebels showed.

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Tina Betz and Nancy Kelly

Tina vividly introduced the evening by saying, “The tour is called On Screen/In Person.” She pointed behind her, “Here’s the screen, and the ‘in person’ part is that we have the filmmaker here.” She had taken the time to read a bit of our brand new Rebels with a Cause Viewers Guide, and she quoted it. “Rebels with a Cause is about land, but it is even more about the people who saved it. Getting to know the ‘rebels’ who helped preserve those lands was an honor for Kenji and me. In a time when few challenged the mantra that ‘growth is good,’ these rebels dared envision a different world, one where vast parks and open spaces were preserved near where people lived, not just in remote areas hundreds of miles away.”

2-11_TB Intro_Credit Damon Betz

Photo credit: Damon Betz

We had 4 local rebels (count ’em, 4!) Stephanie Herron, volunteer and outreach coordinator, Sierra Club, Delaware Chapter. Matt Urban, Sierra Club Delaware Executive Committee member; Jason Hoover, Save the Valley; Jeffrey Richardson, Imani Energy Project.

After the lights came up, Tina’s questions brought out the panelists’ best— Stephanie told us how Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of compromise, of avoiding winners and losers, inspires her in her work; Jason quoted Margaret Mead on how to change the world; Jeffrey said he considers his work to be community organizing and said Cesar Chavez inspired that work. When someone in the audience asked about apathy, Matt described what he had learned—you don’t wait for people to come to you, you go out to people, some are interested, some aren’t, but you just keep doing it.

2-11_Crowd_Credit Damon Betz

Photo credit: Damon Betz

2-11_Crowd 2_Credit Damon Betz

Photo credit: Damon Betz

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Listening to them, I thought about what a great example this screening was of how storytelling helps people see. There we were in an art center, the audience, four environmentalists, the director of an arts organization, and a filmmaker. After watching Rebels, they talked passionately about citizen action and the parallels between their experience and what they’d just seen in the film.

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Nancy Kelly.
To listen to a podcast interview with the filmmaker, click here.

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