I’m finding interesting currents surrounding the opening of Sahkanaga in Chattanooga tomorrow.
Local news outlets are, of course, running pieces on the movie’s arrival “back home,” but what I find unexpected is Atlanta coverage. On Tuesday, both an Atlanta news television station and the Atlanta newspaper interviewed John Summerour, the writer/director/producer. Their interest focused on the connection with the crematory scandal, that big news story of 10 years ago, instead of the movie itself, but the fact that they are a two-hour drive away and wanted to cover this story intrigues me.
How did the information about the movie reach Atlanta? What currents took the information to them? And who saw that information and decided it was worth dispatching a reporter and camera to Chickamauga?
In a larger sense, I’m wondering what creates “buzz”? What makes a situation “newsworthy”?
Is it subject matter? Location? Sensationalism? Human interest? Or is it something else?
And taking this line of questioning further, what makes people actively want to see a movie, to choose to get in a car and go to a theater to see it?
This week and next are giving me a window into the flow of how interest is generated, how currents can build (and perhaps fade), how interest can create more interest, and what motivates people to go see a movie (or any piece of art).
Social media has played a role in this particular situation. Reporters have cited Facebook and have contacted John through Facebook. And that’s how he has dispersed some of the information about the movie and his and cast appearances. But I think there is more to this current than social media.
I’m intrigued to watch the flow of information. How people share what interests them, what excites them, what makes them ask questions and seek answers.
I’m also curious to see the people who attend the movie. What are they looking for, hoping to see, wanting to feel?
I expect that the answers to those questions are probably as varied as the people themselves.
That’s how art works. The creator creates it and then releases it. He or she no longer has control of the art. It takes on a life of its own as others interact with it. They bring themselves to the art and, in a sense, transform it.
Some of those others are in the news media. Because they are people, too. Real people with their own personal stories and interests and wounds and joys. And their views are filtered into their stories.
And then there are the stories of the audience, those who will be sitting in a darkened theater, watching Sahkanaga. They will take with them all the various parts of themselves. Some parts will respond. Some parts will run and hide. Some parts will shut down.
But no matter the reactions, the movie will generate currents that will carry on into and through all of these lives.
I’m enjoying my view from the shore (or perhaps in the middle of the current), watching the swirls of water that carry the bubbles and the flotsam to places beyond my line of sight.
I know that currents eventually end up in the ocean. But how they get there – that’s what intrigues me now.