When the hometown screening of Commit to the Song was held, many people in the audience knew the people on the screen. Many knew most of the story already. That personal knowledge, I would think, would stir up personal feelings.
But how would an audience of strangers react not knowing anyone on the screen or much, if anything, about the film in advance? I had a concern that somehow this film might be “too local,” if that makes sense.
The film screened last weekend at the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, AL, and it was my first time to test that.
I was having a discussion with another filmmaker about that issue, and he said, “Most documentaries that I watch, I don’t know any of the people in them.” And of course, he’s right. (This is a good example of how I sometimes get lost in the fog of my own thoughts. Overthinking.)
What really stood out to me after the screening in Florence was when an actress from South Carolina came up to me. She had tears in her eyes as she said, “Your film is the only one in the festival so far that has made me cry.”
And there it was, that audience connection to the art that we, as artists, desire.
Next screening will be this Saturday, March 10, in Dothan, AL. Details here.