During the winter months you can find Carolyn Powers and me at any number of places having to do with films. Once the Academy Awards are nominated, we are on the hunt to see every one of them, including the shorts, the documentaries, and the feature films. This is no easy task. There is much research and much strategy that goes into this process to see every film! However, that is our winter activity. Usually we catch a movie now and again at The Brokaw Movie House when we can and make notes for our further research. We had never spent a full day viewing films, taking notes, and sitting inside a movie house for more than 12 hours, but that was indeed what we did last weekend.

I have always (well, for six years anyway) wanted to attend the Hobnobben Film Festival at the Fort Wayne Cinema Center. In my imagination, I thought attending films for a full day would be scholarly and enriching. Really. My friend, Ellen, takes a full week off to do this in Indianapolis, so I should be able to squeeze in a day! A quick note to Carolyn about the festival. It never takes much to twist her arm. “I’m in!” she says before she even checks her calendar. It is later she says to me, “Now what are we going to do?” I buy the full day tickets before either of us change our minds, thinking that raking leaves would be a better use of our time.

I buy full day tickets for Sunday, just one of the three days. I knew I couldn’t go for three days! It is my turn to drive, so on Sunday morning, by 8, I am pulling into the driveway surrounded by the Autumn prairie. Carolyn is ready and she hops in Lola, my Jeep, and off we go.

The Hobnobben Festival is celebrating at the Embassy Theatre again this year because of the big “P.” (I have heard a rumor that the Cinema Center is due to finally open up once again!) Nonetheless, partnering with the Embassy Theatre gives patrons much more room to spread out. I pull into the parking garage and we are there.

Cautionary tale: Because I bought my tickets from a third party source (how did I know?), they actually were not valid and they had no tickets waiting for us at will call. I did go into a bit of a panic. In fact, I paid over a hundred dollars for our two tickets when in fact they were only $30 a piece. Luckily for me, I was able to pull it up on my phone. They were completely unaware of this site. The Cinema staff and the Embassy staff were wonderful, and, not only let us in, but were especially kind to us all day. Of course, by nighttime everyone had heard the story. I tell all of you this so that when ordering tickets for events, please be careful. Use the website of the organization or call for your tickets. If this event would have been sold out, I would not have gotten in even though I had a receipt for my hundred bucks! I certainly learned a lesson on this day!

Once we were in our seats, we forgot all about the tickets and let the day commence. All in all, we watched 16 films. It would have been more, but we had to sneak out to buy lunch and to see if the sun was still shining. It was.

My favorite film was “Passage to Sweden.” This film was the account of events in Scandinavia during WWII and the folks who saved lives. It was an absorbing film. Several times I whispered to Carolyn, “Did you know this?” She shook her head as well. When the film was over, we were treated to a panel discussion featuring the director, writer, and producer, Suzannah Warlick. She flew in from L.A. just to be with us for the morning. After the panel, Carolyn and I actually spent some time with her chatting in depth about the film, her life and some of the things we do in Angola. She was impressed she was!

By deep into the night we had watched the 16 films. It was good to get back in the car to come home, and our words flew like sparks all the way. It was definitely a learning curve for the both of us … in more ways than one!

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories. She can be contacted at locketoftime@aol.com.

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