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Film connects with search for identity
Filmmaker Yoonessi relied on her own experience in making Dear Lemon Lima
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Date night was made easy with a barbecue dinner and a movie last Thursday.

The feature-length independent film, "Dear Lemon Lima," drew an audience of nearly 70 cinematic art patrons at the Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville.

Gainesville State College faculty advisers and film club students were on hand Thursday night to set up and operate lights and cameras for the post-screening Q&A with the film's director, Suzi Yoonessi.

"Dear Lemon Lima" is the story of a 13-year-old half-Yup'ik girl alienated from her community in Alaska who experiences the heartbreak of first love, the challenges of building new friendships and who subsequently comes into her own.

"It's about a young girl trying to understand her heritage," Yoonessi told the audience after the screening.

It's a subject deeply personal to Yoonessi, a first-generation Iranian, who said that the doodles, bittersweet words of love and name "Lemon Lima" were all taken from her own diary.

"Dear Lemon Lima," Yoonessi's first feature film, is being shown in Brazil, Australia and Russia, and is set for limited distribution in the U.S. in February.

The second film in the series, "Children of Invention," will be shown at the Smithgall Center at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students and include the reception.

The independent films from South Art's Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers are being screened in Hall County as part of a collaboration with Gainesville State's film club and The Arts Council. The film series consists of six independent film screenings followed by a reception with the filmmaker.

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