Monday, April 23, 2012

Roving Eye a Fine Success

            Sunday’s kickoff to the seventh annual Roving Eye Film Festival at Roger Williams University was a fine success. We had a crowd of more than 100 for the showing of three war films: The 2011 Oscar-nominated short KILLING IN THE NAME, an extraordinary film; INCIDENT IN NEW BAGHDAD, the powerful 2012 Academy Award-nominated short; and The Providence Journal’s Edward R. Murrow Award-winning COMING HOME. I had never seen COMING HOME on the big screen or in an auditorium, and it was quite remarkable witnessing the whole audience, including several veterans, sit in a sort of solemn mesmerized silence at the end. I don’t know how else to put it. The combined impact of the three films was very powerful. Festival director George Marshall and his students did a great job in selecting the lineup.
INCIDENT IN NEW BAGHDAD director James Spione traveled from New York to show and discuss his film, and we enjoyed hearing him -- and later talking with him after about filmmaking in general and his current project, which sounds outstanding. Also on hand were two of the principal veterans in COMING HOME: John DiRaimo and Sean Judge, who came with his new comfort dog. Family members came, too.

Lt. Col. Denis Riel, me, John Freidah and James Spione.
             After an introduction from RWU president Donald J. Farish, I then moderated a panel discussion with: Lt. Col. Denis Riel, Director of Staff for the Rhode Island Air National Guard, twice deployed in the War on terror; Dr. Jonathan Shay, clinical psychiatrist and author; Frank DiCataldo, assistant professor of psychology at Roger Williams; Coleman Nee is Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services -- and a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Desert Storm; and my good friend and colleague, Journal photojournalist John Freidah, who made COMING HOME with me and editor Cile Prestamo, and my partner in documentaries now-in-progress at the projo.

Given that we co-sponsored the day, perhaps it is no surprise that we somehow managed to have Providence Journal Staff Writer Mark Reynolds cover the event for today's edition of The Journal!

Next up for COMING HOME will be a featured block at this summer’s Rhode Island International Film Festival, the second week of August. Our block will feature a number of Providence Journal documentarians and their work as we explore new media from “old-fashioned” newspapers. See you there!

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