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Monday Night Storytelling

Monday Night Storytelling

I wandered into the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center last Monday night to escape reality for a few hours.  On a complete whim I purchased tickets for the Fort Myers Film Festival’s (FMff) kick off to their monthly Monday night independent film screening.  This is one of those things that I have been meaning to attend for years and just haven’t made happen.

I have been on a kick recently to take action on things I have been intending to do and checking out the Fort Myers Film Festival is one of them.  If you read this column on a regular basis you know over the last few years, I have been trying to become more engaged in the Arts scene in Southwest Florida.  An area I have no known talent but great interest.

You might say that the FMff was on my Arts bucket list.

I love that the FMff holds these screenings on Monday nights. Even the name of the program, TGIM (Thank God it’s Indie Monday) signals a fun vibe for a night I am normally home exhausted on the couch.

The friendly and energizing crowd that had gathered for the first screening of the season that leads up the official festival in March was exactly what I had imagined and the backdrop of the beautiful Art Center felt amazingly therapeutic to me. The founder and director of the FMff, Eric Raddatz made me forget I was out on a work night with his amped up excitement for all things indie.

The format for the night is laid back. Four or five short independent films are shown and guest judges are on hand to give thoughts and comments.  The audience is also encouraged to rate the films and weigh in with their insights.

On this year’s inaugural Monday viewing there were comedies, dramas and ample debate on the true meaning of some of the films.  I didn’t gather up the nerve to comment to anyone other than my husband in hushed tones but really enjoyed hearing everyone’s perspective on the offerings.   Eric did a great job of welcoming everyone’s comments as relevant and intriguing.

It is amazing to me how a room full of people can view the same film and have such a variety of perspectives.  But films are a form of storytelling and all stories or tales depend on the perspective of how they are viewed.

Life happens though stories and people learn through stories.  I see this in my work in philanthropy.  Nonprofit organizations convey stories of their impact to donors, philanthropists have their own back stories that have unleased their desire to help others, and when I speak about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation I use stories to illustrate our work.

In a quote from his novel The Angel’s Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon writes, “Everything is a tale.  What we believe, what we know.  What we remember, even what we dream.  Everything is a story, a narrative, a sequence of events with characters communicating an emotional content.  We only accept as true what can be narrated.”

Indie Monday reminded me of the power of storytelling in lives and our work and that the beauty of the story is not only in the telling but also the perspective of the listeners.

What’s your giving story?  Email me at [email protected]

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More