Tag Archives: November

On Tour: Lancaster, PA

4 Jan

November 9, 2017 | Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw | Lancaster, PA

Host Barry Kornhauser really went to bat for this screening, with able assistance from Amy Banks, Arts Communication Manager of Lancaster’s Ware Center, where Mind/Game was screened in a beautiful 300+ -seat theater.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In Lancaster, I was busy for the good part of two days!  An interview with a student named Alex, for an article in the local paper, the first day.  The next morning Chamique Holdsclaw herself showed up (yes, it was expected, Barry went the extra mile to make it happen), and ‘Mique and I did a podcast with John Walk, which can be heard here: http://lancasteronline.com/sports/wnba-star-chamique-holdsclaw-talks-with-john-walk-for-inspirational/article_0f24abea-c587-11e7-b510-bb59b923df8f.html

Then Chamique and I did a couple of sessions with students and faculty during Millersville’s “common hour.”  A shout-out especially to Beth Powers-Costello and Tiffany Wright for making that happen, inspiring their students and asking great questions.

Then off to Wanja Oganji’s social work class; and from there Chamique to an African-American studies class while I was whisked off to a filmmaking class at nearby Franklin & Marshall College– very sharp and creative students working on their own short films– I hope my insights helped them.

In the evening, the Mind/Game screening was preceded by an excellent panel with mental health professionals and educators (who had pre-screened the film) preparing the audience with background on some key mental health issues that would come up in the film they were about to see.

5-MIND GAME pre-screening panel

A crowd of 328 (!) packed the sold-out Ware Center Theatre.  A very live crowd watched the film and then Chamique and I did our thing with a long and spirited Q&A.  Chamique was subsequently mobbed by admirers and entire high school and college sports teams, for photo ops.  A reception followed, Chamique and I autographed Mind/Game DVDs that were purchased, conversations ensued well into the evening.  It was a visit to remember!

One last note: Barry Kornhauser– though he was too modest to mention to me during the visit– had just two weeks earlier been awarded the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania “Artist of the Year” award!  Read about it here.

An honor to have spent a couple of days in your company, Barry!

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.


On Tour: Reading, PA

4 Jan

November 7, 2017 | Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw| Reading, PA

On to the Reading Area Community College.  Pre-screening, I was joined on-stage by Brian Richardson, Director of Advocacy & Community Outreach at the Greater Reading Mental Health Alliance (GRMHA), a terrific group that does peer counseling and provides other resources for those on mental health journeys. The discussion and Q&A was heartfelt, poignant and illuminating– and the audience hadn’t even seen the film yet!  The screening was well-attended and my co-panelists, Dr. David Brant, psychologist who also teaches at RACC, and Tom McCarthy, who coached Olympic gymnists, both added real-world insight, during the Q&A, to the mental health issues, and particularly the pressures on young athletes to be perfect.

Great discussions with audience members, including afterwards with Connie Mitchell-Bates, who spoke about her own son, a veteran who is dealing with PTSD and related mental health issues.  Thanks, too, to Gary Hawkins Executive Director GRMHA, and Cathleen Stephen, the Director of the Miller Center at RACC.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.

On Tour: Bloomsburg, PA

4 Jan

November 6, 2017 | Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw| Bloomsburg, PA


I checked into the College Hill B&B (very nice, I recommend it) and then only a short 100 steps to Carver Hall Auditorium on campus.  My hosts, Nancy Chiado and Abby Manns, recruited a very nice turnout (70-80) for a Monday night.  Lindsay Tosh of the local Active Minds chapter joined me on stage after the screening, and was heartfelt and articulate in describing the mental health pressures on students, and how especially important it is to keep on top of your emotional needs when in college.  The weather– balmy when my tour began, turned chilly, with a bit of hail in the morning.  Then off to Reading.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.

On Tour: Washington, DC

4 Jan

November 5, 2017 | Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw | Washington, DC


[photo, l to r: Goldsmith, Amdursky, Page-Kirby; credit: Doug Yeuell]

The Atlas Performing Arts Center has become the center of the recently-renovated Near Northeast neighborhood of Washington, DC.  Thanks to my host Doug Yeuell, an assembled diverse crowd of 40 or so packed into their small “black box” theatre for stop #2 on my tour.  It was a “live” crowd, with audience reaction indicating basketball afficionados as well as therapists, a family with 3 pre-teens and others.  Q&A moderator Kristen Page-Kirby of the Washington Post-Express began with provocative questions about the filmmaking process, and I delved into how Chamique and I worked together, especially at key crisis points during production, including one episode that almost shut the film down mid-production.  I was joined on stage by Loren Amdursky, MD, an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist, who added insight and elaboration to the mental health journey that I depicted on-screen.  The feeling in the room, filled with educators, mental health professionals and who knows who else, spurred an energetic discussion among audience and panel-members alike about the need to de-stigmatize mental illness, and also how we should look at “mental health” as something that applies to everyone, and should be viewed as such, much like we view “physical health” as important to all, and not just the “absence of illness.”  A young African-American woman came up to me after the Q&A and shared her own mental health journey with me and related how much the film and Chamique’s story resonated with her experience.  It was the kind of screening that makes one feel validated in putting 3 years into production and another 2-1/2 (thus far) into distribution.  I felt like I was indeed reaching my intended audience and indeed making a difference in people’s lives.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.

On Tour: Waynesboro, VA

4 Jan

November 2, 2017 | Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw| Waynesboro, VA

After a 2-day stay in beautiful Shenandoah National Park, hiking among the fall colors on the Appalachian Trail, I exited the park to the south on my way to the newly-renovated Wayne Theatre in downtown Waynesboro, VA.  A lightly-attended screening of Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw nonethelss generated a terrific hour-long Q&A with me and my panel-mates: Chris Graham, moderator and  Augusta Free Press editor and ESPN commentator (who had posted a podcast interview with me a week earlier); Dr. Kenneth Hubert Brasfield, a psychiatric pharmacist;  Crystal Graham, Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Becky Snead, LPC, PACT Supervisor at Valley Community Services Board; and John Spears, director of Youth Sports at Waynesboro Family YMCA.  Each one of us presented different perspectives on a variety of mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, and the critical need to bring the mental illness discussion “out of the closet.”  Thanks to hosts Tracy Straight and her Wayne Theatre staff for an energizing kick-off start to my tour.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.

On Tour: Reading, PA

7 Nov

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.


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: Long Branch, NJ

11 Nov

November 5, 2015 | Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos | Long Branch, NJ

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Another gorgeous November day and I get to go to the beach! As I stare out at the Atlantic Ocean I think about how fortunate I am to be sharing Miriam’s story in places I never expected. Monmouth University has an 82-year history and a beautiful campus. The Pollak Theatre is vast, and they are showing a fascinating exhibit from Uganda just outside the theatre.

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Julian, who heads up Monmouth’s Cinema Club, meets me beforehand and we chat about all kinds of things, from our favorite movies to today’s cameras. The venue is incredible—the screen is large, the sound is booming and nearly everyone stays for questions afterward. Someone really stumped me about Miriam’s family history. Nice to not have ALL the answers. Vaune Peck, my gracious host at Monmouth, is right. They have great Q & As here.

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After the screening, I meet up with a woman, Tova, who provided me one of the photos for the film. She brings her daughter and grandson, as well as a tremendous artist with a remarkable history named Kenneth Hari. We all dance around the obvious for awhile—no one has done a film on him and maybe I should look into it. Of course, I always say that when there is funding there is a film. So I look forward to perhaps profiling another artist with a unique view of the world. Back home and then on the road again in about 10 days!

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jonathan Gruber.

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