World Premiere, Cleveland


The feature premiered to a FANTASTIC audience tonight at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It was thrilling to be there, and to have had such support from the staff at CIFF, at Adoption Network Cleveland, and from individuals like Betsie Norris who put me up for five nights, CIFF sponsors Laura and Chris Blake, and my festival sponsor Elise Lewis who drove with two crazy Louisiana women all the way from Washington, DC to attend.

The evening had an interesting beginning, however. A couple of us spoke, then the lights dimmed, a trailer for the festival ran, and then… nothing. The theater was dark. After a minute, everyone began fidgeting. A person from the festival with a walkie talkie whispered to me that they were having trouble with a projector in a different screening that it might be a couple more minutes. So I asked the audience who I couldn’t see because it was pitch black, “Are you enjoying the film yet?” People chuckled and we waited a bit more. Lights still out. A minute later, I said, “I particular like this part here.” A half minute goes by. “I can tell many of you are finding this scene highly emotional.”

I walk from the back of the theater toward the front, hoping that everyone isn’t drifting off to sleep. “Well, I hope you enjoyed the film and I want to thank you all for coming. Does anyone have any questions?”

From the center of the theater comes, “What kind of camera did you use?”

“A Panasonic DVX100B – with the lens cap on.”

Back row left, “Was it hard to edit?”

“This was probably easier than any other film I’ve edited.”

The room is pitch black. I can’t see any faces, but we are laughing together in the dark. For the Life of Me has become a comedy.

A person in an aisle seat. “What’s your next project going to be?”

“I was thinking of something a bit… lighter.”

Finally, the Silver Tandem Production logo filled the screen and For the Life of Me was rolling. And for the first time ever I got an ovation at the beginning of a film.
And, fortunately, there was an ovation at the end of the film too, and a wonderful Q&A with the audience, whose faces I could finally see. It was a great night, one I’ll always remember.

A second screening occurs tomorrow morning. I’m kind of hoping the lights go out at the beginning and we have five minutes of darkness again to get to know each other. It was a magic way in which to launch the feature film!

To see a clip from NBC channel 3 news go to

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