On Tour: Bloomsburg, PA

2 May

April 3, 2017 | States of Grace | Bloomsburg, PA


In all my years of filmmaking I’ve never toured like this with a film so I’ve been really looking forward to it, though the amount of driving is a bit daunting.  The flight from San Francisco to Newark is mercifully uneventful, except for being delayed an hour and a half by some of the crew not showing up.  On my way to Bloomsburg the next morning, I stop for a walk through the Great Swamp National Refuge.  Spring has been in full force in the Bay Area since February, but is just starting to poke through here.


The screening takes place in Gross Auditorium in Carver Hall, a beautiful theater that has terrific projection and sound.  The audience is small but I’m sitting behind a woman whose head nods often in response to the film which makes me very curious to know more about her.  Turns out that Brenda saw an article about the screening that mentioned Laguna Honda Hospital where Grace worked as a physician both before and after her accident on the Golden Gate Bridge.  And Laguna Honda is near and dear to her heart, having read “God’s Hotel,” a terrific book by Dr. Victoria Sweet who was a physician there for twenty  years and is a colleague of Grace’s.


The hospital started as an alms house for the poor 150 years ago, serving San Francisco’s neediest people, and morphed into a hospital as it expanded to serve their medical needs. The book explores the concept of “slow medicine” which has been Laguna Honda’s approach until relatively recently.  It views the body as “a garden to be tended rather than a machine to be fixed,” an approach that guided Grace’s creation of the HIV/AIDS clinic there in 1990.  She and her partner, Dr. Daniel Rybold, signed over 1000 death certificates during that period and Grace was honored for her work by the Dalai Lama.


The Q&A focuses a lot on approaches to healing and Brenda even reads a couple of paragraphs from a copy of “God’s Hotel” that she brought with her.  Nancy Pressman, who is involved with local rehab services, also provides information about resources that are available to the community.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person  filmmaker Mark Lipman


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