Tag Archives: Germantown

On Tour: Germantown, MD

13 Apr

March 26, 2017 | REAL BOY| Germantown, MD

When I arrived in Germantown, MD, I was welcomed by Krista Bradley, Executive Director, and Jason DeMarchi, Director of Education, at the Black Rock Center for the Arts, a beautiful Arts Center outside Washington DC. The space has three theaters and a wide range of programming that serves the diverse population of Germantown.

The local PFLAG group had adjourned their meeting early to come to the screening and by the time the film started, a sizeable crowd had arrived.

This audience seemed especially moved by the film, as many of them were parents of LGBT youth or were themselves trans or non-binary.

After the screening, I was joined for a Q&A by Sean Lare, a DC-based therapist and gender specialist in private practice, who brought a clinical point of view to our conversation. There were several trans and non-binary teenagers in the audience who asked for advice. One young trans man asked if his body dysphoria would ever go away. My heart went out to them in a big way and I was happy to hear they lived in a community with supportive schools and accepting parents.

I had several great conversations with people after the film, and was grateful to meet a longtime fan of my band, Coyote Grace, who, in his mid-50s, has just begun his transition and was deeply moved by the film and the music.

I left feeling tired, but so grateful to be there.

Post provided by REAL BOY protagonist, Joe Stevens, who joined On Screen/In Person filmmaker Shaleece Haas on tour

On Tour: Germantown, MD

28 Nov

November 20, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Germantown, MD

“Certainly anyone can spend time outside, but joining a group like the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations offers opportunities for community connections, educational activities, and nature play.”

On my ride from West Virginia to Maryland, I couldn’t resist but to drive through one of my favorite U.S. parks – Shenandoah National Forest. I took a little hike up a mountain that got me dodging rocks for a little bouldering experience. How fun!

Germantown was my new On Screen/In Person destination where I was to present Love Thy Nature at BlackRock Center, a vibrant arts organization. Our host, Krista Bradley, planned a pre-screening tour of the beautiful (and very artistic!) new park adjacent to BlackRock, where naturalist Jenn Scully from the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations took a small group of us on a discovery tour of local flora and fauna.

Even though the wind was blowing hard and the air was quite chilly, that didn’t stop our group from having the best of times! I was delighted to get to know Krista and her rich background supporting the arts, as well as Jason, who brings his love of nature (he studied global ecology) to his work as an education program manager at BlackRock. Ultimately, Jenn got us all giggling with natural stories and park discoveries. She pulled out from her bag remains of some local critters— rattle snakes’ skins and the fur of a red fox!

The screening ignited curiosity among audience members who wanted to know the best ways to be active locally and how to get kids involved in nature activities. Many of the questions went to Jenn who offered details on the many ways the community can get involved and join nature-connecting and nature-restoring activities.

I’m always excited to see when a screening of Love Thy Nature provides an opportunity for audience members to connect with their local groups for outdoor fun. Certainly anyone can spend time outside, but joining a group like the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations offers opportunities for community connections, educational activities, and nature play.


Special thanks to Krista, Jason, and Jenn for hosting Love Thy Nature at your beautiful center, sharing your fun and artsy park, and joining forces to inspire Germantown folks to get outdoors!


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

On Tour: Germantown, MD

24 Oct

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


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.

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

On Tour: Germantown, MD

21 Sep

September 18, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Germantown, MD

“People watched the film while sitting at cafe tables cabaret-style, which seemed to add to the intimacy.”

image-1In the leafy outskirts of Washington D.C., the BlackRock Center for the Arts hosted Sweet Dreams and paired the film with an ice cream social and drumming performance from the fabulous D.C. based women’s drum troupe, Bele Bele. People watched the film while sitting at cafe tables cabaret-style, which seemed to add to the intimacy. During the Q&A, a young woman from Rwanda got up to thank us for making a film that shows the positive side of her country and widens the discussion about the country’s history and progress. “When I tell people that I am from Rwanda, people shake their heads and tell me how tragic it must be coming from there. I tell them ‘No, our country is beautiful and doing well.’ ” Claudine, 9 months pregnant, joined the drummers after the film, thinking they might help her hasten her delivery! Bele Bele brought extra drums and invited the audience to drum with them, and suddenly Rwanda and the women drummers of Butare felt much closer.


Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rob Fruchtman.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

7 Apr

April 3, 2016 | Deaf Jam | Germantown, MD


Exterior shot of BlackRock Center for the Arts.

I arrived at BlackRock Center an hour early for a tech check and to get a brief tour of the center. BlackRock is a hub of creative activity including community classes, art installations, performances, lectures and more. Krista Bradley, Executive Director, is a true visionary, who radiates enthusiasm for her work and brings a generous spirit to her multicultural programming.


Krista Bradley chatting with some patrons in the lobby.

Krista along with Education Director, Jillian Levine-Sisson created a dynamic program combining live performances by D.C. based ASL artists with a screening of Deaf Jam and a panel discussion.  The integrated audience of deaf and hearing included children, teens, adults, and seniors. It was a lively afternoon filled with humor and play from the ASL performers whose work included ABC storytelling – a traditional art form that uses the hand shapes from A to Z to tell a story. ABC stories are a comprehensible introduction for non-signers into the creative storytelling practices among ASL users.


A shot of me with a terrific Deaf filmmaker, Roger Vass, who has a company called Rustic Lantern Films.

Our panel discussion got into issues of access for cultural events and educational practices for deaf children. Unfortunately, most deaf children do not have an opportunity to indulge in ASL poetry at school and the art form is endangered as a result. It was an inspired afternoon of cross-cultural conversation with many repercussions yet to unfold.

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Judy Lieff.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

8 Mar

March 6, 2016 | REBEL | Germantown, MD

BlackRock Center for the arts in in Germantown, MD, in one of the most diverse towns in the nation, is a beehive of cultural activity for the community.


I was excited to share my film in an area I had never visited, so close to Washington, DC.

2Director MAC at BlackRock

Before the screening, I attended the reception hosted by the Montgomery Women’s Leadership Council, a group of local professionals who work to encourage women’s civic participation and women candidates running for office preceded the screening and was able to meet a few of the wonderful and committed local women leaders who had come to view the film.

The March 6, 2016 screening of REBEL was packed at the BlackRock Center for the Arts.


I love being able to share the story of Loreta Velazquez and the women soldiers of the Civil War because our stories are empowering – but we seldom get a chance to hear them! History is not just “the past” – it lives and breathes and affects us all – TODAY!  As we were gathering to watch the film, three “ghosts” from the past walked into the theater.

Tracey McIntire, Al Jones and Audrey Scanlan-Teller, living history reenactors who heard about the film, came straight over from walking the fields of Antietam disguised as male 19th century Civil War soldiers, just like the real women who passed as men during the American Civil War, to watch REBEL.  They told us about how hard it is for women to be accepted as female reenactors of the Civil War, even though so many cases of real Civil War woman soldiers have been documented.

Only a few years ago, one woman dressed as a male soldier, named Lauren Cook, was caught using the women’s bathroom at Antietam.  She was thrown out of the reenactment event, the organizers citing “authenticity” as their reason to evict her.  Lauren sued the park, presenting her research on a number of the women who had fought, and died, in battle at Antietam.  She won the suit, but the stories of these women continue to be questioned even in contemporary Civil War historical circles.


After the screening, it was particularly moving to hear from a few of the women vets, including one who had served in the Gulf War and one who had been deployed to Iraq, who found the story of Loreta Velazquez so moving.  Although they did not have to hide their identity to serve their country, they did have to prove, over and over again, that they had as much right to serve as any male soldier.  Over one hundred and fifty years after Loreta and another 1000 women soldiers have been documented for fighting in the American Civil War, contemporary women soldiers are still fighting for acceptance in the ranks of the military.  The women vets spoke movingly about how they connected with Loreta Velazquez’ story and found so many of Loreta’s experiences and comments resonating with their experiences in the 21st century.

I am often asked how I got involved making REBEL.  How could I not get involved, when so many important stories about women leaders and heroes of our past have been erased?  My films are an important opportunity to share these stories in our contemporary society where a woman’s capacity to serve their country, in positions of national and international importance, in war and in peace, is still being questioned.

I will leave you with the words of one audience member who wrote this on our http://www.facebook.com/rebel-documentary film page about the BlackRock screening:

 “I saw this amazing film yesterday, and we in the audience all met Maria Agui Carter, writer, producer, and director, in person. If you think you know all about the U.S Civil War, think again! Maria’s film unmasks the truth about women’s role in the Civil War and challenges our view of history, gender equality, and culture. I urge you to see this fascinating movie and learn the untold story of Loreta Velazquez!” Janet Roth Graham

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Maria Agui Carter.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

11 Feb

February 6, 2016 | Winding Stream | Germantown, MD

Black Rock 1

The Winding Stream played at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland this afternoon. Once again, another beautiful venue, terrific staff and receptive audience on the On Screen/In Person tour.

Black Rock 3

I was greeted by Executive Director Krista Bradley who seemed as excited as I was at the nice turnout for the film. She had arranged for Erica Ginsberg, the Executive Director of Docs in Progress and filmmaker in her own right to interview me and field questions for the Q & A portion of the event. We had an extensive and lively discussion.

Black Rock 5

Black Rock 2

Among the folks attending the event were long-standing friends from the area as well as some filmmakers and music scholars. I was especially happy to see one of our film’s advisors, Kip Lornell of George Washington University in the audience. Kip provided me with a great deal of background on the history of Lesley Riddle, the African-American musician who helped A.P. Carter collect songs for the Carter Family to record. Lesley was a Piedmont blues guitarist who is also credited with teaching Maybelle Carter many different styles of playing. I like to say that just as many people thought producer George Martin was “the fifth Beatle,” Lesley Riddle is the unsung “fourth Carter.”  As a very young man, Kip had sought our Mr. Riddle in Rochester, NY and interviewed him about his work with the Carters at a time when very few people thought to reach out for this man’s crucial perspective. This research helped me form a better picture of this Lesley Riddle and his pivotal role in the Carter story.  I think it’s interesting to think about how if not for the presence of mind of folks like Kip, voices like Lesley Riddle’s can be lost to history.  I also think it’s fascinating to think about how the work of so many people over decades can inform a film. Work Kip did over 40 years ago surfaces in our film today. I’m really grateful for the scholarship of people like Kip, the late Charles Wolfe, Ted Olson, Peggy Bulger and Bill Hartley. Their scholarship means the world to people like me.

Black Rock 4

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Beth Harrington.

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