"Facets of Haiti" premiered on May 3, at 7 PM in the Saint Joseph's College Auditorium. I know it has been a few months since that date (post-grad life has been busy), but I have had a lot of time to reflect on the amazing experience that premiere turned out to me.
Going into the event, I wasn't expecting much. I knew I had created a piece that I was proud of but I was not expecting others to care as much about the project as I had. I invited friends, family, and fellow trip members, as well as advertising the event around the school. However I was not expecting the outpour of love that I received.
Not only were close friends and family members in attendance, but they invited THEIR friends and THEIR family, and it did not take long from when the doors opened at 6 PM for the auditorium to be completely filled. There was even a line waiting outside the door waiting to get the best seats! Before the film even began I sold half the copies of DVDs I had prepared, and eventually sold out of them before the night was through. All the money received from the DVDs were donated directly to Partners in Development and we were able to donate over $300 from DVD sales alone.
I had prepared a speech to introduce my film, but naturally I was so nervous. To be honest, I think I blacked out, as I don't really remember giving my speech! I only remember walking up onto the stage and a few moments later I was walking back off, ready to hit play. My heart did not stop racing the entire night. I knew I was proud of what I had accomplished but I was so anxious to know what others might think. The only people who had seen my film were my professors and classmates.
As the lights faded in the auditorium I sat in my seat, started the film, held the hands of my two biggest supporters, my mom and Ralph, and watched "Facets of Haiti" on the big screen.
My eyes were filled with tears as they were glued to the screen.
As I watched the film I listened to hear the reactions of the audience. I heard laughter and crying, at all the right moments. And it was perfect. I remember thinking as the film was drawing to a close that I wish I had made it longer because I did not want that moment to end.
As the final credits rolled the audience erupted into a standing ovation and the sound is one that I will never forget. Camilla Bridge ran over to me from her seat and embraced me an enormous hug, telling me how proud she was of me. I instantly started crying.
I couldn't believe the reaction I was receiving. They had loved my film as much as I did. Ralph urged me to turn around a take a look at the crowd. With tears in my eyes, I took a brief turn and was completely overwhelmed by the sight and sounds. Just seeing the first two rows standing and applauding was enough for me. I knew I would absolutely lose it if I saw the rest of the auditorium in that standing ovation, but I knew what was happening. And it was one of the greatest and proudest experiences of my life.
The love for my film did not end after the showing. I received so many texts from friends, family, and peers with wonderful words of love and support. The one that touched me the most was from a soccer teammate:
"Hey so I just wanted to say that you did an amazing job and I was truly moved by the production! You out did yourself and let me just say that media is honestly your true calling! I'm humbled to call you my former captain. Love you Sarah! Great job again! ❤️"
Words like this, especially coming from the people you least expect, excite the best feelings of accomplishment.
I am still in awe of the wonderful experience that was the premiere of "Facets of Haiti." After two weeks of shooting internationally, over 100 hours of footage, and an entire semester of editing my project was finally complete. And I couldn't be prouder of the result.
I have entered "Facets of Haiti" into six film festivals across the United States. I figured, why not? Who knows when, or if, I will make a project like this again. I am still waiting to hear back, but I am just excited that people outside of Saint Joe's will be able to see my work.
I still hope to create a fun highlight video to reminisce of the lighter moments of my trip, but post-grad life has been distracting. I guess you will just have something more to look forward to! :)