LDS Film Festival 2017

It wasn’t a big deal. My husband Roger and I entered our friend Sergei Boutenko’s film I Want Abs in our local LDS Film Festival, and it was accepted! It’s a great film so that was no surprise. We hoped Sergei would come and we could watch him lead a great Q&A. Ah, there’s the rub. He already had a commitment in Hawaii shooting a salsa dancing festival at the same time. So he asked us, as his executive producers (we contributed to his film on Kick Starter) to represent him. Okay, we said. No big deal. He sent us a poster, some flyers, signed us up as the film makers and sent us a sheet of frequently asked questions and answers. We reviewed the sheet numerous times and practiced answering those questions and others we thought of at home. No big deal.

We invited everyone we could think of to come the last Friday’s 3:00 PM showing at the Scera Theater in Orem, Utah, the venue for the 16-year-old festival. We’d attended once, about ten years ago. The founder, Christian Vuisa, was our neighbor in Provo, Utah. It was fun then. We were excited to be attending again. It could only have gotten better in the past ten years!

We arrived early on Wednesday afternoon, March 1, 2017, the first day of the festival, to get a good spot to display the poster Sergei sent us, to advertise the movie in the foyer. We felt a little out of our comfort zone, after all, we aren’t the movie makers. We don’t have long, blue hair or anything that would set us apart. But then, neither does Sergei. He’s as normal looking as they come. Christian, our old neighbor, remembered us and greeted us warmly. We settled in and enjoyed the festival on Wednesday and Thursday. There were wonderful films, quirky films, moving films, funny films. It was an even better festival than the one we attended 10 years ago! The films were all well received by a pleasant and respectful audience. We had nothing to worry about!

Then, why couldn’t I sleep on Thursday night? Funny how that works. I was excited, and that’s a good kind of stress, the kind that makes us grow. We watched a couple of films that preceded I Want Abs, but it was hard to concentrate.

“We’re doing this for our friend Sergei!” I told Rog.

“Right! We can do this!” Rog reminded me. “Keep breathing!”

A few people trickled into the theater, but no one we knew. Then our daughters and a grandson arrived! Whew!! It will be a friendly crowd!

More people slipped in the back. The projectionist rolled the film. I learned several new things, even though I’d seen it many times already. The film looked great on the big screen! Bright, clear colors; the sound was perfect. The film concluded. Everyone applauded! We, the “film makers” took our places on the stage for the Q&A. Rog introduced us, told how we’d gotten involved, apologized for Sergei’s absence and asked for questions. People asked good questions! And we knew the answers! It wasn’t just our daughters asking the questions, either. The audience was complementary of the movie and told us that they felt inspired to work harder at becoming more fit themselves. Sergei made it look doable and fun.

The Q&A ended and we’d done it!

Isn’t it interesting how getting a little out of our comfort zone pushes and stretches us. Kelly McGonigal teaches that principle in her book The Upside of Stress. It’s true. I felt great, when it was all over. We can do hard things! It isn’t a big deal, but it changes our lives!

This film changed our lives, too. Rog and I were so inspired that we hired a personal trainer and we’ve been working out an hour a day, three times a week for about six months. We’ve also made some modifications of our diet,for the better. We’re not as dedicated as Sergei, but we don’t have to answer to a movie camera. We definitely feel healthier, we’re stronger, and we’re motivated to keep going!

Check out the film I Want Abs and let me know what you think!


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