Winner of the audience award at Full Frame and a special jury prize at SXSW, THE WAY WE GET BY had its first New York sneak preview at Stranger Than Fiction last night and won over yet another sold out crowd. This moving film tells the story of an airport in Bangor, Maine where senior citizens volunteer and greet soldiers that are flying to or returning from war. A strength of the documentary is that it steers clear of political trappings and instead focuses on the importance of supporting soldiers as fellow Americans who are serving their country. The film also succeeds in shedding light on the many obstacles facing the elderly, demonstrating how volunteering at an airport provides them with a vital sense of purpose and community. Director Aron Gaudet and producer Gita Pullapilly (photo) joined us for a Q&A in which they shared many entertaining anecdotes about the film’s protagonists. My favorite is that at the Cleveland Film Festival, audiences were so moved by the film that they showed up at the airport to send off film subject Jerry. Now that’s the power of a documentary!
The evening was copresented by the Camden International Film Festival (a wonderful Maine event now in its fifth year) and the highly esteemed PBS strand POV (that will broadcast THE WAY WE GET BY this coming fall).