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  • Arielle Nóbile

Grateful for Echo Park Film Center

Last night we had an incredible screening of "Belonging in the USA: The Story of Michael D. McCarty" thanks to Gemma and two other volunteers from the Echo Park Film Center.

Traffic was brutal, so I have to say I was really nervous that we'd have a super low turnout. But folks who both did and did not know Michael or I braved their way despite the traffic.

I was extraordinarily excited for the first ever public screening of the pilot episode for several reasons:

1) Michael and Valerie were in the house

2) Eric Cyrs aka Baba the Storyteller was in the house

3) Alicia Partnoy (the subject of episode 2)--in the house!

Two wonderful additional surprises were that Stan, who also appears in the episode, was there as well as two friends of Michael who are mentioned in the episode. It was also great to meet some of our LA local FB followers, one of whom biked from very far to be there! (Thanks again, Sergio, for your dedication, presence, and great question in the discussion).

Following the screening we had a deep discussion in a panel format, where Alicia, Michael D., Eric, Stan and I fielded some questions from the audience. We ended the night by me asking each of them for their vision of what a better future would look like for this country and this world. The last comment we had though was from a woman in the audience who described the experience as feeling "like church" (in the best way), which I interpreted and felt to mean holy.

It does feel that way, every time we have a live screening. That we are as Eric mentioned "bringing together just the right people at just the right time." And what follows is intimate moments of connection with folks who are no longer strangers when they leave the room. I hope if you haven't been able to be at a live screening yet, that you will get to experience or host one soon!

And if you are sad you have missed this last screening or are just hoping to see the episode, we're hosting a week-long online screening event starting next Tuesday. Sign up here.

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