June 29, 2015, Prescott- Wednesdays are days for me to look back at the week to date, and recall what I have missed yacking about. The Prescott Film Festival took place for five days, last week. Like other such gatherings, the PFF presents the works of budding cinematographers and veteran producers, alike. Sometimes, there is a theme to a Festival. This year, I noticed a fair number of entries dealing with social trauma, and positive ways to face the issue.
I attended Sunday afternoon’s presentation: “The Starfish Throwers”. It featured three very different souls, who dealt with the needs of the destitute, in their respective cities. A young man in Madurai, India, despite resistance from his family, focused on feeding and grooming the residents of his city’s sidewalks and roadsides. A retired teacher in Minneapolis, using some of his own resources, and donations from food banks, prepared several freezers full of sandwiches to give to that city’s homeless. He spent his nights, year-round, checking on the men and women, and making sure they were in a shelter, on the worst of the winter nights. A young girl, with her family’s steadfast help, grew vegetables and fruit, on some garden plots around Summerville, SC, and prepared the food to give to that area’s needy.
In each case, there were the naysayers, whose position was, essentially, “Hey, we’ve got ours. Let the lazy ones work for theirs.” In each case, the naysayers were roundly ignored. In Madurai, a housing shelter, with skills training and modern hygienic facilities, was built by the young man’s foundation. In Minneapolis, growing numbers of people, from residents of retirement homes to school children, became involved in the food preparation and distribution efforts. When the retired teacher needed time off to take care of his health needs, the director of the YMCA stepped up and covered for him. When the girl was confronted by a critic, she expanded her efforts to include feeding elderly cancer patients, who, in turn, gave her unequivocal support.
This film didn’t win the Festival’s “Best Picture” vote, but it reminded me, again, of the potpourri of ways we can help those less well-off than us. Few of us have unlimited funds that we can just donate to whoever asks. Each of us, though, can throw a starfish back in the sea, in our own way.