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Letters to the Portland Editor: March 13, 2009

Report on True/False Film Fest was so true

We are two Maine natives who attended the True/False Film Festival in Missouri from February 26 to March 1 and couldn't agree more with Christopher Gray's account of the festival and the festival experience (see "
Greater than Fiction," March 6).

It was our first time to True/False and to the college town of Columbia, but somehow we felt like we were old friends of both.

It didn't hurt that we surprisingly ran into an impressive contingent of Mainers at the very first event we attended, "Secret Screening Silver," a Maine-based documentary.

But it was the festival; its organizers and vision, the selection of films and their presentations, the volunteers and their hospitable and rather seamless implementation of festival pieces (managing the ticket and line experience, organizing vendors and a parade and parties, etc.); and the people of the Columbia area that made us feel like we weren't just guests or pass-holders. We were part of the festival; we were a part of the town.

After one day, we decided to return to True/False in 2010, bringing our lodging and related dollars to the community; after two days, the world had opened up to us through the documentaries we watched and the interaction we had with the filmmakers on hand; after three days, we had networked with directors, producers, editors, fellow musicians/composers, and volunteers, were invited to a directors' fete, and met the mayor of Columbia and his wife; after four days, we were newly committed to supporting and promoting our home state of Maine- based film festivals and events — not only to our local friends and families but to friends from far away.

Thanks for writing and sharing the piece on the festival — it captured the spirit and the experience perfectly.

Tonya Shevenell & Don Campbell
Don Campbell Music

Thank you for your thoughtful review of "The Funnies" at Whitney Art Works (see 
"Easy on the Eyes," by Ken Greenleaf, February 27), and for your generous feedback.

I am so grateful for the window you offer into comics and art. I have pointed students to your article, as there are wonderful pairings and parallels to ponder. "Sad Ghost" underlines for students and others a very old tension-laden discussion that still needs rehashing to explain how we are where we are.

Alex Rheault

I am writing briefly in response to an editorial comment I caught Sunday evening on a local cable access channel.

The commentator was Jeff Inglis, the managing editor of the Portland Phoenix, and was issuing a complaint about how the Obama administration is failing to follow through with the kind of change those of us who voted for him expected to see (see "Take Back Barack," by Jeff Inglis, December 19, 2008).

I wanted to express, and I am a serious raging liberal, a public-school teacher, and an environmentalist, how surprised I was to see a representative of a respectable publication trying to start up the anti-Obama rhetoric so soon. After only 30 days in office, I find it naive to criticize the president for doing his best to earn the respect of those whose politics lie on both sides of the aisle. For one, we must see Obama's presidency as an opportunity. He is as level-headed and intelligent a president as we have ever seen. He has publicly exposed and condemned those who have been irresponsible with bailout money, has publicly aimed his guns at greed, and pledged to devote serious attention to education reform. He has a massive strategy to undertake in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama must go about things in a way that allows him to earn respect from his detractors, or else his bi-partisan battles will become impossible and he will not be an effective leader. In order to be most effective in turning around not only the economy, but our schools and our international reputation, Obama must earn the trust and respect of his colleagues on the left and on the right.

In order for change to happen, we need to get America to buy into that change, and that will take time. Years, in fact. More than 30 days, anyway. If we see Obama bowing to Republican lawmakers and cabinet members in 2010, then we might have reason to call attention to it. But in February '09, when the president is just getting his feet wet, all such criticism can do is stir up negative energy among the uninformed and the naive, and fall on deaf ears among the rest of us. Calling Barack Obama "Bush Light" is entirely incorrect.

James Gale

Related: Easy on the eyes, Take Back Barack, Hope for young homebuyers, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Barack Obama, Chris Gray, Don Campbell,  More more >
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