05 May 2008

Tribeca Success

It has been a crazy 5 days since the premiere of "A Powerful Noise" and the reception we received at Tribeca was fabulously overwhelming. The premiere was sold out and the film was met with a standing ovation. It was spectacular and a dream come true. Most importantly, when I announced Madame Urbain from Mali was in attendance for the Q&A... well, the place erupted. That was definitely one of the proudest moments of my life as a filmmaker. To see the inspiration people latched onto because of Madame Urbain's power in the film was an amazing tribute to an amazing woman.

Another rewarding moment has been the consistent audience response. Scott and I had a plan going into production that we would differentiate our film by getting strong visuals, allow our characters to tell their stories in their own voice, and use music to link our women heroines together. Everyone seems to be responding to all of those elements in the film, and it is wonderful when a plan comes together. As documentary filmmakers, we cannot plan what happens, but we can give the production a creative vision and focus to keep the narrative cohesive. I am proud of that accomplishment and I share it with our wonderful crew.

Tribeca Film Festival (l-r) Scott Thigpen, Sheila Johnson, Dr. Helene Gayle, Ed Burns, Christy Turlington Burns, Tom Cappello
The final satisfaction came Sunday night as one of the last screenings of Tribeca, "A Powerful Noise" sold out Tribeca's second biggest theater at Village East. We figured most people would have packed it in by then or would go see the award winners, but I was happy to see such an enthusiastic crowd. Most people stayed for the Q&A, and it was the most lively discussion of the festival. People are really engaging with the film and that bodes well as we distribute this film wider. With such an enthusiastic response, I now like to affectionately think of "A Powerful Noise" as Tribeca's Closing Night Film. Thanks for everyone's support. More good news to follow in the coming weeks. Tribeca was a fantastic launching pad!
Asta said...

“No Red Carpet”

The world premiere of A POWERFUL NOISE at the Tribeca Film Festival was spectacular. This being my first premiere party, I was surprised how down-to-earth everyone was. In fact I couldn’t even find the symbolic red carpet that signifies a premiere. But then again, A POWERFUL NOISE is an atypical documentary film.

At 6 p.m., under a white tent set up in a parking spot on the side of theater, I noticed about 12 photographers milling about. They sprang into action as a black SUV pulled up and Christy Turlington Burns, author, entrepreneur and spokesperson, and her husband, actor/director Ed Burns, emerged. Dr. Helene Gayle, the president and CEO of CARE, was under the tent, along with Sheila Johnson, the film’s executive producer, taking questions and posing for photos. Too far back to hear all of their comments to the press, I managed to catch the following snippet from Dr. Gayle: “We’re not in the business of making films. We’re interested in getting out the message.” This quote fits perfectly for the premiere without a red carpet.

The after-party, hosted at the newly completed Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, was a stunning venue for the intimate gathering of friends, guests and supporters to celebrate the world premiere of A POWERFUL NOISE. Set against a dramatic backdrop of floor-to-ceiling stills from the film, the diverse crowd sipped wine and champagne while munching on appetizers. Of the 20 or so people I spoke to , practically all of them found the film “inspiring.” Through these conversations it is clear to me that the premiere was hugely successful. Guests astutely commented that this film will provide an avenue for people to connect to women of the developing world through a positive and evocative narrative.

During the reception, Dr. Gayle gave a few remarks, as did Sheila Johnson, thanking the sponsors, the Tribeca Film Festival and the filmmakers. The guest of honor was Jacqueline Dembele, also known as “Madame Urbain.” As one of the women featured in the film, Madame Urbain created a bridge that night between Mali and the United States and between developed and developing countries. Without a red carpet, in the middle of Manhattan, Madame Urbain closed out the evening with her rallying ululation, which was met with calls and cheers from the New York crowd joining her in the fight to end global poverty.