Sunday, November 19, 2006

the ride

It’s been a real ride. Between the grief from the death of my dad, being a speaker on panels, screening the film in DC for the National Institute of Health, and bringing my mom back to Texas to stay with me, I feel like I’ve been through the ringer.

A week after my Dad’s memorial, I was panelist for several forums at Spindletop Film Festival. I talked about being an actor, being an Associate Producer, what Storie Productions is doing with self distribution, screened jumping off bridges, and was answering questions for our Q & A. Afterwards, I was so fried, that Tracy and I headed back to the hotel to regroup and get something to eat.
At dinner though, my home life and professional life collided and I thought I saw my dad at the restaurant. In a single instant, my heart rejoiced to see him, completely having forgot that he had died. I felt as if I was about to join him for dinner. Then I remembered that it couldn’t possibly be him.
Through my tears, I could see it was just an elderly gentleman.

Two days later, I picked up Stacy for early flights to DC for our screenings with NIH, at the American Film Institute’s, Silver Theater. Matt Boratenski AFI’s Coordinator for Screen Education was there and it was great to finally meet him in person. The first screening was awesome. Our film was the center piece for a CEU earning educational program. There was an excellent power point presentation afterwards and the attendance was 100+ strong. Overall, the morning event was beyond my expectations and Lauren Hockman of the Mental Health Association, who put it all together, is awesome and ran a professional event.

Because we had some time to kill before the evening event, Stacy and I decided to catch a film. We started with Babylon. It was really good, but also a very intense and after an hour, I just had to leave. There are certain things I ‘m not up for right now and anything depicting violence, anguish, death, heartache (you get the idea), is too hard to take. I felt myself getting more and more upset and realized that if I didn’t get out of there, I would be a mess. So I ducked into the Russell Crow movie, A Good Year, which is the complete opposite of Babylon. Basically, it’s the male version of Under the Tuscan Sun. A warm, soft, fuzzy type of film, with beautiful scenery of Province. O.K. I thought, I can do this.

The evening screening and dedication of our film to Dr. Wayne Fenton was excellent. I think there was about 300 people there. Dr. Bruce Fuchs of NIH spoke and is an amazing man. Many more top folks at NIMH and NIH spoke as well and I was very impressed with their intelligence and compassion. Then Stacy and I were part of a wonderful Q and A. It’s obvious that jumping off bridges, opens doors and inspires people. Audience members kept asking great questions and offering comments on the film. After the Q and A, more people were telling us how much they loved the film and what it meant to them. It was really great. In the course of one discussion, I had said that my dad passed away three weeks earlier and I thought I was going to get a group hug! Have I mentioned I love mental health professionals.

The next day, Stacy headed back to Austin, and I flew to Florida to get my mom and bring her back to my home for support and lots of love.

This past week has been, in varying degrees, difficult and heart wrenching, and loving, tender and sweetness. Really, every emotion, and all of them very strong. To be honest, I want to sleep for a week, but this rides not over and I know it’s not stopping anytime soon. This ride is, I guess, also called life.

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