Last Saturday before I left for Albany, NY I just had to remember to take an extra screening DVD of Justice Is Mind just in case something happened to the one I sent to The Palace Theatre—I took two. The ride to Albany is easy from where I live in Worcester. It’s a straight shot right up RT 90. My mother and I just talked about general “stuff” along the way and when we weren’t talking I was just thinking of this three-year journey up to this point. A journey that would take a new direction come Sunday.
As my mother and I pulled into Albany we swung by The Palace Theatre and there it was flashing across the marquee “JUSTICE IS MIND – WORLD PREMIERE”. It was in that instant that this wave of energy started to envelope the moment. There is something to be said about seeing “your name” in lights. For a few seconds I was remembering the production companies that said “no”, the investors that said “no”, others that said “no” and in another instant remember hearing “We want to back the film”, “I accept the role,” and the crew members that joined me on this adventure. This is an industry where you hear the word “no” more than you hear “yes” but when you do amazing things happen.
Over the next several hours and into Sunday, friends and family of cast and crew from all over the United States had descended on Albany for the world premiere of Justice Is Mind. The energy that was earlier enveloping the moment simply turned into an atmosphere of collective accomplishment and excitement for so many of us. Indeed, August 18, 2013 was the day we have been striving and building towards – the world premiere of Justice Is Mind!
When Sunday afternoon rolled around and we started to arrive in our “Sunday best” the lobby of The Palace Theatre soon was a place in time I just wanted to stop and enjoy for another moment. As I greeted actors, crew and their supporters, it brought back so many memories—from the day we first met at auditions to principal photography, those efforts would soon be showing on the silver screen. At one point, I walked upstairs to practice what I thought was going to be my opening remarks. Who was I kidding, I couldn’t concentrate. So as I walked down the staircase it really hit me as I looked at the hundreds of people in the lobby waiting to see Justice Is Mind. Dear God. I hope they like the movie.
PHOTOS: LINK to RED CARPET and AROUND THE PALACE
Slightly frozen in a moment of anxiety, it was time for us to go into the theatre. I usually have a very big mouth and can easily shout across a room, but I left that to Vernon Aldershoff who plays Henri Miller. I’m fairly certain they heard him back in Worcester!
As we entered the theatre, saw the big screen and gathered in our seats the moderator quickly began. I faintly remember hearing him talking about my past work in the industry, but honestly, it didn’t matter. I just had to time myself to walk onto the stage and not trip in the process (which I almost did on that top step!). When I was at the podium it hit me—this was my proudest moment. Sure, I’ve had past career highlights I’m also proud of, but this really took the cake. Ever since I was in grade school I wanted to produce a feature film and that moment had arrived. With the lights blaring on the podium I really couldn’t see the audience, but I didn’t have to—their wave of support was coming over in tidal fashion and a strange sense of calm came over me. I thanked our post production crew and executive producers and took my seat. For 2 hours and 35 minutes I was part of the audience.
And so the world premiere of Justice Is Mind concluded and I couldn’t have been happier. Audiences enjoyed it and frankly at this stage that’s all that matters. Sure, there are things I would do differently. Every filmmaker feels that need to make an “adjustment”. But now isn’t the time. Now we go to market.
With screenings lined up at theatres, sci-fi conventions and law schools around the United States and Canada and more on the horizon, Justice Is Mind will soon be coming to a venue near you. Thank you for being part of this journey and joining me on the next leg of this adventure.