We are at a stage in the distribution of Abraham’s Children were we hold grass-roots semi-theatrical screenings. What that means is we go to non-traditional venues, like school auditoriums and class rooms, mosques, meeting halls and living rooms to show the film. Last weekend I had the good fortune to show Abraham’s Children twice myself. Once at a high school auditorium and once in a 1-12K private school whose auditorium also functions as a prayer room.
Early on, Caitlin Boyle of Film Sprout had warned a bunch of us filmmakers at her (awesome) workshop on grass roots distribution outreach for social change documentaries, to let go of having the film screened in a ‘perfect’ setting. I took that to mean, that the film might be shown in 4:3 format rather than the intended 16:9 (widescreen) or that the sound was not going to be perfect, etc. I also assumed that I would not be there to have to witness it.
SO on Friday and Saturday I made sure we had it all set up perfectly – right aspect ratio, sound as balanced as possible with the sound system available, room darkened, temperature right, etc. Friday: perfect! Saturday? Not so. For reasons beyond my control it was decided stop the film after it was only about 80% done. Whaat?
Reason being, they had simply run out of time and needed the room for something else. I was dumb folded. Why invite me to attend? Why go through the trouble of holding a screening of a film whose length is known? Why schedule a speech and Q&A session with the director? The Q&A turned into a discussion in the hallway with a few interested parties and I was back at my car before I knew it. It was a bizarre experience and something tells me: not the last.
Moral of the story: you can only control so much and then you have to let go. You where right, Caitlin (and Mom).
All I can say: donate $50, get the DVD shipped to your home and FINISH watching it!