REPORT: A Fall From Freedom Screening

AFFF_Screening_Night_LakewoodLong, long, loooooong overdue. The day job helps pay for the work we wish to do on behalf of marine life, but it also often stands in the way of our actually doing it. A welcome day off allows a little time to catch up. So here is our brief report on our public screening of A FALL FROM FREEDOM.

For several months, the FOGG team worked hard to plan, promote, and fundraise for the event. We found a great venue, the Lakewood Theater in east Dallas. And our invitation to appear as guest speaker was graciously accepted by marine mammal expert, Dr. Naomi Rose.

Our evenings and weekends were largely occupied with worrying about whether the event would be a success. Would we be able to raise the money we needed? Would some last second technical glitch derail the whole enterprise? Most importantly, would anyone even show up?

On the evening of 28th March, with a combination of anticipation and apprehension, we arrived at the theater. Wayne, one of the owners, was waiting for us and helped us get set up. And that’s when our potentially disastrous technical failure occurred. For reasons we never could completely understand, the DVD wouldn’t play in the correct aspect ratio. It was squished from the sides into a square. It wouldn’t have been a complete disaster. The show would have gone on, but Wayne kept working on the problem until he came up with a solution.

Our volunteers arrived early to help set up and prepare for the arrival of our audience. Special thanks to all of them: Lance Limer, Leah LeMarier, Joy Benson, Robert Watson, and Marjorie Asturias.

We had sold a few tickets in advance, but I hoped many more would see something going on and check it out. And that actually did happen a couple of times. One woman came in while I happened to be standing in the lobby. She asked what all the fuss was about. When I told her, she walked over to the box office and bought a ticket. By the time the film started, we had about fifty people in the audience. Not the packed house that I had hoped for, but so much better than film screenings I had done in the past.

After some opening remarks, the lights went down and the film started. I’ve seen A FALL FROM FREEDOM several times, but seeing it on a big screen with all these other people was actually kinda thrilling. I hoped it would move some of these people the way it moved me.

Finally, the credits rolled and we took a brief intermission. I urged people to come back for a Q&A with Dr. Rose. More than half of the audience did return and for over an hour, Dr. Rose answered questions on topics ranging from cetacean evolution to so-called “dolphin assisted therapy.” You can see the entire fascinating Q&A session on our YouTube channel. Photos from the event are in the Gallery.

In the end, we met our fundraising goal and were therefore able to donate the ticket sales to our beneficiary, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project. It wasn’t much, but every little bit helps. And–more importantly–I think we succeeded in raising awareness about the plight of captive cetaceans. And that, after all was our primary mission.

If you haven’t seen the film, you can order the very reasonably-priced DVD or digital download at


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