The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is flat-out one of the best documentary festivals in the world. It's relatively small, very intimate and draws a bevy of documentary enthusiasts that fill up virtually every screening, whether day or night, weekday or weekend.
So no surprise that our Saturday morning breakfast special screening (10:10am!) was packed. And happy to report it couldn't possibly have gone better.
It's still a relatively new experience to see The Kids Grow Up with an audience, so I was relieved and thrilled at how loud and frequent the laughs came during the first half hour, which is where most of the intended laughs happen to be. As for the last half hour, where we invite the audience to go weak-kneed, curl into fetal position and burst into tears, well, it looks like we succeeded on that account, as well.
It was hugely gratifying over the next two days to have people come up to me and Marjorie and tell us how much they loved the film. Many said it was their favorite film of the festival, which is nice even if they were stretching things a bit, or even flat-out lying. Feel free to continue to lie to me like that in the future, dear readers.
I return much more confident that the film touches audiences deeply. The notion has been reinforced by any number of Facebook and Twitter postings, and emails like the following from an audience member named Leah Janosko from Cary, North Carolina.
I just wanted to express my gratitude for your film “The Kids Grow Up.” I was one of the lucky (sniffling) people that had the fortune to attend your screening on Saturday morning in Durham. I was moved and touched. Your ability to put yourself and your family totally out there in such an honest, authentic and vulnerable way is such a gift to anyone who sees this film. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it.
I am the mother of a 16 year old girl (my only daughter) and it was as if you made this film specifically for me. The insights of both you and your wife were comforting in the sense that I am not the only one with these feelings. I found it interesting that during one of your answers from the Q&A following the viewing, you explained that your daughter was concerned that people would see this film and think that they know her. I came away not with knowing her but better knowing myself. Lucy represented my daughter with her laughter, intelligence, eye rolls and need for independence. Seeing how you coped (and anguished) with Lucy, is helping me process the complexity of emotions that I am feeling during this similar period of my life.
My only suggestion would be to please include longer credits at the end as I needed more time to compose myself before the lights came up.
I will keep up with information on your website and look forward to recommending this film to friends who may have an opportunity to view it. I congratulate you on an amazing piece of work and look forward to your future projects.
Our web design worker bees are working hard to create a discussion forum on the film's website, not just for wonderful reactions to the film (though don't hesitate) but for wise and pithy discussion of parenting issues brought up by the film. Having had a ton of experience from The D-Word, I'll be doing some of the moderating myself, and hope to bring in an experienced co-host, as well. It will hopefully be up and running sometime in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that.