"As a life long educator, I am a strong supporter of the arts in schools and communities. The festival draws together individuals not only from Sarasota but across the globe. When we celebrate and nurture each other's creativity, talent, and diversity we are stronger as a community. I have seen first hand the excitement of our festival goers as they come to the box office to plan their movie schedules and purchase tickets. Many attend the festival each year. The conversations that take place are vibrant because of our love of film."
Where were you born and raised and what brought you to Sarasota?
My hometown is Perrysburg, Ohio, which is a suburb of Toledo. I still have a home there and work part time at the local Educational Service Center. We've had relatives and friends who have resided here since the 1960s and my father moved to Sarasota full time in 1990. After many years of visiting, my son and I grew to love this community, and I am looking forward to making this my year round home.
You were a Principal of a school. What was the hardest part of your job? What was the most rewarding?
I was an elementary principal for eighteen years in three different districts in Northwest Ohio. Specifically, one of the most challenging aspects of the job was going through a five-day strike in the early 1990s. Fortunately, I had a positive relationship with our staff and with my administrative colleagues. We were able to respectfully resume working together after the short-lived strike. I credit the dedication of our teachers in helping mend fences quickly for the sake of our students.
By far, the most rewarding aspect has been interacting with thousands of children throughout my career. I have always viewed by role as a surrogate mom for my students and find it so gratifying to follow their lives and careers with great pride. I had the wonderful experience of having my son in my building and of course, I'm extremely proud of him as he completes his doctoral work at the University of Washington where he works and teaches.
I have been very fortunate to get to know so many fantastic teachers, staff members, and parents over the years. One very special colleague mentored me my first year as a principal. She and I became best friends and still work together to this day, sharing an office and serving as professional development consultants together. How lucky is that?
You are planning a trip back to Paris this year. How was your experience the first time in the "City of Lights" and what do you hope to see and explore this second time around?
My son and I made a whirl-wind trip several years ago when we took the Eurostar from London to Paris for a day. Since studying French for four years, I had wanted to visit Paris and can't wait to return. On my second trip I hope to rent an apartment and spend a few weeks strolling the city, visiting the museums, and taking in the views that I have been reading about for many years. I want to experience Paris on a much deeper level. My dream is to return for a few weeks every couple of years.
WORKING WITH SFF
How long have you been volunteering for the Sarasota Film Festival and which departments do you volunteer in?
This will be my fourth year volunteering for the festival. I volunteer at the pre-box office as well as at the front desk in the office on Cocoanut Avenue. In addition, this year I am having the pleasure of doing some volunteer tasks related to membership and marketing for John and Ali.
Complete the following sentence: I love volunteering because...
It is my opportunity to give back to our community and show gratitude for the good fortune I experience in my life. I love meeting people and helping them reach their goals and dreams.
Many years ago, my father was critically ill and hospitalized for several weeks in Sarasota. As it happened, the festival coincided with our stay. My sister, son, and I bought tickets during the film festival to see "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming." That was a real gift for us. We had some time to escape from constant worry and to laugh. I made a promise to myself that when I was able to spend more time in Sarasota, I would volunteer for SFF. It meant that much to us.
Do you have any tips for new Volunteers in getting the most out of their Volunteer experience?
Enjoy each new experience you have and celebrate the opportunity to interact with the SFF staff. You will meet many interesting, creative people in our community. Every task completed by volunteers is important and appreciated. Our volunteer coordinator, Marlene, does a terrific job of organizing and motivating volunteers. Have fun and enjoy the passion!
FINDING SUE IN FILM
Why is independent film important to you?
I love the uniqueness, ingenuity, varied subject matter, and thought provoking qualities of independent films. I applaud the creativity of artists to translate their story to film in a manner that overcomes many challenges. Independent film makers are persistent and passionate. Independent films have the potential to pique our thought, challenge our thinking, and become the impetus for change.
What was one of your favorite films growing up?
Our family enjoyed watching The Sound of Music together. My father was a very young man when he served in WWII so the theme and location of the movie were very meaningful to him. My parents loved the musical score of the film, and I remember my sister and I playing some of the songs on the piano and singing various songs in school choir and ensemble. It was definitely a favorite family movie for years.
Since you are traveling back to Paris, are there any French films you enjoy?
I love the movie Amelie. The scenery throughout Paris is a delight and Audrey Tautou is adorable. I can't help but smile!
What are you most excited about SFF for the 19th season?
I am of course looking forward to seeing many wonderful movies. I always buy a membership. It's a wonderful value and I'm sure to get tickets for the movies I absolutely don't want to miss. I thoroughly am enjoying renewing friendships with the SFF staff and look forward to meeting many festival goers at the box office. It's always a treat to say, "I remember you from last year. It's great to see you again!"