Monday, December 28, 2015

Rough cut 2

Photos by Aaron Paden

Over the past two months we've taken a familiar hiatus from our home in Lawrence, KS and have set out to share a rough-cut preview of Called to Walls with the host communities featured in the film. We would like to highlight those screenings as we look forward to the film's upcoming premier in the New Year!!!

We kicked off the tour with a hometown screening on Nov. 5th in Lawrence KS.   The event was hosted by KU's Student Union Association and took place in Spooner Hall at the Commons on the Campus of the University of Kansas.  Earlier in the day, in neighboring Kansas City, KC'S Gina Kaufman (Kansas City NPR station host of the morning program Central Standard) interviewed featured muralist Dave Loewenstein and Called to Walls co-director Amber Hansen for a special hour-long segment dedicated to community-based murals (link below.)

Following the KU screening, our great friend, Dr. Rachael Vaughn did a magnificent job moderating the event (which was recorded to be later incorporated into an in-depth, radio interview via the college radio station, KJHK.) Looking out into the crowd it was wonderful to see faces both new and familiar. The film screening was followed by an engaging discussion.

Photo by Aaron Paden                                                       Film Preview Screening panel left to right: Rachael Vaughn, Nicholas Ward, Amber Hansen, Kyle McKenzie, David Lowenstein.          
Photo by Dave Loewenstein

Little more than a week later, (Nov. 15th) we hit the road once again and traveled south to Newton, KS (site #2 on the Mid-america mural project.) In Newton, the screening event was hosted in the Krehbiel Auditorium on the campus of Bethel College. In spite of the day being overcast and fraught with freezing rain we were warmly received by our Newton companions. By the enthusiasm and conversations surrounding the film one would never guess that it had been more than five years since the mural project arrived in Newton.
We are grateful to the Newton mural project co-coordinators Barb Burns and Rachel Epp Buller for organizing the event!

From left to right:
Panel moderator, Shaun Conroy, Muralist Dave Loewenstein,
Filmmakers Amber Hasnen, Nicholas Ward, Joplin mural
apprentice, Kyle Mckenzie, project coordinator, Sharon Beshore,
Joplin design team member, Jo Mueller. Photo by Emily Frankoski

The following week, Nov, 22nd we were  setting up in Cornell Auditorium on the Campus of MSSU in Joplin, MO. Again, the film was met with much excitement. In Joplin, the project had occurred at a very fragile and pivotal timeRevisiting the story of the mural project brought forth warm and  challenging memories. It also reminded us of how much things have changed in the interim Since the screening we have been invited to return in May of 2016 for a community-wide screening of the finished film.

Dave Loewenstein, Amber Hansen, Nicholas Ward, Kyle McKenzie and Sharon Beshore. Photo by Emily Frankoski
Photo by Amber Hansen

 The final showing of our preview tour took place in the town where our first imaginings for Called to Walls came into being, Tonkawa, OK. The return to Tonkawa was a homecoming and for all of us  a great reminder of why this project initially came into being.  Our relationships with residents and former design team members hadn't skipped a beat!

 In addition to the film screening, Amber was exhibiting a solo exhibition of drawings from her new body of work: "Feeding the World". 
Amber speaking about her exhibition "Feeding the World" at NOC college, Tonkawa, Ok. Photo by Ken Crowder

Amber spoke to a number of art classes  and gave a public presentation about her work.  As a special treat, Art Professor and exhibition curator Audrey Schmitz created a button making station where exhibition patrons could create their own buttons from a number of selected images taken from Amber's drawings. Pretty cool!

Photo by Ken Crowder
Both the screening and Amber's exhibition were held at the Kinzer Performing Arts Center at Northern Oklahoma College. The panel discussion was joined by Audrey Schmitz and was moderated by our new friend Don Stinson. That evening culminated in a great coming together of old friends, sharing of food and trading of stories, old and new. One tidbit that we were reminded of that evening is that Audrey Schmitz (Tonkawa's project coordinator) and her partner Ken Crowder have traveled to and have painted on five of the six murals created for the Mid-America Mural Project! 

Audrey Schmitz, Nicholas Ward, Amber Hansen & David Loewenstein. Photo by Ken Crowder
 Don Stinson. Photo by Ken Croweder
On the drive back to Lawrence we made a special detour to Ponca City, OK, where we met with two former Tonkawa residents (now in their 90's) who were not able to join us for the film screening. We surprised them at the assisted living center where they now live to share a rough-cut copy of the film. For us this was a very special experience.

 We are so grateful for all of the individuals who have worked tirelessly in organizing these events! Going forward, we are ramping up for a big film premier in Lawrence, KS. This will be the first public screening of the completed film (dates to come soon!) We thank everyone for the support and feedback we've received on this journey! Keep your eyes peeled for notifications and invites for upcoming screenings and please join us if you can! Looking forward to a year filled with great experiences!

Love, Amber and Nicholas.