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April 30, 2007

Frustration at Tribeca

Our experience at Tribeca has been, well, interesting. In fairness, the purpose of the festival is to promote business after 9-11. I suppose for the two weeks while the festival is going on there is an increase of traffic in the city. Mostly, I listened to New Yorkers greeting other New Yorkers who came out to see a film because they knew somebody connected to it.

Our experience was frustrating on many levels. Mostly because we came to see films not the long lines to get into the films and not the rude gate keepers taking coveted tickets. As press we have requested tickets to so many audience screenings, we have yet been able to attend a single screening where Q&A’s are the norm. We don’t know if they are occurring or what the audiences response to the movies are or what the writers, directors and actors have to say about their work. We can only provide information on a handful of films because we spent so much time in lines or on the subway trying to get to a different theaters or walking (and running) to films too many of which have been cancelled.

Granted this was our first Tribeca experience. Perhaps we made a mistake. We thought our job was to report on the films of Tribeca. Maybe it was really to report on the revitalization of New York. Our Tribeca experience in a nutshell? Cyndi asked me the other day what I wanted to see. My response? “I don’t want to go to a movie. I want to see something good!”

So, New York is exciting, amazing and fun. The people are busy living their lives. Business seems to be good everywhere we go. Mission accomplished. Good job Bob and Carol! Thanks for encouraging my colleague and me to come spend our money and our time in the Big Apple. Great way to get attention and coverage. New York was marvelous! Wish I could say the same about Tribeca.

Blessing in Disguise

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MANHATTAN, USA – I woke up today and, like all days, checked my email. Being a member of the press covering the festival at Tribeca I receive numerous emails every day. Today was no exception. As a member of the press, my job is to attend the press conferences, the press screenings and the general audience screenings. All three have a different feel or nuance.

The press conferences allow the press to ask questions of the writers, actors, producers and directors. It can be a more intimate setting that allows you discuss the motivation of the actors and filmmakers. It can also be far less intimate because, at these conferences, the goal is to sell the film. The passion and commitment to the film can create a stir and, as press, we can influence the ultimate success of a film by the films we choose to cover.

The press screenings allow the press to view a movie without the distraction or influence of the paying audiences. The oddest thing is that press screenings at Tribeca are extremely small. Most are very poorly attended with just a handful of press present. While it encourages objectivity, it doesn't do much to promote enthusiasm because the theater is so "dead." At other festivals, the press screenings tend to be better attended. We have been at Tribeca press screenings with as few as four (4!) members of the press in a theater that holds 400.

The audience screenings are typically packed. You can feel the excitement and anticipation for the film. A lot of this excitement or lack thereof, has been created by what the press has written or not written about the film. The press can and does influence the interest and support of film. So you would think allowing the press to do their job would be a priority. (See Cyndi's post about the value of the press from a distributor's point of view for more on this.)

cgpjrisk.jpgToday our email from Tribeca informed the press of a new procedure to acquire tickets to an audience screening. So far we have been unable to even get into a single general audience screening. The new process is that we need to ask 24 hours prior to a screening for tickets. They let us know in the morning if we will be blessed with tickets. Oh boy. Since there wasn't enough time to request tickets, we decided to play it safe and go to a press screening of a film we'd heard really good things about. (Sundance pal, Levi Elder, told us THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES was one of the best films he'd seen.) We can always get into press screenings so we decide "better safe than sorry." At least we could be certain we'd have something to write about.

The screening was set for a new venue, the Clearview Chelsea West. Being a little tight for time, we hailed a cab headed north. We arrived with at least 15 minutes to spare. We were informed, however, for unknown reasons, that the film ad been removed from the list for press. We were curtly informed that it would not screen. Would have been nice to know. Could have saved 10 bucks on the taxi and slept in. But, then, a blessing in disguise, we wanted somewhere to sit so we went to the TOWARDS DARKNESS Press Conference (see blog entry) and talked with some very talented folks. It all turned out in the end.

April 29, 2007

Seek and Ye Shall Find

BY CYNDI GREENING, MANHATTAN, USA – It's Sunday in Manhattan. A beautiful, bright blue sky hangs above the skyline. Our frustration with getting into films has reached a boiling point so we decided to try to get into a Broadway show instead. Ironically, that seems easier than getting into a film at the festival. As we walked toward the theaters, we stumbled upon a seekingCyndi.jpg Sikh parade moving through Golda Meir Square. There was an undulating sea of orange scarves and a plethora of flowing saris. The chanting was haunting. Click on either image to see and hear twelve seconds of the parade. That's right, twelve seconds. I didn't have a video camera with me so this was all I could get with my digital still camera. You still get the gestalt of the moment.

We were able to get tickets to A CHORUS LINE Even though this is my fourth (!) trip to NYC, it was my first Broadway show. Pamela was quite determined to get to a show and I'm glad we decided to bag the movies and catch the live theater instead. seekingPamelaJo.jpg I've loved the music for A Chorus Line since it first debuted. Seeing it was even better! I've been singing or (mercifully) humming "I can do that" and "I hope I get it" all week. "What I did for love" is in my repetoire for melancholy moments ... like those moments when we're trying to get into Mary Stuart Masterson's CAKE EATERS.

Unfortunately, much of the festival has been an exercise in frustration. We RSVP'd, as instructed. We arrived an hour early, as instructed. We got into the Badge holders line, as instructed. We got to the door of the theater and were turned away by a particularly brusque NY volunteer who told us she simply could not let us in. Hours and hours of frustration is what we experience. So, we went out to the press line to see if we could get a shot of MSM and cast and a pithy quote or two. A particularly brusque security guard tried to block our path then realized we were press and allowed us through. In the end, we saw Masterson. She appeared excited and anxious for the debut of her film ... a film we never got to see. I hope it went well.

YOUR VOICE: Use it. Share it. Express it. Film it.

BY JENIECE TORANZO "GIDGET" MESA, ARIZONA-I found these two motivational articles that my grandpa used to collect. He was an awesome man. He was very wise and a great man. R.I.P. Here is something to think about if you are struggle with things in life. It definitely helps me to keep motivated and have hope and faith! Believe in yourself and keep your voice alive by telling your story! That's what FilmZambia.com and FromScriptToSundance.com is all about! Everyone has a voice that matters. Use it. Share it. Express it. Film it.

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ANYWAY!

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!

If you do good people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway!

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!

Honesty and frankness makes you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!

The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down
by the smallest men with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway!

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdog anyway!

What you spend years building may be destroyed over night.
Build anyway!

People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway!

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!

-Karma

21 SUGGESTIONS FOR SUCCESS

1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.

2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.

3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.

6. Be generous.

7. Have a grateful heart.

8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.

10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.

12. Commit yourself to quality.

13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.

14. Be loyal.

15. Be honest.

16. Be a self-starter.

17. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.

18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.

19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

20. Take good care of those you love.

21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud.

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


"Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities.
They vary in their desires to reach their potential."
-John Maxwell

DARE TO DREAM.
TEST YOUR OWN LIMITS AND KEEP GOING.
IF THEY CAN DO IT, YOU KNOW YOU CAN.
MANIFEST IT.

April 27, 2007

What's the Story?

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MANHATTAN, NEW YORK - Today we took the opportunity to watch three documentary films at a venue for the press. WILL EISNER, PORTRAIT OF A SEQUENTIAL ARTIST; TWO EMBRACES; BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. We do like documentaries. We recognize how more people are beginning to appreciate them as well. We acknowledge that the public is becoming more sophisticated and more interested in these types of films.

You might wonder how a documentary on a man known for his contribution to the comic book world could reach a sophisticated audience but anyone who has been watching the evolution of the graphic novel craze knows that it does. eisner.jpgPORTRAIT addresses Eisner’s contribution not only to animation but to young animators. Many artists including Neil Gaiman expressed their awe for his talent and their appreciation for enlarging the comic book venue to the adult population with adult topics, concerns and opinions. Eisner’s work was revolutionary. It expanded to more than the typical superhero stories. Comics became political and relevant mainly because of Eisner’s insight and vision. Eisner died in January of 2005 but his work has enabled others to see a different possibilty and experiment with their own vision.

TWO EMBRACES (DOS ABRAZOS) is a movie from Mexico. Since I lived there for 17 years, I am always interested in movies from and about Mexico. This was actually two movies blended together by a shared moment. What I appreciated about these films is the subtle acting that occurred. When you live in Mexico you realize that children are taught to act at festivals and school plays and presentations with theater flair and overly dramatic preformances. Watch a novela and you will know what I mean. In TWO EMBRACES, the actors were subtle and thus more powerful.

As for BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH, we weren’t sure for quite some time if we were watching a feature or a documentary. We weren’t sure if the story was about the circus or the political situation or the social ramifications in Uzbekistan. There were some amazing shots and even some story lines I wish they had developed more, but mostly I wish they had chosen one of the story lines and developed it into a more thoroughly satisfying film.

After today’s viewings, we felt that there are some amazing stories that need to be told. More voices that need to be heard. The ability to create these beautiful shots should enhance the story. Today’s technology should enable the filmmaker to add more depth to their story, but first the story has to be clear and crisp and did I mention clear? We know we can do some amazing things with the software that is available to us. We must not forget that it begins with the story and it should be about the story and it should end with the feeling of experiencing an unforgettable story. That's the story for today's slate of films.

Divine

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, TRIBECA, NEW YORK - We walked by a restuarant in Tribeca and I immediately wanted to eat at this restaurant.tribeca-grill.jpg Any eating establishment that has several limos out front and chauffeurs waiting under the awning seems like a safe bet. It took a bit of convincing for me to seriously consider the money side but Cyndi can be convincing about enjoying life in the moment. When will we be in New York again?

So we squared our shoulders and walked in like we owned the place. Turns out Robert DeNiro owns the place! They offered to take our coats and asked if we were listed. We were not of course but they seated us anyway!

We were pleasantly surprised by the prices and delighted with our entre choices. I believe Cyndi used the word divine several times with her Wisconsin accent! Imagine that! After her being a tad grumpy she perked right up after tasting the bread and wild mushroom and fontina ravioli. We really wanted the dessert but there was no way we could eat another bite and then walk, not roll, to the subway.
We will be frequenting the TRIBECA GRILL again before I leave. After all darling, it was divine!

Whining at Tribeca

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN - MANHATTAN, NEW YORK - Today was a busy day! It was a beautiful rainy New York day. We won’t discuss what happens to my hair on rainy days. Not very relevant. So Cyndi decides to override my cheap ways and hails a cab! To tell you the truth, it would have been faster to walk to the subway. She was mad that I was up and ready to hit the road by 8 a.m. Some people are a tad temperamental in the morning!

So we get to the private screening facility to watch THE DEVIL RODE ON HORSEBACK This is a documentary based on Brian Seidle’s experience in Dafur. Brian was a retired soldier hired as a peace keeping observer (the entity that hired him was never really established). Using his camera, he was able to document the genocide that was occurring there in 2003 - 2005 (and continues to this day). This movie showed Brian witnessing the massacres and also his own self-revulsion at being unable to stop the murders that were occurring right in front of him. He was convinced that his photographs would provoke an immediate response from the world and, in particular, the U.S. government. Although his message is very clear, I felt the film would have been more affective as a narrative feature. I believe more people would have been reached and more would have reacted as Brian naively expected.

I would like to address the whole Tribeca private screening experience. Apparently, in the past at Sundance, the press were allowed to check out movies to take home for private viewing (until last year when someone decided to copy them and distribute covertly). So, they discontinued that option. At Tribeca, they set up a little room with maybe 10 stations for press and industry to view films on a large flat panel display. We all wear earphones. These do enable you to hear your movie but they don't quite mask the sound of everyone walking on the wooden floor above the screening room, people talking outside the screening room and even the noisy reactions of other screeners viewing other movies. The DVD of the movie we watched kept freezing and doing an unpleasant digital dissolution. Very annoying! Someone needs to resolve this issue.

tribecagirl.jpgAfter viewing this movie, we both needed to take a moment and absorb the information and the graphic images of the film. We walked, in the rain, to our next venue, a film workshop. This workshop discussed the different digital cameras and how they all are transferred to film. We were able to view short clips of current films (like CONTROL ROOM and IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS and JESUS CAMP) with details on the cameras and methods used by their filmmakers. We were really able see the benefits and shortcomings of different cameras and formats in the process of converting a film to (literal) film. This made me feel confident and relieved for our feature, which was shot on a Sony HD HVR-Z1U. The documentary, however, was made using four different cameras and four different formats. What a nightmare that puppy will be to blow up! OOOPS.

Afterwards, we went to a few of the press coverage screenings. Nice, but there are no Q&A’s. We hope tomorrow (when we see a movie with a festival audience) that there will be Q&A’s. We really enjoy the insight and understanding the Q&A's provide regarding the filmmakers' process and goals.

Full Frame Winners Announced

The tenth annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival was held in North Carolina from April 12 through April 15. The winners of this year's festival were announced! Many of the films were programmed at Sundance. We screened one of the films this morning, here at Tribeca. Another of the award winners is on our screening schedule for the weekend! Notice how many films are about Africa and African issues!

FFDFF_10.jpgFULL FRAME GRAND JURY AWARD
The Monastery
Directed by Pernille Rose Grønkjær.
Produced by Sigrid Helene Dyekær.

FULL FRAME JURY AWARD FOR BEST SHORT
Cross Your Eyes Keep Them Wide
Directed and Produced by Ben Wu.Honorable Mention
Zo is dat (The Way It Is)
Directed by Elizabeth Salgado.
Produced by Frieder Wallis.

FULL FRAME AUDIENCE AWARD
War/Dance
Directed by Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine.
Produced by Albie Hecht.

CENTER FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES FILMMAKER AWARD
The Ants
Directed by Kaoru Ikeya.
Produced by Yoko Gon.

THE CHARLES E. GUGGENHEIM EMERGING ARTIST AWARD
The Monastery
Directed by Pernille Rose Grønkjær.
Produced by Sigrid Helene Dyekær

SEEDS OF WAR
Uganda Rising
Directed by Jesse James Miller, Pete McCormack.
Produced by Alison Lawton.
The Devil Came on Horseback
Directed by Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern.
Produced by Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Jane Wells, Gretchen Wallace.

FULL FRAME SPECTRUM AWARD
Banished
Directed by Marco Williams.
Produced by Two Tone Productions and Center for Investigative Reporting.

Honorable Mention
Leila Khaled, Hijacker
Directed by Lina Makboul. Produced by Robert Danielsson, Tussilago Productions, Sveriges Television.

FULL FRAME INSPIRATION AWARD
Forever
Directed by Heddy Honigmann.
Produced by Carmen Cobos.Honorable Mention
Lake of Fire
Directed and Produced by Tony Kaye.

FULL FRAME PRESIDENT’S AWARD
Lumo
Directed by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Nelson Walker III.
Produced by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Nelson Walker III, Louis Ableman.
A P.O.V. Film.

FULL FRAME WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP AWARD
Shame
Directed by Mohammed Naqvi.
Produced by Mohammed Naqvi, Jill Schneider.

THE KATHLEEN BRYAN EDWARDS AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
For the Bible Tells Me So
Directed and Produced by Daniel Karslake.

FULL FRAME/WORKING FILMS AWARD
The Devil Came on Horseback
Directed by Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern.
Produced by Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Jane Wells, Gretchen Wallace.

FULL FRAME/EMERGING PICTURES AUDIENCE AWARD
Angels in the Dust
Directed by Louise Hogarth.
Produced by James Egan, Louise Hogarth.
A Participant Production

April 26, 2007

New York Minutes

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MANHATTAN, USA – On our first taxi ride in New York our cab driver tried to rip us off. I looked at the meter and saw $25.50. I asked if we could swipe our credit card. The swiper was right in front of me! Nope. Cash only. How much? $40.00 dollars. Huh? We let him know we might be from somewhere else, but we aren’t dolts! That same day another taxi driver took the long way around. It took 20 minutes to go 5 miles! I picked up on their tricks. Tonight we took a taxi. He tried the tricks. He asked if we wanted to go 6th ave or 10th. We told him whatever was fastest. He said you can never tell in New York City. I told him to drop us off right where we were. We were a block from our B&B. That will be $4.30. Now we are talking!

We have experienced some wild animals. They are called rats. So far we have met three. I wanted to take a picture of this rather large rodent, but they scurry around so fast!

wickedpJ.jpgTonight we rode the subway up to Broadway. I am getting really good at swiping my subway card. You would think I was a local. I am amazed at the night life of this town. Everyone is out walking around. Broadway was sooooo cool. We had a Mary Tyler Moment without the hat!

I love this town! I have not experienced the New York attitude except from people who aren’t really from New York! Funny how that is. After our cab situation, I was so disappointed that I put on my tough girl in your face don’t mess with me attitude. One of the reporters I met today asked how long I have lived in New York! Oh about 24 hours!

The subway has been another grand experience. We bought an unlimited 7 day pass. I can ride anywhere for 7 days! I would like to say it was a conscious choice to ride the “6” downtown, but it was an error made by my traveling companion. You should never trust those teacher types! So off we went, climbed up the stairs, crossed the street to get to the other side of the subway, down the stairs and here comes that lovely public transportation. We even heard a guitarist entertain us in the station. How cool is that?

I haven’t even mentioned the food yet. There are these cute little cafes everywhere! So much competition can be a good thing for the customers! We have tried Italian, American. I have been told the Mexican food is something to avoid. How can I live without salsa! Someone help. This is New York City. Get a rope! Tomorrow will be another grand adventure. Wait that would be today! What is the point of sleeping? It really does get in the way! I don’t want to waste my New York minute.

Tribeca Day One

BY CYNDI GREENING, NEW YORK, USA – The east coast festival experience has begun and it is completely different from the Sundance experience. Sundance swallows up Park City, Utah and consumes the consciousness of everything around it. It becomes the have-all, be-all, end-all. Tribeca is held in lower Manhattan and, well, let's be honest, it would be awfully dang hard for anything to swallow The Big Apple. It felt like we walked a million miles today trying to get our press credenticals, locate the Box Office, get the details on Press Conferences and Press Screenings. We walked back and forth and around Tribeca. Lovely part of the city (in the past, I spent far more time on the Upper East Side, Union Square and Greenwich Village) with a feel all of its own.

tribecatix.jpgTribeca has about ten times the number of attendees as Sundance (465,000 vs. 42,000). They have about the same number of films. Tribeca reporterd 2250 feature submissions in all categories versus Sundance with 1502. Tribeca reports around 2300 short films were submitted from 41 different countries. Tribeca will screen 157 feature length films and 88 short films.

Tomorrow, we will screen FRAULEIN, a Swiss and German film about three women from the former Yugoslavia. We'll also be catching THE DEVIL RODE ON HORSEBACK, a documentary that I had wanted to see at Sundace but missed. Finally, we'll be going to a DIGITAL TO FILM WORKSHOP. There's a chance we'll be able to record it. They said it was lightly attended today. I hope that means we won't have trouble getting in tomorrow.

As festivals go, this is an odd one thus far. We've got ten more days to go so I'm sure it will shift for us soon. The press corps is omnipresent here ... far more so than at Sundance. There are reporters and broadcasters everywhere and the coverage is intense.

Masseuse Wanted!

PAMELA JO BOWMAN - MANHATTAN NEW YORK - Yep, we are in New York City! Trying to attend the Tribeca Film festival. Today we rode the subway down to Tribeca. We managed to locate the building on Greenwich for our credentials. Then we headed 1/3 mile away to the press lounge. Tribeca.jpg

We found out where we could set up interviews with industry people. We found out about private screenings so back to the Greenwich location to set up some screenings. We found out the movie we signed up to cover tonight was really just the red carpet arrival of “the stars”. We had to stand and wait for any available seats. We had to go to the theater where that screening was being held to buy any available seats for the films being shown within 24 hours. (several miles away, and no shuttles.) We asked about tickets for a screening to be held in 4 days. I think that would be out of the 24 -hour requirement, but no, we still had to go to the theater and wait ‘stand by’. Great fun! We were unable to get in. Back and forth we walked to get information and to find out they could not accommodate us. My feet, I can’t feel my feet! Numb, numb, numb. We have had some New York minutes, but that will be another blog!

We realize that this is our first experience at Tribeca. Our only reference is Sundance and SXSW. Every festival has their own way of producing their festival. What we have discovered is that Tribeca is in Manhattan. What that means is if you want to see any screenings you have to plan very carefully because the location screenings are very far apart. The best choice is to stay in the same location and see whatever they happen to be showing for the day. The private screening idea is pretty cool, but the movies of choice are limited to those that need more media exposure. All in all, it is a little frustrating as far as press goes. pjmap.JPG
So, if all else fails, enjoy the food, learn to ride the subway, take pictures like a tourist and enjoy being in New York City! OK. Left to my own devices, I know how to do that! Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully we will be more successful in covering this event as it progresses! All I have to say, ok…all I have to say right now is... know a good foot masseuse?

April 22, 2007

Broadway Bound ...

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA — We're heading for The Big Apple this week for the Tribeca Film Festival. I've been trying to expand the number of festivals I attend and blog about. While I love Sundance, it's only once a year AND there are a number of other good festivals out there. This will be my first Tribeca. Last week, we met with a producer/mentor who said Tribeca was "over-sponsored." I thought Sundance had to be the most over-sponsored festival in North America (I'm assuming Cannes holds the European title) so I'll be curious to see how the festivals compare.

Tribeca is sure to be quite different from Sundance. For starters, it's in a very populated city. Sundance cannibalizes a very small Utah town. There are more venues for Tribeca, more family films and family events. There aren't quite as many films. They're about the same duration, about the same price. Our current plan is to capture many Q&A sessions, to interview filmmakers AND review films we screen. The key goal is to take our blog readers to Tribeca in the same way we take them to Sundance. Hopefully, it will encourage indie filmmakers to look at all the festival possibilities for their films.

happyAlec.jpgOne of the most exciting things for me will be seeing ALEC HART (one of the FilmZambia crew members who also happens to be my son). Alec lives in New York and works at Subvoyant, a post production house. He works with MIKE LUCIANO, a former MCC student. I'll be able to catch up with JACOB FELIX also (another FilmZambia crew member) who is now interning wtih Jonathan Demme, director of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Pamela is going to do some research on a film project she's working on. We're both going to meet with distributors and broadcasters about the films. Should be an eventful week. Stay tuned for more reports.

April 21, 2007

Africa Captured

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, USA - We all had preconceived ideas of what Africa would be like. These images reflect moments where we stopped and grasped what was real for each of us.
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sunset.jpg

Photographs by FilmZambia Unit Photographer Mike Montesa

April 20, 2007

We Did IT

PAMELA JO BOWMAN - MESA, ARIZONA - This last Wednesday, Cyndi and I flew over to LA to talk to two producers. We went looking for direction and information about distribution and marketing. These seasoned producers were very helpful. At the end of the day we were exhausted from the amount of information we obtained and exhilarated in learning that we were doing things right. We are seeing the results through the interest of some serious distributors. We told them whom we had contacted and who had responded and they assured us that any of those companies were reputable and could be trusted to package our projects successfully. happyjabbes.jpgThere were two moments that made me realize the truth of the saying "Ignorance is bliss." In viewing our trailers both producers commented how ambitious it was for our crew to think we could go to another country and start the film industry there. Both producers had to swallow their amusement at our naiveté. Seeing our situation through their eyes made us laugh at ourselves and also smile because we didn’t know what we couldn’t do and so we ended up doing it. It all began with Jabbes. He didn’t know what he was asking for when he approached Cyndi requesting her to help him shoot a movie in Zambia. None of us did, but we did it.

April 19, 2007

Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe

simonkapwepwe.jpgBY CYNDI GREENING, GILBERT, ARIZONA – According to the CIA Factbook, "The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] South Africa Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964."

One of the leaders of the Zambian independence movement was Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe. The father of Mulenga Kapwepwe (our dear Zambian friend with the Zambian National Arts Council), Simon became the second vice-president of Zambia. He was born in Chinsali on April 12, 1922. At age 12, he became friends with Kenneth Kaunda who was also a Chinsali native. The two later met again at Lubwa Mission where they were trained as teachers. Kapwepwe started teaching primary school in Kitwe but he was already dissatisfied with the colonial government. In 1948, he was a founding member of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress, which was later to be come the Africa National Congress. He became a member of the national executive and was secretary of the Kitwe Branch.

In 1950, Kapwepwe quit teaching to pursue further studies (including Journalism) on a four-year scholarship to India. When he returned to Zambia on January 6, 1955, Kapwepwe found ANC without a leader as both Harry Nkumbula and Kaunda were in prison for having literature deemed subversive by the government. Kapwepwe took over the leadership and quickly acquired a reputation as a firebrand because of his persuasive oratory skills. Among his newly acquired policies were racial equality and passive resistance to colonial power.

I found an audio recording from 1965 by the African Writers Club. Simon Kapwepwe is discussing the challenge of Zambia's position between primarily white-controlled Southern Africa and independent Africa.

"The power which establishes a state is violence; the power which maintains it is violence; the power which eventually overthrows it is violence." — Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia

In The Dark and In the Light

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN - MESA ARIZONA - This 52 year old widow graciously allowed our film crew to set up our equipment and shoot a scene in one of the three rooms in her home. Laying in the corner of the room, on a thin mattress, was one of her six children, a son. lady2.jpgHe was a young man, probably in his early twenties. He was so small and thin he seemed more like a child than a man. He was dying. One of the actors told us that at one time he was a vibrant young man, full of life and mischief. I spoke with this woman about her life, her dreams, her hopes. She professed not to have any. I asked her if she was happy. "No, I am not. I have so many problems." She has lived a hard life providing for her family. She lives day to day, but she lives. After the shoot, Cyndi offered her financial compensation for her home, a "location fee." We were told the family could live for a year on that location fee. We also gave her two bags of candy to pass out to the neighborhood children. It was then that we saw a smile beneath her sad eyes. We have been back in the U.S. for many months but this woman's eyes still haunt me in the darkness and in the light.

April 16, 2007

Film Party

BY JENIECE TORANZO "GIDGET" MESA, ARIZONA USA - It's interesting to see how the contact process works. Who has connections to which production companies? If you start at the bottom of the email and read up, it shows how this event started, who contacted who and how the invite came to Jeanette who then sent to the crew. It's crazy to think that it's like a domino effect and somehow we are all linked to each other.

On the night of the party, we also went to crew member Edgar's graduation. Luckily, the locations were right down the street from each other. Although both events were starting roughly at the same time we were able to attend them both. So what we did was go to Edgar's party for a little bit then run over to the museum party and then back to Edgar's party again. When we arrived at the museum party, there weren't many people there because most had dropped in earlier. In the end, we enjoyed it because we were able to converse with people. It was nice and intimate. The place was amazing to look at and to see of all the film related equipment in the early stages of television and filmmaking. Check that out. The emails are actually from the Director/Producer themselves! I guess it goes to show you that who you know can really be helpful!

You can check out a video of that night.

Film Party (Large QT)

Film Party (Small QT)

---------------------------------

Here is how the the whole thing went down:

This email was sent to all the crew members from Jeanette. Thanks Jeanette. Good looking out!


From: "JeanetteRoe"
Subject: Fwd: NATAS Holiday Invite
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 11:37:33 -0700
Hi again,
I found the email. The invite came from:
Ben Avechuco
Producer/Director
EIGHT / azpbs.org


Jeanette Roe
Media Arts Faculty
Mesa Community College

Holiday06MCC copy.jpg


Begin forwarded message:

From: Matthew Ford
Date: December 9, 2006 11:27:49 AM MST
To: jroe@mail.mc.maricopa.edu
Subject: Fwd: NATAS Holiday Invite

Jeanette,
Got your message, Ron mailed me a copy, so I'm forwarding it to you, for class on Tuesday, hope it helps. The info should be in the attached file/jpg.
Matthew Ford
dustbunnypictures@yahoo.com
www.dustbunnypictures.com


--- Ron Rangel wrote:

To: dustbunnypictures@yahoo.com
From: Ron Rangel
Subject: Fwd: NATAS Holiday Invite
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 17:29:59 -0700

Matthew ... FYI

Ron Rangel
Coordinator Video Production
Mesa Community College
1833 W Southern Ave
Mesa, Arizona 85202
480-461-7603

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ben Avechuco
Date: December 6, 2006 5:23:34 PM MST
To:
Subject: NATAS Holiday Invite

Ron,
Thanks for talking with me about the Theatre/Film Program at MCC. I hope that NATAS can be a good resource for your students, since they are the future content creators four the industry. I've attached a printable invite to the holiday party. I hope you can come! If you have any questions, feel free to call me at KAET: 480.965.3506

Ben Avechuco
Producer/Director
EIGHT / azpbs.org

National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter

April 10, 2007

Amazed and Appreciative

PAMELA JO BOWMAN - MESA ARIZONA - I read a story of a teacher who had retired after 30 years of teaching. Years later she received a letter from one of her former students expressing his appreciation for what she had done for him. After all those students and all that teaching she cried to receive this small acknowledgement for her lifelong efforts. One letter from one student after 30 years of teaching!

Working with Cyndi I am constantly amazed at the amount of email she receives everyday. I am even more amazed because a week rarely passes without her hearing from a former student. This last week a student wrote asking her to confirm that she would be teaching a particular class this fall. He doesn’t want to take the class unless Cyndi is teaching it. This kind of acknowledgement is common for Cyndi, but never expected or even shared. She is always delighted to hear from her students. She has a ton of success stories of students that credit their current careers because of the knowledge she imparted to them in her classes.

I have known Cyndi as a teacher for over 5 years now. I realized from my first class that I finally had a teacher whose first goal was to teach each individual in her class. As an older student returning to hone my skills I was terrified. My fear did not dissuade her. Instead she found ways to reach my mind and all the minds in my class. Through the years when I heard of students attending MCC I always recommended her classes. Whenever the MCC class schedule came out I would scour the classes to see which ones she was teaching and I hoped those classes would fit into my busy schedule. Last year I took a Cyndi Greening class with my oldest son. He too came out of every class excited about what he learned and eager to return to learn more. I have a BA in communications. I have taught school myself. I have even been a vice president of a school board. I have never experienced a teacher like Cyndi Greening. Every class we learned more then we ever anticipated and we were taught in ways that enlarged our understanding.

It is the students and by extension the community who have benefited from her dedication to reaching the student. She continues to be committed to each and everyone of her students, prior and current. It is always amazing to see and experience someone who’s first priority is getting the job done well not to impress his or her boss but because that is their job. So I add my letter to her growing and well deserved collection. Thank you Cyndi.

April 02, 2007

Letting Off Steam

BY JENIECE TORANZO "GIDGET" MESA, ARIZONA USA- O.K. so this should have been done a long time ago! But, better late than never right? Or what I like to call-fashionably late. Ha ha. O.K. so I started this little project just a few weeks after we got back. It shouldn't have taken so long, but it did. It ended up on the back burner for awhile due to some really gnarly deadlines we were trying to meet. We won't go there though. LettingOffSteamImage.jpgAll I had to do was color correct, change the size and some photo touch ups. Then import the photos into Final Cut along with the music. Then arrange the photos to where I want them. After that, go to After Affects to create the title and end piece (didn't like the plain simple ones that Final Cut offers). After creating both titles, render them out then go back to Final Cut and import them. Then add a fade in transition on the title and end piece. Also add a fade out on the music at the end.

Finally, save (of course I'm constantly saving often and saving early) and then export it to Quicktime. Then of course, if it's for the web, you want to import it into Sorenson Sqeeze to sqeeze the little buggers out of 'em. I mean make them smaller in order for it to play well on the web. Of course make sure you have at least two options-a small and a large video. So, anyway, here is a short quicktime video for all of ya's to enjoy! A trip down memory lane....awww good times, good times. I really do miss it.

Letting Off Steam in Lusaka, Zambia (Large QT)

Letting Off Steam in Lusaka, Zambia (Small QT)

Pictures were taken at "The Dolphin" restaurant where we shot one of the scenes for BAD TIMING. We ate dinner there with the whole crew and a few of the cast to celebrate the films. Heath and Edgar sang the karaoke. Soooo funny. We then went to a club to dance with the locals. It was amazing and awesome! Everyone is such great dancers and play awesome music! Love it!