Troop greeters film headed for festival

Posted Feb. 02, 2009, at 9:49 a.m.

Aron Gaudet spent years filming the troop greeters at the Bangor International Airport for a documentary.

Now Gaudet is set to give the troop greeters their world premiere.

“The Way We Get By,” a documentary film about BIA’s troop greeters and directed by Old Town native Gaudet, has been accepted to the South By Southwest Film Festival — also known as SXSW — one of the major competitive festivals.

“I think among festivals it’s considered one of the top places where you can premiere [a film] in the U.S.,” said Gaudet, who now lives in Massachusetts. “It’s definitely an internationally respected festival.”

SXSW, which is held in Austin, Texas, runs March 13 to 21. The dates of the premiere and subsequent screenings have not been announced.

Gaudet and producer Gita Pullapilly found out last week the film had made it into SXSW, but the news was announced Monday. The news has sunk in for the two, but they’re still excited, especially because SXSW was their top choice for the premiere.

“To us, it’s a really exciting opportunity for the film,” Gaudet said. “South By Southwest was our No. 1 option because we felt like the location [in] Texas was perfect for a place to launch the movie. There are a lot of [people involved in the military] there, and it’s a very patriotic state. I think they’ll really connect to the movie.”

The film focuses on the lives of local troop greeters Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Gaudet’s mother Joan Gaudet, who have found meaning in welcoming hundreds of thousands of troops who have passed through Bangor International Airport on their way to and coming home from military service.

A 93-minute, rough-cut version of “The Way We Get By” was shown at The Strand Theatre in Rockland as part of last September’s Camden International Film Festival. The film is 80 minutes, not including credits, which was the filmmakers’ goal for length.

Gaudet, Pullapilly and other members of the film team plan to be in Austin for question-and-answer sessions. The featured troop greeters will probably not travel to the festival because of their age and health, Gaudet said.

“The Way We Get By” has been accepted by other film festivals in Cleveland, Florida, and Philadelphia. Gaudet and Pullapilly found out Monday the movie will also be shown at the Independent Film Festival Boston. They’re also excited about the film getting into the military-themed GI Film Festival held in May in Washington, D.C.

“They usually get some pretty exciting people there, senators and congressmen,” Gaudet said. “You never know who might be at a screening.”

The filmmakers also are hoping to plan some Maine showings in April.

For more information on the film, go to www.thewaywegetbymovie.com or look for the film on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

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