Sunday, May 1, 2011

Our School Sold Out at Tribeca

The rush tickets line for Our School at the Tribeca Film Festival. Photo credit: Mona Nicoara (c) Sat Mic Film, LLC

New Yorkers have plenty of practice standing on line - for restaurants, for their morning coffee, and, of course, for movies. Still, it was a fantastic surprise to see them lining up to see Our School. We knew that our screenings sold out in advance, in the very first days of their going on sale online to American Express cardholders. But the anticipation went well beyond that: Folks on the line got angry to see the filmmaking team use their passes to get into our own screening (like everyone else, New Yorkers can get unreasonable when left standing for long periods of time). Other folks posted ads for Our School tickets on Craigslist. We felt bad that not everyone who wanted to see the film could see it - but we're grateful for the interest, and sure that there will be more opportunities to screen in New York in the future.

It's no news that New York offers some of the smartest, most opinionated and most engaged festival audiences. It's a joy - and a workout! - to present the film before them and answer their questions. And the outpouring of emotion adds an extra layer of difficulty. We had teachers spontaneously confess to streaming minority and immigrant children into special education programs - right here in the Big Apple. We had visual artists and poets visibly moved by the story of Alin, Beni and Dana. We had policy geeks ask questions about the relationship European Court of Human Rights and the European Union (answer: as they say on facebook, it's complicated). Each screening left us exhausted and elated. 

And so did the festival. It was both strange and moving to see the story of three children living without running water, and sometimes even without electricity, on the outskirts of a very small Transylvanian town come to one of the biggest, highest-profile and most glamorous festivals in the world. We were profoundly honored to be here, and to be able to share the lessons of Our School with the world.