Tag Archives: art

On Tour: Waynesboro, VA

13 Sep

September 7, 2017 | DEEJ | Waynesboro, VA

Not all school systems and not all school administrators, go the second (and third, and fourth) miles to make sure that every child has access to language and to communication. But if energy and enthusiasm is an indication of potential progress, there’s certainly hope!

Thursday, September 7 was the inaugural event in my whirlwind, nine-destination MAAF tour with our film Deej, a film profiling DJ Savarese, a nonspeaking autistic and advocate for himself and others; and it was a terrific way to begin.  Waynesboro, Virginia, is a venerable old town with roots reaching back into the early days of America.  Downtown is undergoing a renaissance, and the Wayne Theater, a real gem dating back to 1926, is the centerpiece of Main Street.

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The local community and the theater’s staff was warm and welcoming, beginning with Tracy Straight, director – and including a wonderful pre-screening dinner at the Green Leaf Grill, just down the street.

What made this screening of Deej especially gratifying was the robust attendance, helped no doubt by the co-sponsorship TASH Virginia, the state affiliate of the national disability awareness organization by the same name.  TASH VA, and local teachers Taylor Flavin and Kristen Brooks, helped the Wayne Theater in assembling a panel of engaging people, who answered questions from a very invested audience.  To start, there was Charlie Taylor, a very young man, nonspeaking, who participated in the discussion with the help of his mother, Patricia.  His first comment, via letter board: “DJ is my hero”.

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And that was just the beginning.  Dr. Leslie Daniel, Associate Professor of Education and Human Development at Radford University and Vikram Jaswal, Associate Professor in the University of Virginia Department of Psychology, joined in as well.  And, Professor Jaswal brought with him two students from UVA, Jaclyn Lund and Hazel Lindahl, who were participants in an eye-opening university seminar in which they engaged on an ongoing basis with 10 college-aged nonspeaking autistic people from northern Virginia who call themselves “The Tribe”.  So many questions, so many insightful answers, so little time!

It was clear that there were both audience members and panelists who looked upon DJ’s experiences of inclusion, especially in middle school and high school, with envy.  Not all school systems and not all school administrators, go the second (and third, and fourth) miles to make sure that every child has access to language and to communication. But if energy and enthusiasm is an indication of potential progress, there’s certainly hope!

Post by On Screen/In Person filmmaker, Robert Rooy

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On Tour: Blue Bell, PA

24 Oct

October 18, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Blue Bell, PA

“You Belong To Me was screened to a diverse audience who not only asked great questions but brought up stories of prejudice – both subtle and not so subtle – of their own lives.”

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I would be scheduled to screen You Belong To Me at Montgomery Count Community College on the same day that former President, Bill Clinton made an appearance! What a great opportunity for students!
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It is a beautiful campus with first rate facilities and Director of Cultural Affairs, Brent Woods, met me in the green room where we were joined by Dr. Tim Connolly, Associate Professor, for a very thoughtfully provided lunch. The three of us had a discussion about race and politics – two subjects most people shy away from!
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You Belong To Me was screened to a diverse audience who not only asked great questions but brought up stories of prejudice – both subtle and not so subtle – of their own lives.
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It is rewarding to hear people compliment the documentary, but even more exciting to know that Dr. Connolly intends to get a copy of the documentary for the College’s library. I mentioned to him that we have a companion workbook written by Dr. Ruth Thompson-Miller who is an interviewee in the documentary.

What a great experience!

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Wilmington, DE

17 Oct

September 28, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Wilmington, DE

Wrapping up our tour, I arrived in Wilmington Delaware, where we screened Sweet Dreams at the restored Queen Theater – a community arts venue supported by the Light Up the Queen Foundation. After the screening, audience members were invited to gather around café tables for pizza, salad and informal discussion.

Though we have been fortunate that Sweet Dreams has had both a robust festival life as well as a theatrical and semi theatrical roll-out, the On Screen/In Person series brought the film to parts of the country and types of audiences that we had not yet reached. Many thanks to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for hosting this remarkable series and  choosing us to be part of it!

Post submitted by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman

On Tour: Reading, PA

17 Oct

September 27, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Reading, PA

At my next stop in Reading PA, Cathleen Stephen, Director of The Miller Center and Outreach Coordinator Natalie Baab chose to organize an extra outreach screening at Women in Crisis – a safe haven for women facing abuse and violence. The center provided an art activity for the children so the women had the rare chance of a couple of hours just for themselves. And it was very gratifying for me to see how the film affected them and how we were able to talk afterwards about the ways it inspired them to think about how they could change things in their own lives. They were also particularly touched by the special effort that was made to bring the film to them. The cap on the evening was ice cream for all – provided by Cathleen and Natalie.

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The next evening was our primary screening at the beautiful Miller Center and since this was both their 10th anniversary and the first year they have hosted the On Screen In Person series, we were featured prominently in their beautiful calendar. A reception preceded the film, hosted by a local woman owned business called Mi Casa Su Casa, and an ice cream bike cart (Sweet Rides) provided dessert. The event was co- sponsored by Women 2 Women and again we had a large and diverse audience including RACC Students and faculty, members of the Olivets Boys and Girls Drumming Club and the general public.

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Afterwards I was joined onstage by Johanny Cepeda proprietor of Mi Casa Su Casa and Dr. Danielle Bower, Assoc. Professor of Social Work at RACC. who talked about the ways the film affected them and connected to their own lives and work.

Post submitted by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman

On Tour: West Long Branch, NJ

17 Oct

September 22, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | West Long Branch, NJ

“It added a special layer to have Eugenie there in person to answer questions about her own experience both in Rwanda and in the US.”

At Monmouth University, Vaune Peck, director of Center for the Arts put a lot of effort into drawing a large and diverse audience for the film and also invited Rwandan genocide survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana to join me in the Q&A afterwards.  Eugenie was a young adult who gave birth to her first child while in hiding during the genocide. When she emigrated to the US in 2001 to pursue a degree in social work she was surprised how little most people knew of the Rwanda genocide. In 2010 she founded the Genocide Survivors Support Network (GSSN) to provide support for other survivors living in the US and to educate communities about the genocide.

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The audience was moved and inspired by the film and had many questions afterwards. It added a special layer to have Eugenie there in person to answer questions about her own experience both in Rwanda and in the US. Eugenie had seen Sweet Dreams when it first showed at the United Nations – but drove all the way from Baltimore to be part of this screening and conversation.

Post submitted by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman

On Tour: Germantown, MD

24 Nov

November 22, 2015 | Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos | Germantown, MD

The big finale for the On Screen In Person program was the high point for me. Not because of anything the other great sites didn’t do, but because this was the closest screening to home. Lots of friends came, but more importantly, Miriam and her son Bill came!

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Bill has been so dedicated to the project over the nearly five years since we started working on it. He helped find the support for the film as we cobbled it together, connected me with great interview subjects, made Miriam’s work and archives available, and generally was a great partner as the documentary went through its ups and downs, as every independent film does.

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Krista Bradley and the rest of the BlackRock team did such a nice job setting up the screening and being gracious hosts for us. Because they were so close, Anne Burton, BlackRock’s Gallery Director, came to Bill’s house to take up some of Miriam’s artwork to display in the screening room, including the painting that appears in the title sequence.

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Miriam was a trooper to show up, as she just turned 92 earlier in November. Because of her age, it was hard for her to hear all the questions, but she answered everything as best as she could until she ended it all by telling everyone that she was ready to go home. Miriam never holds back!

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I’m honored to have been a part of this year’s On Screen In Person program. To travel across seven states over a few weeks has been a whirlwind. The miles I’ve covered are equivalent to driving from Washington, DC to Steamboat Springs, Colorado! But it’s given me lots of quality time to reflect on my good fortune in being a storyteller that has a great story to tell. So thanks to everyone for making this a trip to remember!

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jonathan Gruber.

On Tour: Lewisburg, WV

24 Nov

November 19, 2015 | Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos |Lewisburg, WV

The drive from Newport News, VA to Lewisburg, WV is quite long, so I decide to make a pit stop about halfway in Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia. It’s a lovely town, and the weather is very warm for mid-November. The hotel has a bike to tool around town and I’m most happy when I’m on two wheels. I’m about to tuck into the hotel but the road ahead looks inviting with its gentle uphill swoop. So I pedal around and see a historic sign in front of a stately house—Georgia O’Keeffe lived here. What a wonderful coincidence to see where such an esteemed female artist lived who was just a few decades older than Miriam. In fact, she and Miriam are shown in the film as one of only three female artists in 1971 to have their own solo shows in the U.S. (Nancy Graves is the other). So that’s a nice little moment.11.19.15 photo

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The drive over the Blue Ridge Mountains is spectacular. Low clouds hover on the mountain flanks with the peaks popping through. At the end of the day, they are hulking silhouettes festooned with wispy pink clouds. I have to run across the highway to get a shot.

It also seems that the day will never end. I’m traveling toward the sun but not that fast. And the light seems to just hang around. Just when I think it’s dark I turn west again and there is still a glow in the sky. Such a cool and wondrous phenomenon.

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Lewisburg is a funky town, and I’m playing at Carnegie Hall. It’s one of four in the world, and was originally built in 1902 as the Lewisburg Female Institute, and later the Greenbrier College for Women.

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Lynn Creamer is a wonderful host and I have a chance to speak to the crowd before the screening at a reception in the back of the theater. At the Q & A, everyone is in love with Miriam and her work. On Sunday is the big finale of the trip and I am very excited to wrap it up in Maryland, where lots of local friends—and hopefully Miriam—will be there

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jonathan Gruber.

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