After nine years in the making Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North premiered at the Sundance Film Festival tonight. I noticed the full moon as we crossed the Albertson’s parking lot to the Holiday Theater. Watching the film on the big screen was a revelation. I saw details I’ve never seen before. And no matter how often I watch Traces, it moves me.
When the credits began I saw three people head for the exits. Everyone else in the sold out crowd stayed through the Q&A. The questioners were engaged and their questions thoughtful. In the film I’d seen earlier the conversation with the filmmaker was terminated after about 5 minutes. I’ve heard that other conversations with the filmmakers were quite limited. Ours lasted at least 20 minutes. Traces raises issues for viewers. I was glad that more time was allowed.
It feels like a new chapter in this journey has begun. Our hope is that people will feel invited into a conversation about race in these United States. I know that most people sense that where we’re at isn’t working. Something needs to shift. Maybe this is a piece of the puzzle…
Thomas, I work at P.O.V., the series that will be broadcasting Traces of the Trade on PBS later this year. I'm wondering if you would be willing to answer some questions from us on our blog? I'm curious about what it's like to be at Sundance as the subject of a documentary that is premiering there? Have you been recognized? What conversations are you having with audience members at the screenings? I'm also wondering if you could tell us a little more about the Q&A you wrote about above. What were some of the reactions/questions that audience members had? Were you surprised by anything they had to say?
I'll be happy to answer your questions, but it will take me a few days. My schedule is quite full for another day or so, but I'll respond when I get the chance. Thanks for asking!