Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The Hands had the honor of being given a slot on the 2009 Opening Night roster of films a few weeks ago.  That, in itself, was an honor.  Then the countdown whirlwind began with everyone within a hundred mile radius trying to get their hands on a ticket for this event that was basically soldout before the programs were even back from the printer.  After sending out more "sorry" emails than I ever wanted, the reality hit that I was really bringing my project back to my home crowd.  Butterflies in my stomach doesn't begin to describe the nerves I was feeling.  After I figured out what to wear (I am a girlie-girl to my core), I was on my way with my dates--she who gave birth to me, and she to whom I gave birth.  

The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago was buzzing with energy and excitement.  It was the 15th Anniversary of the Black Harvest Festival, and there was a reverence in the air for what had been accomplished during that time.  Awards were bestowed.  One went to actor Hill Harper, who joined the festivities via a humorous and heartfelt recording, as he was stuck in NYC taping his hit show "CSI:  NY."  The other went to maverick local journalist Hermene Hartman.  The latter was given out by Chaz Ebert, noted Chicago attorney, and wife of Roger Ebert.  As I sat there in the room, witnessing these powerhouse women with whom I was sharing stage space, I was completely humbled.  As Chaz noted, this was an especially special night.  The festival has become known for launching and fostering wonderful new talent.  We were sitting in the house that Siskel and Ebert built watching films that were born of fresh, new voices...and then my film cued up to play.  When I was called up to the podium to speak about my project, I left my body and began to watch from  above.  The words I spoke were coming from the mouth of a new director who had somehow found her way to living and making good upon a dream that once had seemed only remotely possible.  The faces in the audience were engaged.  The energy still palpable.  I still don't recall what I said as coming from my own mouth.  I remember it as being from that woman up on the stage.

A few minutes later, The Hands was on the screen, in living color.  Thanks to the unbelievable technical powerhouse that is the projection and sound of the Siskel Center, I saw my film as it has never been seen before.  Crowd smiled when they were supposed to smile, winced when they were supposed to wince, and cried when they were supposed to cry.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Followed up the screening with a too-much-fun radio interview later in the week with the ever wise and ever funny Brian Babylon,  We had so much fun, in fact, that he has invited me back to do some adlib media-talk.  Brought back the good 'ol days in the basement of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism where my friends and I spent a summer running a daily radio news show.  Fun then.  Fun now.

Finished up the week with a little birthday celebration.  Thirty-three is a good place to be.  I think I'll stay.


The L.A. Shorts Fest was a great festival.  The Hands screened on the opening Friday night, in the block after Demi Moore's directorial debut.  It was partnered with some really great films, which is high compliments for our work.  Very cool.  Got great feedback, and a few requests for screeners (screening copies) by a couple of studio people.  Always good.

Here's the part I wasn't expecting.  I received a little email with a pictorial gift that I could have done without...someone who felt the need to make his privates, well, public.  I have a friend who is an anchor at CNN who has been dealing with a few oddballs (no pun intended) of her own, and it all just leaves me perplexed.  I just don't get it.  Is this supposed to make someone more appealing to the recipient?  WTF?!  I have found new ways of screening my mail that will hopefully keep that from happening again.  One friend joked that receiving the x-rated fan mail means you have hit a new high in popularity.  I'd rather have a golden statue.