On Tour: Blue Bell, PA

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November 8, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Blue Bell, PA

I felt immediately transported, as an orchestra was playing music of transcendental beauty and magnificence! And that was just the beginning…

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It was Tuesday, Nov 8th 2016 – election day. I woke up in a hotel bed in Bloomsburg, PA, bundled up like an Inuit from Northern Canada. It’s 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the heater in my hotel room wasn’t working – so I was freezing!

Still, I pushed myself to do my morning meditation even if all I could be mindful about was my shivering body. It didn’t take long until I jumped out of my sitting posture to go chase a warm breakfast at the hotel, while envisioning that perfect day with an inspired audience for my Love Thy Nature screening event and a historic night in which the first female would be elected president of the United States – and finally shatter the hardest of all glass ceilings into millions of pieces.

My drive to East Norriton was lovely. The weather turned out to be beautiful, the air was crisp and trees were lined up along the road with their autumn leaves punctuating the landscape with colors.

When I got to Montgomery County Community College (MC3), the Senior Director of Cultural Affairs, Brent Woods, offered me a warm welcome and a tour of their arts building, including the large room where the film was to be projected. When I entered that auditorium, I felt immediately transported, as an orchestra was playing music of transcendental beauty and magnificence! And that was just the beginning…

Brent introduced me to Senior Producer Matt Porter. By the way, both men are delightful beings in their professionalism, kindness, and expressions of joy. Matt continued to show me around. We went to visit rooms with state of the arts camera, video and editing equipment for students to use for their media projects. The college also had sculptures from local artists on display on their walls. I was really impressed with MC3’s facilities, both for their abundance of resources for students and their commitment to promoting the arts in all its forms – including film!

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The Love Thy Nature screening went really well, the setting was intimate, and audience members were engaged in the Q&A with questions as varied as favorite scenes to shoot to the healing power of nature. At the end, a viewer shared her anxiety over the presidential election and said she planned to watch the results in the company of a bottle of wine. I didn’t feel as concerned as she was at that moment. But at early morning hours when the results of the election were clear – forget the glass ceiling – my whole world felt like it broke down into millions of pieces, and turned into ice. Hate trumped love. Can this be real?

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Sylvie Rokab

On Tour: Bloomsburg, PA

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November 7, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Bloomsburg, PA

All we need to do is keep the vision of a future in which we work in the way our common mother (Mother Nature) intended us…

I started my Bloomsburg screening experience on the wrong foot. I arrived late! For a perfectionist like me – I was raised by a Jewish mother, a Catholic father and went to a strict and rigid French school (my middle name is Guilt), even 5 mins late to a tech test for the film can cause me nausea. Literally! Or could it be that being the eve of the most important election of a lifetime is what’s turning me inside out?

We were still setting the volume for the film when the audience started pouring in – see, they were on time!! – I figured I’d discreetly do some breathing exercises on the corner so no one will say the filmmaker looked nauseated right at her intro. That would look bad for a “Hollywood” gal like me. I broke my own record and had the shortest intro ever, but at least I escaped throwing up in front of 50 people.

Being also obsessive compulsive, I watched the first half of my own film so I can see it for the 893rd time – just in case I might forget the end of that one line I might want to share (again) with the audience. Then I went off to do one of my favorite things – shoot! (the “loving” way of course!).  Ahhhh…. The night is young and beauty is all around. The building itself is impressive and historic.   Flowers were striking poses on the walkway, and as if on cue, this cute couple walks right when I snap a pic.

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So, now that I got my nature fix, I walk back in the auditorium right on time for Q&A, pumped myself up with woo-woo self esteem “inner talk” (that stuff works!) and yes, the nausea is gone. And after a warm applause (ohhhh, that’s beyond therapy – it’s more like opium!) I ask the audience “questions…?  Comments…? Complaints…? Funny how that goes, with “complaints?” I got arms spring up like a magic box. Really???

Some questions I get repeatedly at many screenings, like “how many countries did you film at,” or did you really get in the same room as Liam Neeson?” but the discussions that got us all entranced (or at least I was!) were about biomimicry and the dawning of a technological, social, economic, and yes, even political revolution – all inspired by nature!

We explored what would our world would look like if we were to be willing to learn from our “elders” – the species that came before us – and applied their genius, “technologies” and collaborative methods to our own technologies, designs, and systems.

While the rigid French nanny was sitting on my shoulder – saying “don’t you dare talk politics” – I thought… c’mon… it is THE night before the most important election of a lifetime – no, not mine, the lifetime of this country!

I negotiated with her – hey, there is no need to talk who, what, which party affiliation, none of that stuff. All we need to do is keep the vision of a future in which we work in the way our common mother (Mother Nature) intended us to – in connection and collaboration with each other, fulfilling the highest potential of our species (one of extraordinary wisdom, intelligence, self reflection, passion, and compassion) and ensuring that we too – like all other living beings – make sure to protect the future of our young and their off springs.

Forget politics. It’s about life, love, wonder.

Now, have you voted yet??

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker, Sylvie Rokab

 

On Tour: Reading, PA

7 Nov fall-leaves-ducks

November 4, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Reading, PA

“She shared that she misses having time to play at school – her school administrators eliminated recess – and asked us how she can convince them to bring it back.”

My OSIP journey started with flying from Miami (where I was visiting my 81 year-old mother) to Philly and then driving to Reading, PA. With my brain still on overdrive from the myriad of travel details – airports, shuttles, GPS directions, etc. – I was instantly lured by the multitude of fall colors that bathed the landscape on my trip to the hotel. I said to myself, “Girl, keep your eyes on the road! Fall colors will be here tomorrow.”

And sure enough, the next day after doing the “tech test” at Miller Center for the Arts and before the screening, I had time to kill, so I went exploring the land and discovered a gloriously-fall-colored hiking path alongside Schuylkill river – home to squirrels and playful geese taking their last dips of the day. Ahhh, I started feeling right at home.

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Back at Miller Center, the host, Cathleen Stephen, came to find me during the pre-screening reception for a warm welcome. “Love Thy Nature” screened beautifully thanks to Brett Buckwalter (production manager) and great projection equipment. Audience members and panelists offered delightful feedback on the film, alluding to its cinematic beauty and timely themes. Credit goes to so many talented and generous people; it took a “village” to make this film!

Cathy had a great choice of panelists for the post screening discussion: Sean Gaston, a high school film teacher, who talked about documentaries as a powerful awareness/building tool, and Sudha Allitt, an ashram leader, who discussed mindfulness in nature as a way to promote joy, well being, and play.

After the panel discussion, eleven-year-old Lili was the first audience member to raise her hand. She shared that she misses having time to play at school – her school administrators eliminated recess – and asked us how she can convince them to bring it back.  Wow!  How can schools take play away from childhood?

While we encouraged Lili to mobilize with her peers and turn discontent into action, we also discussed the deeper underlying issue: how our educational system today is locking children into a standardized system, killing their creativity, play, and joy. It’s no wonder that the TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson, who makes the case for an educational system that unleashes kids’ creativity, is the most watched TED ever with nearly 42 million views!

Another audience member brought up the need for schools to integrate nature in their curriculum by teaching natural sciences where they belong (in nature), planting edible schoolyards to replace junk food lunch with organic meals, and encouraging more play outdoors.

We closed the evening with an invitation to all audience members (adults and children) to schedule time in nature and allow themselves to experience peace, wonder and awe— emotions that only the natural world can so masterfully evoke.

As John Muir said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings… nature’s peace will flow into you, while cares will fall like autumn leaves.”

Wishing you nature, Sylvie.

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker, Sylvie Rokab

On Tour: Brookville, NY

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October 27, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Brookville, NY

The driving rain couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the screening of You Belong To Me at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at Long Island University on October 27, 2016.
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Susan Dunbar and the staff at Tilles entertained numerous professors from the University as well as a class of students to view the documentary.

A lively question and answer session followed the screening.

The screening was the final stop on the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation tour of 10 cities.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Bloomsburg, PA

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October 26, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Bloomsburg, PA

Bloomsburg University is an extremely picturesque campus! You Belong To Me screened on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016.
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The documentary was warmly received with a question and answer session afterwards.

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A special thank you goes to Abbie Manns and Nancy Chiado for their assistance and consideration.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Reading, PA

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October 25, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Reading, PA

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Reading Area Community College opened it’s doors and hearts to me and You Belong To Me on October 25th, 2016.
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A very large and diverse crowd watched and were exposed to the story of Ruby Mccollum and then participated for about an hour in a serious discussion about race and current events.
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Our panel consisted of RACC History Professor Emeritis, Jack Lawlor, Reverend Frank McCracken, teacher and community activist, Linda McCormick, and myself, and was moderated by Cathleen Stephen, Director of the beautiful Miller Center for the Arts at RACC.

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The audience asked questions of all four of us about not only the film and it’s social significance, but our future as a country. There were many young students as well as middle-aged and elderly people in attendance.

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The take away was that more conversation needs to be had between races about race and that we must all vote!

I left RACC feeling great hope for Reading!

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Germantown, MD

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October 23, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Germantown, MD

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You Belong To Me screened at the BlackRock Center for the Arts on October 23, 2016. The Center is in a darling planned community with numerous stores, homes and cultural opportunities.

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I was happy to see the beautiful facility and people waiting on line to get into the theater. I met Dennis McKinney before the screening and we went over the format for the question/answer session which usually takes on a life of its own.


The film was well received and there were many and great questions. The audience was made up of Caucasian and African Americans about equally. The reception was very gratifying to me as a producer.

Post by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

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