by Craig Juntunen
Minneapolis proved to be a real highlight of our journey. The vision and leadership of Jennifer Arndt-Johns and a volunteer team that was as organized as any we have seen was the reason our experience was so meaningful.
Jennifer influenced a strategic decision to have STUCK play in the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. STUCK was not an official entry, but for our purposes that did not matter. Being included gave us a chance to be part of the special energy and vibe that a film festival provides. Irrespective of our unofficial status, the festival organizers went out of their way to welcome us and seemed to bend over backwards to make our experience as positive as possible.
One example of this was how when we sold out of the originally booked theater before our screening, the festival team decided to rotate some theaters and put us in a bigger space to accommodate the demand for STUCK. This was a huge effort, and given the fact that we were really an add-on to their program they clearly did not have to go to the trouble.
We were glad they did because the larger theater also sold out!
Jennifer and her team organized an eventful day, and managed it with detailed precision. We have always encouraged our volunteer teams to be bold and inventive in considering ways to create more than a screening of a film but a community bonding experience where the conversation of kids and family can flourish. The day had it all, and ended with a formal after party in a fabulous restaurant next to the theater.
Our Minneapolis visit is a prime example of what can happen when leadership is willing to think differently and examine options and take risks. If we would have followed the normal routine, and what we had originally planned, we would have missed a great opportunity and an exceptional experience.
I will head home in the morning to Scottsdale to get the kids and bring them back out on tour. We all had such a great time during the first 15 cities we are all anxious to be back on the road together. The tour will have the privilege to have Frank Garrott, CEO of Gladney and BEB board member, take my place for the Madison and Milwaukee screenings. We are all proud to have Frank represent and lead the STUCK experience in these two cities. I will return with Amelec, Espie and Quinn for the Chicago event. Nothing sounds better to me.