By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www. AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Whenever Gretchen Sorin does an interview for film “Driving While Black,” she likes to consult her own copy of The Negro Motorist Guide aka The Green Book.
“I like to see if there are any places listed where I’m doing the interview,” she said. “But so few of them are extant.”
In Albany, she found, an entire neighborhood had been hidden, buried underneath the Empire Plaza.
“There was Dorothy’s Restaurant and a barber shop on Van Trumpet. I’d never heard of that street.”
Sorin’s film, “Driving While Black” will be one of the 2020 Glimmerglass Film Days free films, screening 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6, through 9:59 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 8. The film debuted on PBS in October.
“I’ve gotten an enormous amount of fan mail from people – black and white – sharing their experiences with travel. It’s all so compelling, I could write a whole other book!”
This year’s festival, held online, is themed around “The Road Less Traveled,” and films may be viewed on your device from Thursday, Nov. 5, to Thursday, Nov. 12. You can watch individual films for $4 each, or you can buy a $50 pass and watch all the films.
“There’s been so much upheaval in 2020, so highlighting people who go off the beaten path really has become more relevant,” said Ellen Pope, executive director, Otsego 2000, which puts on the festival. “And since we’re not able to travel, we can still see all these interesting places.”
In addition to Sorin, Otsego County is well-represented in this year’s Glimmer-glass Film Days.
Oneonta native Peter Hutchison returns with “Healing from Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation” which follows reformed white supremacists.
Another film features Cooperstown Graduate Program alumnus and folklorist Henry Glassie.
Both will speak following the films.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Film Days to move to a virtual format, where ticketholders are given a passcode to watch each movie on a streaming device of their choice.
To participate, go to glimmerglassfilmdays.org
The 27 films will be available for 48 hours, starting with the Film Days opening film, “The Seer and the Unseen,” screening from 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 – Saturday, Nov. 7.
“The downside is that we don’t have a chance to socialize,” said curator and founder Peggy Parsons. “But you do have a chance to see more films.”
There are ways, Pope said, to bring the festival atmosphere home. A “Film Days in a Box” was prepared, containing popcorn, movie-theater candy and local goodies, including a Film Days mask.
“It gives it a fun, festive feeling,” said Pope.
The boxes quickly sold out, but don’t worry if you didn’t get one – Tin Bin Alley is packing up boxes of old-fashioned movie theater candy, and the Green Toad Bookstore will be offering a digital pop-up shop, where you can buy books related to the festival, including “Driving While Black.”
And Alex’s World Bistro and the Hawkeye Grill are offering special themed dinner-for-two menus, including Mexican for “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy” and Japanese food for Werner Herzog’s “Family Romance, Inc.”