A lot happened on day 12 of the Barefoot Workshops, so this is a going to be a wordy wrap up. Here’s part 1 of 3 on Marfa, TX, day 12…
“Skunked” is a short documentary profiling Marfa, TX local, Jacob Guevara, a 27 year old afflicted with epilepsy and arthrogryposis multiple congenita, as he attempts to retain his championship title at Padres, the local bar hosting the town’s yearly shuffleboard tournament. It’s a story of second chances, the will to persevere, and determination to define oneself.
“Skunked” premiered on Friday, August 26th at 6pm at the Hotel Paisano Ballroom in Marfa, Texas. It has a running time of 14 minutes, and was the first of 2 films to screen that evening. The screening area was pretty packed, with about 50 locals in attendance, many having to stand on the sides and back.
Chandler and Allison, our instructors, started the evening with a short overview of Barefoot Workshops and its goal to develop responsible filmmakers who make it a point to give back to the community. Chandler went on to describe what the 2 week workshop entailed, how challenging it was to find, develop, shoot, and edit a short story in 12 days, how little to no sleep we had all gotten the last few days, and how daunting a process it is to distill 14 hours of footage into a 14 minute film. With the intro out of the way, Laura, Merri, and I took the floor to introduce ourselves and the film. In addition to thanking the many locals who had helped us along the way, we each expressed our gratitude to Jacob and his family for their time and willingness to share their lives with us for a few days.
From there, we made our way to the back of the room, looked at each other, with an emotional Merri hugging Laura and I, as the film started to screen. The three of us were nervous – not just hoping people would like the film, but more so how Jacob and his family would respond to it, and how it would make them feel. Although the room was very echoey, and the volume was high, making the sound not so great, people seemed to respond to the film. They laughed, “awwwwed”, and seemed hooked at the right spots.
The feedback we got was very encouraging, moving, and positive. One of the Padres employees (and shuffleboard competitors) immediately told us the film was “awesome”. He was impressed with how we had managed to capture the drama of the tournament in such a short and concise way. When we finally had a chance to connect with Jacob and his family at the end of the screening, they thanked us repeatedly for telling Jacob’s story in an honest and open way, feeling many in town would be able to better understand him. Jacob himself acknowledged the same, and went on to say he had almost walked out because it was emotionally overwhelming for him to see and hear what was up on screen.
Throughout the evening, and in the days following, we were told by a few attendees how they had noticed people in the audience getting emotional during the film, how the visuals had made Marfa look very beautiful, and before leaving town, Chandler himself commenting how visually striking the film was with our use of “decisive moments”. Given the 2 weeks we had to pull our film together, Merri, Laura, and I have been very happy with the response, relieved we were successful in being truthful yet sensitive to Jacob and his family.
Read on to…