News Column

Author Blume makes stop in Charlottesville during film tour

June 17, 2013


June 17--Catherine Olson was all smiles Sunday afternoon at Vinegar Hill Theatre, clutching a new copy of Judy Blume's novel "Tiger Eyes," and a well-worn, autographed edition of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," the 1970 novel that propelled Blume to fame.

"I grew up with Judy Blume's books," Olson, of Afton, explained as Blume greeted fans at the venue. "I was born in 1969, so I felt like she was writing them for me."

Blume added a signed copy of "Tiger Eyes" to Olson's collection Sunday in advance of a screening of the film adaptation of the 1981 novel. The film was released earlier this month.

"Tiger Eyes" follows a teenage girl, Davey Wexler, as she deals with her father's murder. The film was produced in part by George Cooper, Blume's husband.

Blume explained that the film came together on a small budget without studio backing, so she had to take to the road to promote it in small theaters.

"We're a small movie, so there is no budget for marketing," she said. "The hope is to get people to download it at home as well."

The film was made in New Mexico mostly with actors from there to satisfy a state law, Blume said. Casting was done over a period of three days.

"We have no stars in our film, but there are people in it who are surely going to be stars," she said.

Blume has been promoting the independent film, directed by her son Lawrence Blume, around the country in the last month and a half. The tour brought her to many small, independent cinemas across the country.

"I am thrilled to be here because my husband opened a nonprofit independent theater where we live in Key West [, Fla.]," Blume said. "We are big supporters of indie authors, bookstores and cinemas."

Cooper owns The Tropic Cinema in Key West. He said his favorite part of the tour has been seeing other independent cinemas and talking shop with their owners.

"First thing when I got here was I had them ... show me their [control] booth," Cooper said.

Michelle Franco brought her three daughters to meet Blume. Franco said her daughter, Serena, 9, is a particular fan of Blume's "Fudge" books.

"They're funny and they make me feel happy," Serena said. "They just make me feel happy."

Vinegar Hill Theatre owner Adam Greenbaum said he hopes to have more events over the summer, after converting his cinema from 35mm film to digital in March.

"Obviously, we couldn't be more thrilled," Greenbaum said of having Blume at his theater. "She's an icon, and I feel like we all grew up with her."

With Vinegar Hill the last date on her tour behind "Tiger Eyes," Blume said she is ready for some rest and relaxation in her New York City summer home.

The film is slated to be shown at Vinegar Hill through Thursday.


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