Sunday, September 20, 2009

Southern Circuit Film Tour 2008 Revisited

Last year (2008) at this time I was in the middle of a ten city, five state, eleven day film tour across the south with Emiko Omori and my film "Ripe for Change." As I left on September 16 for the first stop on the tour in Auburn Alabama the financial collapse of the US and world financial markets was gaining strength as stock markets around the world collapsed.

Jed Riffe Manship Theater Baton Rouge, LA
Photo: Sharon Sharpe

Now I am glad that I was on the tour at the time all of this was happening. The great audiences, the wonderful hosts and the beautiful early fall scenery buoyed my spirit and kept me from me depressed about the economy.

Shortly after my return to Berkeley the full force of the economic "tsunami" hit home when Tina, my wife, true love,and personal professional chef was laid off her selling high end professional cooking appliances for the home.

I was waiting to hear from the Sundance Documentary Fund on whether an Audience Engagement grant to continue and expand the successful outreach campaign for my film "Waiting to Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law" was funded or not.

I was just starting to collaborate with a major museum on a grant to plan and design seven interactive exhibits based on the success of Emrah Oral and my "Public Broadcasting in Public Places" interactive kiosks for the "California and the American Dream" series .

One year later Tina is still looking for work while she provides home-made, healthy free meals to two MS patients and my wonderful team of filmmakers including media fellow Jose Fernandes De Silva. Jose was awarded a fellowship from the Portuguese government to travel to America and work for me for six months. He and I have produced a number of great videos including a 28 minute tv commercial for taxing cannabis in California to alleviate the states budget deficit. The commercial was so successful that it was picked up on ABC's Sunday Evening News, Fox News, CBS Evening News and tons of affiliates .

I just received word that the Sundance Audience Engagement grant for "Waiting to Inhale" was partially funded, and that the museum and I were awarded the grant to design the interactive installations. In the meantime I have started a documentary film on food safety, bacteria and our immune systems, and begun development on the "Ishi" feature film.

I am still seeking funds for "Ripe for Change's" outreach campaign, and the balance need to implement the "Waiting to Inhale" campaign but I am blessed to have this bountiful plate of work to feast on.

Who knows where we will be at this time next year but the world looks a little brighter one year later.

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