Meet Thelma Lemberg – Sarasota Resident, Avid SFF Movie Goer & Even has a small role in a short local film.
The past couple of days I’ve been sitting on the bench outside of the Hollywood 20. I’ve met some very interesting people. Sure, the filmmakers and artists who come to town are looked upon as celebrities, but the real celebrities are people like Thelma Lemberg. She has been a local resident of Sarasota for the past 11 years. She works at Toy Lab on Main Street and just moved downtown this past January. Five years ago, she found out about the SFF and has been attending ever since. I asked Thelma if I could record our conversation and she said, “Why? I am a nobody.” I hear that more and more from the people I’ve been speaking to. I tell her, “Yes, you are somebody. Without your support and so many like you, there would be no festival.”
Do you see a certain theme or pattern to the films this year?
I’m much more aware of the theme of women, strength, independence and growth. The women are doing wonderful things with their lives. The most impressive film I’ve seen so far is called Arise. The second one is Ethel; it was done wonderfully. It was probably the truest biography I’ve ever seen. The fact that they were able to have 18 dogs on the premise at one time was impressive to me. I’m enjoying myself.
Why did the film Arise shake you at the core?
Arise surprised me the most, in the vain that women are all over the world as independent. They are taking their lives in their hands; they realize if they don’t, no one else will. It’s about women that started with nothing and forged ahead and didn’t let anything stop them. Even bringing water to where they needed it was up to them to do. It seemed to me that the men were no help at all or very little. The admiration I have for these women makes me want to do even more volunteer work.
How many films will you see over the course of the festival?
I will see approximately 14 films, about 2-3 per day. I’m skipping Fridays to have a day off.
What do you think about the festival?
It’s been running very smoothly. Standing in line is pleasant. The seat is pleasant. The theater needs an overhauling and I assume someday in the future they will do it because this town is growing. I have nothing but positive things to say about this festival.
You have a role in the film A Lot in Common, in the festival for the first time this year. Tell me about that.
I am lucky enough to work in the toy store, Toy Lab. They wanted to present something very close to the heart of Sarasota and this is Main Street. The children walk into this business and think that it’s paradise and I understand it completely. I had a child ask me if I take the toys home at night and bring them back and I told her I did. It lit up her face with a smile.
Seeing yourself on the big screen for the first time, what did you think?
Well, I don’t know anyone who likes to see themselves on screen. It was very quick and entertaining for me. Because of my age, I’m not so pleased with the way I look, but I was delighted to participate anyway.
You certainly lit up that scene Thelma and you looked like a pro! What films are you looking forward to seeing?
I plan on going on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ll see Datropia, The SRQ/FL Shorts 1, Scarlet Road and Pink Ribbons. I will tell you, I am disappointed with the film 17 Girls and the fact that 17 girls could get away with what they got away with, that they thought in a group they could take over their family’s lives. They didn’t understand anything at all. There were no girls in the group that were taught about life as it really is.
Do you attend any of the events?
No, I don’t go to the events. I don’t have anyone to go with. I feel lonely when I go to those things.
A vivacious independent woman like you! Would you go if you had someone to go with?
Probably, I might have gone to Opening Night. But there was just no reason for me to go because everything is a couple.
Perhaps there is a gentleman that will read this that feels the same way. You know, there are still four more days to the wrap party (wink)! I’ve attended these events, most of the times alone. It’s not all couples; it’s an opportunity to meet like-minded people at these events. Do you enjoy talking about the films you see?
I enjoy stories, documentaries and I like people. When I see movies that involve people who have “meat” to their lives and to their stories, I thoroughly enjoy coming out of these movies and having something to think about.
Would you change anything about the festival?
No, I think they run it very smoothly. Even the ability to get schedules was easy. Having someone sit at the desk with me and fill it out was productive. I learned that I will buy a pass next year instead of doing it individually the way I did it, not only for the money but for the convenience. I didn’t know about the pass until after I bought 10 tickets then came back and bought two more, then three more. I learned from reading the film guide.
You can check out Thelma in A Lot in Common…shared memories
Wednesday, April 18, SRQ/FLA Shorts 1 at 1:15pm.