Tag Archives: touring

On Tour: Lancaster, PA

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November 21, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Lancaster, PA

“No pessimist has ever discovered the secrets of the stars, sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a doorway to the human spirit.”

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The last stretch of my OSIP journey took me back to PA, this time to Lancaster, for events and classroom visits at Millersville University. Even before I arrived in town, the host, Barry Kornhauser, had already offered several fun events providing the community with nature-connecting experiences even before the screening of Love Thy Nature!

Professor Aaron Haines, Ph.D. guided a bird watching walk, curator Christopher Hardy, Ph.D. offered a tour of the James C. Parks Herbarium, naturalist Carol Welsh led a nature journaling activity, and Lydia Martin, the Director of Education for the Lancaster County Conservancy, invited volunteers who planted 75 trees along a stream. Barry also organized a pre-screening panel discussion with Prof Aaron, Lydia, myself, plus the chair of the sustainability committee Nadine Garner, Ed.D., and Douglas Smith, the City of Lancaster Sustainability Planner.

While several screenings of Love Thy Nature over the last few months have been “watch and do” events, this is the first time we had so many diverse activities connected to a single screening.  Much gratitude goes to Barry and all these amazing sustainability professionals for this nature-loving feast! And thanks to this outstanding level of engagement (plus our own film team outreach effort), the Ware Center was packed with over 300 attendees for Love Thy Nature screening and Q&A. Wow. For an artist/activist like myself who has deep hunger for the highest possible impact at any given event, connecting with this large a crowd (especially for a small town) was pure bliss!

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Discussions ranged from the local applications of Biomimicry (Douglas explained how they’re intentionally emulating nature in the City of Lancaster’s water management systems) and the psychological benefits of nature connection for both adults and children, to whether we can have any hope about the future of our planet.

While no doubt we live in critical times – nature’s destruction is so severe that some scientists believe we have passed the “tipping point” of climate change – we can’t afford to be pessimistic or cynical. As Helen Adams Kellert, the first deaf blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, once stated, “No pessimist has ever discovered the secrets of the stars, sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a doorway to the human spirit.”

It’s by opening that doorway that we can transform our relationship to nature. Finding this community of people this vibrant and engaged with city officials committed to biomimetic ingenuity and a university committed to igniting young minds with new sustainable possibilities, I can’t help but to feel optimistic about what our future holds. All we need to do is to keep sharing our individual gifts while walking this path of connection with nature, each other, and ourselves.

I admit that this On Screen/In Person end-of-journey is bittersweet. On one hand, I really didn’t want it to end. But its ending with Millersville University couldn’t have been any sweeter, having connected with an engaged community of educators, scientists, change makers, students, and audience members.  To Barry (a so very effective, dedicated, and kind host) and Millersville University faculty members, bravo and thank you!

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m so very grateful to the On Screen/In Person team – Kimberly and Chevaun at the Mid Atlantic Foundation – who have supported me for the last many months with the myriad of logistical details. Special thanks also go to all the other hosts of our 10 screenings not only for choosing Love Thy Nature, but also for their professional and kind support of my own journey and mission to inspire their communities to explore what it means to be human in this oh so very precious and fragile planet of ours.

Wishing you a beautiful, nature-filled Thanksgiving weekend,

Sylvie

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Sylvie Rokab

On Tour: Germantown, MD

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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.

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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!

Sylvie

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

On Tour: Lewisburg, WV

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November 17, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Lewisburg, WV

“Water is such a critical element to support our fragile lives and yet we take it for granted…”

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My trip from Waynesboro, VA to Lewisburg, WV was a peaceful ride through golden hills and when I arrived at my hotel room, I opened the curtains only to discover it was facing a vast cemetery – setting me in a special kind of tone. As a nature gal, the first thing I do every morning (or when I arrive at a new hotel room) is to open my window, take a whiff of fresh air and look out to trees, the sky and a horizon – if I’m lucky enough to be in a room with a view to infinity.

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In this case, it also offered me a view to the beyond. All those tombstones made me wonder: who were these souls, whether their lives were fulfilling, and who grieves their loss? According to my mother, my dad avoided cemeteries like the plague. And yet, here I stand in my early 50s thinking of him and all the other humans who left our plane to who knows where. To me, cemeteries evoke a profound sense of gratitude for inhabiting a healthy body and having this human experience in this oh, so very precious, yet short lifespan Mother Nature has given us.

And how amazing that I get to do this work of inspiring others to cherish their relationship with Nature and each other in the hopes that they too will find meaning and purpose in their lives.

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When I arrived at Carnegie Hall, my host Lynn introduced me to Autumn, the program director at West Virginia Rivers Coalition. Autumn and I shared the stage during Q&A and discussed the extraordinary importance of water— water for swimming, fishing, bathing, drinking, and overall healthy living. Water is such a critical element to support our fragile lives and yet we take it for granted despite all its current threats from drought and pollution to privatization by companies eager to contain it within plastic bottles for profits.

But we can resist. While I’m offered bottled water in many places I go, more often than not, I refuse and fill up my reusable water container with fountain, tap, or -if I’m lucky enough – spring water from some local source.

We ended our conversation with the audience at Carnegie Hall offering an homage to rivers and streams, while encouraging audience members to be involved in their local rivers coalition so that this beautiful little community in West Virginia remains healthy, vibrant, and yes, full of life.

Wishing you water,

Sylvie

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

On Tour: Waynesboro, VA

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November 15, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Waynesboro, VA

“No matter how long one does the work of nature protection, we all need to be re-inspired, re-energized, and reminded of the power nature plays in our own lives.”

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When I got to Waynesboro, VA, my hosts Tracy and Karen offered me a few treats. Besides a delicious dinner, they took me to The Wildlife Center of Virginia whose founder, Ed Clark, gave us a tour of this extraordinary wildlife-saving organization.

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Not only does the Center care for any and all local wildlife in need of care – from deer to eagles, owls and bears – but also Ed travels around the world from South America to Africa on a mission to catch poachers and bring them to justice, as part of International Coalition of Wildlife Protection.

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It’s worth noting that I’m travelling with On Screen/In Person and I don’t always know what groups my hosts might introduce me to, if any. So to find a wildlife rescue group in its 34th year of operation, having treated 70,000 animals and trained a corps of wildlife medicine practitioners around the world, was a magnificent surprise!

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Needless to say, I was delighted to have Ed, his team, and 2 of his “patients” join us at the Wayne Theater for the screening of Love Thy Nature.  It was a dynamic, wildlife-centered conversation and I was glad to hear Ed share how the film came as a needed reminder to nature protectors and environmentalists of why they do this work in the first place. No matter how long one does the work of nature protection, we all need to be re-inspired, re-energized, and reminded of the power nature plays in our own lives.

With joy, purpose, and gratitude.

Wishing you nature.

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

On Tour: West Long Branch, NJ

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October 17, 2016 | You Belong to Me | West Long Branch, NJ

“Those men and women who lived through the 1940’s and 50’s told stories of discrimination they experienced in the north which were much more subtle than in the south yet still as memorable and hurtful with the pain still fresh.”

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Growing up at the New Jersey shore, I was thrilled to screen You Belong To Me at Monmouth University at their beautiful Pollack Theatre. Things have definitely changed on campus during my lifetime including new buildings and athletic fields.

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While it seemed like most of the audience consisted of my family and friends and I was so proud to show them the result of my work on a big screen, I was jolted back to reality during the question and answer session by the realization of how the film resonated with the African Americans in the audience. Those men and women who lived through the 1940’s and 50’s told stories of discrimination they experienced in the north which were much more subtle than in the south yet still as memorable and hurtful with the pain still fresh.
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Among those in the audience who stayed long after the Q and A session was William L. Brown who is a producer of Cultural Diversity Arts Programs. I was so struck by him because he actually prayed during the Q and A – a prayer in part of thanks for those white people in the audience. Also in the audience was a director who is working at a Manasquan theatre about to present a production of A Raisin In The Sun and he wanted to see You Belong To Me to get a feel for the times and for inspiration.
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We all ended up taking a group photo and laughed and left with a hope for future generations.

Vaune Peck, the Director of the Center of Distinction for the Arts facilitated our event.

Post provided by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Blue Bell, PA

7 Oct

September 21, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Blue Bell, PA

The next day I drove to Blue Bell PA, where Montgomery County Community College hosted the Sweet Dreams screening. Brent Woods, Director of Cultural Affairs greeted me warmly and explained that our screening was part of the “Lively Arts Series” run out of the college. While he hoped that students would attend (it was the first two weeks of semester) their mandate was to reach out into the larger community as well.  So, in fact, it was older community members who made up the majority of our audience.

The screening room was small and cozy and we had a great discussion after the  film.

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

On Tour: Brookville, NY

7 Oct

September 20, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Brookville, NY

As Rob was finishing Part 1 of the Sweet Dreams screening tour, I began Part 2.

I arrived at Long Island University Post in Brookville, NY and was astonished to find the beautiful Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. Tilles Center is a major concert hall which hosts world- renowned music, theater and dance artists as well as being home to the Long Island Philharmonic and the Eglevsky Ballet.

Though our screening was a small event by comparison, Production Manager Bob Goida took care to make sure that all was set up properly and Sweet Dreams looked and sounded fantastic. What a treat!

For the Q&A after the film I was joined by Shawn Welnak, Asst. Professor of Philosophy and Carol Boyer, Associate Professor of Finance who graciously gave time after their busy work days to attend and be part of the conversation with the audience.

 Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman

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