A couple ofweeks ago, I flew to Atlanta to do a Q and A for some screenings of BLUMENTHAL as part of the very cool Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. The screening slots were great, 7:30pm on Saturday night and 1:00pm on a Sunday. This is prime time for any film at a festival. Because film festivals program movies throughout the day, it is not uncommon to screen your film at 10AM to a less than full cinema. Not the case in ATL.
What a terrific welcome! Both screenings were packed to the brim and the audience's really seemed to connect with the film. I go into every Q and A session ready to dodge flying tomatoes, so it is truly humbling when an audience member has a thoughtful enough comment or question that it causes me to reflect on the film in a new light. The Atlanta audience was passionate, perceptive, and honest with their reactions. The response to the film was awesome. Laughs throughout.
Ironically, it was at this "niche" festival that I had my first major response from a group of people that one might consider outside of the target audience for BLUMENTHAL. After the second screening, I had a lengthy conversation with young African American couple about the film. They absolutely loved it. In the past few months of visiting festivals, I have been forced to view the film through a Jewish prism. The movie, however, was never intended to be a "Jewish" film per se, it just has a certain appeal to that audience. It was refreshing to be reminded that the film deals with (hopefully) universal sentiments that transcend culture. I've spoken with Greek, Asian, and even Utahan people that have all found cultural parallels to which they can relate. For me, this is the most gratifying part of going to these festival screenings. It's a terrific way to discover who your audience really is.
Can't wait to revisit Atlanta!