As soon as we walked into the American Theater for The Garden Summer premiere, we noticed the attention to local details — rosemary-bourbon cocktails from the Belmont in glass jars, movie posters hand-printed by Sideshow Press, and Charleston photographer Sully Sullivan at the photobooth helm.
The evening was a celebration of the first public viewing of Hailey Wist’s independent film, a documentary focused on five young people, practically strangers, surviving a summer living off of what they could produce from a farm in Arkansas. The locavore theme of the film influenced the community feel of the fête — I wouldn’t be surprised if the rosemary sprigs in the cocktails were from a friend’s backyard.
The crowd was buzzing with anticipation to see Wist’s two-year endeavor come to fruition. Much of the creative crowd — filled with local artists, designers, musicians, and models — first learned of The Garden Summer project from a presentation Wist made at a May 2011 Pecha Kucha in Charleston. The intimate setting of the American Theater and the familiarity of the crowd gave the screening a feel of sitting down with family to watch an old super 8 — even everyone’s favorite patriarch Bill Murray showed up as the lights dimmed.
The film was as lovely as expected and the crowd gave a standing ovation to Wist and her farm friends before everyone headed off to the after-party for a few more libations from the Belmont.