The Saturday after Thanksgiving happened to be Judy Carmichael’s birthday. But this year, Carmichael, a Grammy-nominated stride and swing pianist, wasn’t home in Sag Harbor, celebrating with friends. Instead, she was at sea as part of her latest gig, sailing aboard the luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity where she had been performing all week. And after a year and a half of canceled performances due to COVID-19 — some 200 of them — she’s totally fine with that.
The concept of the cafeteria is, in its purest sense, an expression of egalitarian communal dining. People from different backgrounds can sit together, share a meal and effectively connect with their “community.” It was this idea that initially hooked first-time filmmaker Lisa Hurwitz.
Inspired by a deep curiosity and empathy for the human experience, director Dawn Porter specializes in unfiltered storytelling through documentary films. “I think you have to take your ego out of the storytelling and be open to letting the story reveal itself. It’s not the story I want to tell, it’s what the story is,” she said.