Seeing with my heart?
In many ways the Ecocinema Festival in Greece (www.ecocinema.gr) presented an ideal setting for the European premiere of CATCHING OUT. The social and political context of the screenings was made explicit in the catalog. The President of the festival explained, "Ecocinema this year takes place in the shadow of a malign political conjecture internationally, with recent wounds from unjustified and barbarous wars..." Lucia Rikaki, the Artistic Director, acknowledged that "The attack on humanism is daily, " and she called on creators, "To resume their active social role."
But sitting in the audience, I became painfully aware of the extent of talking in the film, and for a moment I really felt like I should abandon the entire European adventure. My spirit was rescued by a Greek filmmaker during the Q&A. He stood up as if to ask a question, but instead he said (in Greek so I had to wait for the translation while the audience clapped) "I don't know if you will continue to hop trains, but I hope you will continue to make films." At least that gave me some confidence that the film made a connection at some level.
Later, in the lobby outside, several other Greek filmmakers approached and exclaimed about how much they appreciated seeing such a different view of America. I remember explaining how that is exactly what I'm hoping to achieve with this tour. And even if the film only leaves such an impression with a few people in each audience...that will be enough. Baby steps in the effort, as expressed by Lucia, "To contribute--through the universal art of cinema--to a common perspective expounded by many people all over the world."
Meanwihle, the main attraction of the festival was definitely the outdoor theater, adorned each evening by the full moon. The wind washed over us, billowing in gentle waves, and the spark of Mars glowed like a stray ember from our communal campfire. One of my favorite films was called, "Window of the Soul" by Brazilian filmmakers Joao Jardim and Walter Carvalho. A rare inspiration that helped me to realize that our eyes are only windows...we see with our hearts.