Tag Archives: cinema

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: Brookville, NY

16 Nov

November 10, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Brookville, NY

The gift of a small audience is the rare intimacy that happens between presenter and participants. It often becomes a deeper and more authentic conversation…

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My visit to Long Island University (LIU) was delightful and engaging. Dr. Scott Carlin, Associate Professor of Geography, invited me to a pre-screening reception with sustainability-focused students and faculty. The group is clearly committed and excited to strengthen environmental awareness within the university. Erica and Chris are new students starting a campus sustainability group and have a number of great ideas – from starting an organic farm, educating other students on eco-conscious living, and getting people to enjoy the outdoors. These young people are creating change from the ground up!

Dr. Carlin also shared great news from the top down: LIU’s top executives just decided to launch a university degree on sustainability studies!

The state of the art Tilles Center for the Performing Arts played Love Thy Nature in its full splendor. And while it’s a massive auditorium, only about 20 viewers came to our screening event. So, during Q&A, an audience member asked, “How is it possible that such a beautiful and important film only attracted a few of us?”

Frankly, I too was surprised that we had such a timid turnout at a university in New York. After all, my outreach team for the film sent out blast emails to 17 groups in the area and LIU organizers themselves also did their own outreach. And while it’s impossible to know why we didn’t have more people at the screening last night, I was told there was another event on campus; plus, we can’t ignore that many in our country are still very focused on post-election politics – further ignited by the dramatic images of protests and riots in major cities over Donald Trump having been elected president 3 days ago.

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Whatever the reasons, I learned to never discount the impact Love Thy Nature might have on a small group of people. The gift of a small audience is the rare intimacy that happens between presenter and participants. It often becomes a deeper and more authentic conversation (viewers lose their fear of speaking in small groups) and I’m able to perceive what folks need the most.  I feel deeply honored to do this work, as I get to assist people in turning their despair into inspiration, cynicism into insight, and anger into conscious activism, for a brighter nature-filled-and-connected future.

I’m confident that our screening event might have ignited a fire in that small but engaged LIU group last night. May it have further fueled Erica and Chris’ determination to make a sustainability movement blossom in campus and may it have offered Dr. Carlin and his colleagues more ideas for the new LIU sustainability program. And I trust that other seeds we planted will somehow sprout in beautiful ways even if we might never know how they manifested.
So I’m grateful for the opportunity to have come to New York to connect with such a great group of passionate visionaries. I look forward to crossing paths with them again.

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

On Tour: Brookville, NY

1 Nov

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: Reading, PA

1 Nov

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: 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

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