by Craig Juntunen
Tonight in Wilmington was the 58th screening of STUCK. If I were going to use a word to describe the Q&A tonight, it would be ‘sophisticated’. We had a very informed and thoughtful audience in attendance and the Q&A was led by real on-the-ground experts, which produced a very powerful town hall meeting. The Faith & Freedom Coalition and A Rose and a Prayer had purchased 100 and 50 tickets respectively for tonight’s screening and we are very grateful for their support and, more importantly, their collective interest in this issue. Our city host was John Radell (and his wife Pat) who really extended themselves and went well out of their way to make tonight a success.
I had the privilege to have lunch with John earlier today and I found him to be extremely engaging. It was a fabulous conversation and by the time the dishes were cleared from the table, I felt I had made a friend for life. After our lunch, his gracious hospitality continued as he personally drove me to a radio interview, which, for the record, he had set up himself.
I have had the privilege to meet many great people on this journey and the connection with all of these wonderful people has been so inspiring. Being out on the road has really altered my perspective about this country. When one is sequestered at home and the only connection we have to what is going on in this country is the brief input the news provides us as we glance up from making dinner or cleaning up the kitchen, it is easy to draw the conclusion that this country is falling apart. But having the opportunity to meet people like John Radell really restores my faith and belief that this country is made up of great people who are compassionate and really care about making the world a better place.
Another person who really cares about making the world a better place was in attendance tonight. Foster Friess surprised me by showing up unannounced for the screening. Foster has been a significant supporter of the Both Ends Burning Campaign simply because he believes every child should belong to a family and he admires our bold ambition to produce results. It meant a lot to me to have Foster attend tonight. He not only has supported the campaign financially, but he gave me real encouragement and guidance when STUCK was just a dream. Tonight, he saw the vision of this film project in its finished form and how a film can spark a conversation and inspire a society to reconsider things.
Also in attendance was Whitney Reitz from Senator Landrieu’s office and we all had the good fortune to have her lead tonight’s Q&A. It was a platform for her to discuss some of the particulars of the Children in Families First legislative package that will be formally introduced by Senator Landrieu in June.
Tonight was the perfect Q&A storm: a very well-prepared and informed audience and one of the real experts on the issue leading the discussion.
The high points were:
• There is a global orphan crisis; as a world community, do we have any responsibility to these children?
• If so, what is the best course of action to serve that responsibility?
• What are the possible options? What is the best option?
• Where does adoption fit in?
• What are the road blocks to serve these children in the best way possible?
• The mounds of research that we are currently ignoring;
• The current system/problems/issues/what went wrong;
• A new model that the legislation starts to form;
• A process to better serve children;
• And projected outcomes, especially over a graduated period of time.
It was a great discussion and a great night. The STUCK experience lived up to its billing tonight and I was very grateful to be part of it. I think most shared this sentiment, as many just hung around in the lobby to continue the conversation and express their gratitude for being part of this discussion. After a very special night like tonight, and realizing there are only 2 cites left in the tour, there is a sense of sadness that the tour can’t go on forever and it is coming to an end.