East Coast Trip - January 2014

January East Coast Trip:  On 1/25/14 Closure at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (part of the New York Public Library) in Harlem.  The evening was unforgettable.  A discussion panel afterwards consisted of Angela, Susan Harris O'Connor, and April Dinwoodie - all transracial adoptees.  The audience was truly in for a treat to hear from these incredibly articulate, strong Black women.  They handled audience questions with poise, and some audience members poured their hearts out to all.  As I sat back observing and taking pictures, I was reminded of something that has been true at each screening we've had.  After people see Closure, they are compelled to share, and to connect.  It's nothing I did as the filmmaker, but it's the story.  Some stories can evoke responses out of people who may have been silent otherwise, and that's powerful.  One birth mother who attended wrote a blog post about her experience at the screening, which I've linked HERE.  To quote her:

This movie was a reminder of the power in using my voice to tell my story.

Wow.

The next night, we screened at Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia, PA.  Many wonderful people took part in the planning of this event, and we thank Open Arms Adoption for playing a huge role in making that night possible.  For me, our East Coast trip could be summed up by the following revelation: Nothing is more powerful than telling your story, and listening to others tell theirs.       

April Dinwoodie, Angela Tucker, and Susan Harris O'Connor on the panel at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, NYC. 

April Dinwoodie, Angela Tucker, and Susan Harris O'Connor on the panel at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, NYC. 

Our generous hosts for the Swarthmore, PA screening. 

Our generous hosts for the Swarthmore, PA screening. 

For adoptees still searching for the first/birth families. 

Visit our SCREENINGS page to see where we'll be playing next.  Finally, here are some of our recent mentions/publications:

Slate: When White Parents Adopt Black Children by Aisha Harris

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption:  Guest Post by Angela Tucker

We Are the 15 Percent Campaign: Bryan & Angela - Seattle, WA

 

 

Angela's birth family attends Bellingham screening

Last weekend I fulfilled a dream that I’ve had for a couple of years.  Closure screened in front of two sold out audiences in Bellingham, Washington at the Pickford Film Center.  Bellingham is the town where Angela was raised, and where her parents still reside.  To add to the festivities, Angela’s birth mother (Deborah) and birth sister (Carolyn “Na-Na”) flew out from Chattanooga, Tennessee to be in attendance.  The first stop after picking them up at the SeaTac airport was a Ferris Wheel ride on Seattle's waterfront.  With both Angela and Na-Na possessing a slight fear of heights, there were tears of laughter as we swung, suspended in the air, with breathtaking views of the water and Seattle skyline.  In retrospect, this was symbolic of the emotional "ride" that was to be this entire weekend.  

I shouldn’t be the one to speak to this, but I imagine it was difficult for Deborah to watch the film, and relive some of those moments and get a glimpse into Angela's lifelong struggle and desire to know where she came from.  After the Q&A of the first showing, I stood in the lobby and watched person after person go up to both Deborah and Na-Na, hugging them, thanking them for coming, offering kind words about their courage, and thanking them in general for opening up their lives for the film.  It was truly touching.

Many of you were unable to get in to the show, and several of you even asked the theater manager to bring the film back.  Good news! They listened to you and have invited Closure back in October, to be a part of the Pickford's annual Doctober Festival (a month long celebration of documentaries)!  Exact showing dates/times are still being finalized and will be announced at a future date.   In the meantime, here are a few photos from this weekend. 

Adoptive Family Heritage Camp

Guest Post By: Angela Tucker    

This weekend Closure screened on the campus of Colorado Heights University near Denver during the African Caribbean Heritage Camp, which attracts trans-racial families from all over the United States.

I sat in the very back of the theater during the screening, briefly glancing up to watch and relive parts of the documentary, but largely I texted my mom and a friend the whole time. If i was paying attention, I undoubtedly would've heard sniffles and saw people quietly digging in their purses for Kleenex. Instead, I sat oblivious to the mounting emotions, successfully distracting myself by texting others and questioning the possible impact. I wondered if the adoptive parents were simply enjoying some downtime and using the film to have an hour and a half of R&R away from their children. I wondered if some parents would walk out of the film early, preferring to watch their child engage in an African dance class for the first time, or participate in learning how to make Chapati. It's sufficient to say that I was blindsided by the magnitude of emotion to come.

During the closing credits, I quietly made my way to the front of the theater, preparing to address the audience for a (what I thought would be short) Q & A. Bryan and I stood up together while hearing the audience clapping. I became momentarily stunted with shock as I looked up to see the entire audience on their feet clapping and wiping the tears from their eyes. The questions, comments and remarks that followed were incredibly kind, positive and felt to be a collective "thank you" and "congratulations." I'm beginning to understand that the adoption community is ready to delve in to the topics surrounding race relations, search and reunion, and family. I'm glad that Closure has seemed to offer a raw, visual and emotional storyboard prompt for these necessary conversations.

A few hours later, I participated in an adult adoptee panel which consisted of myself and Rhonda Roorda, an author of three books on transracial adoption, and seasoned keynote speaker. The attendees peppered us with meaningful questions on topics that would be directly impactful to the lives of their children. I was encouraged to hear such thoughtful questions, as it is so evident that the adoptive parents understand their role, white privilege, and genuinely want what's best for their minority children. I am proud to offer a perspective for these beautiful families as they navigate the world as a trans-racial family.

If you are interested in attending this wonderful camp next summer in Denver, you can find more info on their website.   

San Francisco Documentary Film Festival

I was born in San Francisco and raised in the North Bay Area, before moving up to Seattle in 2004 for college.  So to bring CLOSURE back to SF was a huge honor for me.  We flew down to attend the screening on 6/8 at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District, which I was told is San Francisco's oldest continually operating movie theater.  The audience response was overwhelmingly positive, and it was especially touching for me to speak with many people afterwards and hear of how CLOSURE had moved them.  Many thanks to all who came out, and if you know anyone in SF who may like to see it, CLOSURE will be screening on 6/13 in SF and 6/22 in Santa Cruz.  Enjoy these photos, which were taken by Chelsea Peck (of Mr. & Mrs. Something, who did the original music for the film).