BALTIMORE AND CAL RIPKEN
Back from Baltimore and another great screening. The Maryland Film Festival was a well-organized, well-attended event with audiences that show the kind of sophisticated viewing habits that people normally associate with NY or LA. The weekend began with a trip to Camden Yards to see a Baltimore Orioles game. The festival told us that Cal Ripken Jr., the legendary Orioles player widely considered one of the best who ever played, had donated seats to the festival. Little did we know as we got our tickets and entered the stadium that they were actually "his" tickets. The first row directly behind home plate. We went with a bunch of filmmakers from the festival and all of us had that look of shock as the usher took us down to the seats. Our thanks to Kelly and Cal Ripken for a memorable night and their support of independent film! Oh yeah, the Orioles won 6-5 which made it even better.
Our screening went well, too. Members of the Washington, DC group ReACH showed up to back the film and talk directly with people who watched it. ReACH was started last summer by Izumi Asano, a Japanese man whose cousin disappeared in 1974. His family believes he was abducted by North Korea. His support for the film and his untiring commitment to raising awareness of the abductions in the United States is inspiring. It is always helpful to us when people directly affected by this issue are able to talk to the audience.
We dedicated the Baltimore screening to a family friend who passed away last Friday. Cecilia Jacobs was a mother and grandmother who, like the people in the film, cared deeply about her children. She passed away after a long battle with cancer. She will be missed by all of us.