Tucson Shows Up For Film Forward
As a staffer at The Loft Cinema, being involved with Film Forward - which is deeply invested in raising cultural awareness through film, discussion, and through the personal contact with those involved with making the film - has shown me that there are many, many people in my community who are just like me. Not only do we appreciate great films, we appreciate the opportunity for discussion and we think open-mindedly about what we have just seen on the screen and apply it to our own lives.
From the very first screening of Film Forward it has been rewarding to receive showers of thanks from viewer participants. Many people told me and other staff members how great this program is and that they hope it returns next year. These filmgoers have been grateful for having seen a film they may not otherwise have seen - and they valued that is was free of charge and that they were encouraged to talk about it with others, and to continue the conversation via social media outlets.
Peggy Springer and friend at a Film Forward screening at the Loft Cinema. Photo by Luanne Withee.
I glanced at a few of the audience surveys after the screening of Freedom Riders, and more than one audience member commented that the issues of this film relate closely to what is going on in Arizona now, and specifically in Tucson. This film definitely ignited compelling conversation during the post-film panel presentation, and I count myself lucky to have been there that night. It is during these moments of community involvement and ideas being shared among strangers that I distinctly see the power of film to bring people together. Not only to bring people together, but to unite them with a common vision for what the future might bring, and what the future can bring.
In the last five days, I’ve gone on five field trips - not counting watching the films and being transported to other cultures and other realities via the powerful medium of film. I’ve loved meeting brand new people and seeing brand new faces at The Loft Cinema as well as at the other venues. It has been so wonderful to go to community centers, museums, and other locations in my hometown for the first time.
Film Forward brought me to new places, both physically and emotionally, and I’ve watched films with audiences I’ve never watched a film with before…that’s pretty cool.