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Steadfast Premiere

“Steadfast”, my documentary on the Joplin tornado found its first audience in Joplin on Monday night. I did not know what to expect, honestly. I thought I might have family and 50 others there to view this film I worked so hard to make. Starting time was 7, and doors opened at 6. At 6:15 I’m thinking it’s gonna be a small turnout after all. Boy was I wrong! As I was eating a quick bite in the back hallway, I could see people start to arrive and the place start to fill up. There are over 400 seats set up in the chapel. We ended up having to set up more rows in the back and even then had people standing.

I didn’t really need to watch it. I’ve got the thing memorized. So I knew where to expect an audible response, and I knew where you would be able to hear a pin drop. However, another thing that surprised me, other than the full house, was to hear laughter in several moments where I had not anticipated it. That is because the film was targeted first to the people of Joplin. And they GOT everything. Every detail was not lost on them. They identified with everything being said or shown.

The coolest part was at the end. I was completely blown away by this. The credits started and there was a standing ovation during all of it! I was at the sound booth, turning up the volume because you couldn’t hear the music. I hit the lights and went back up front. The applause resumed for a second time. It was very humbling to know that these people resonated so deeply with this film in which I had poured my heart and soul. Trying my hardest to contain myself, I did the only thing that I could do. I told them that all that applause is for them. They are the ones deserving of it. They are who came through this tragedy stronger. They are the ones who are inspirational. I simply put up a mirror to their story.  I recognized those who were on the film who were in attendance and without anything else to add concluded with “God bless Joplin!”. The experience was a powerful moment to say the least.

We sold out of all the DVDs that I had ordered, which is a great because half of the profits are going to rebuilding efforts in Joplin. I’ve since ordered twice as many and the publisher is printing and shipping on demand. I plan on getting more screenings schedules in hopes that the people who need to see this film get a chance to see it. I don’t know what the future holds for this project, but the present is good already.

If you would like to see what this is all about for yourself you may go to www.steadfastdocumentary.com. You can see the trailer there as well as order the DVD. The DVD comes complete with extras (deleted scenes and other shorts).

Here are a couple of news stories that ran on the  day of the premiere:

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