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December 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Cyndi!! We love you!

BY CREW FILMZAMBIA, MESA, ARIZONA, USA
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Cyndi and younger sister Sandy in the driveway on Grandma Greening's farm in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Sandy found the haircuts quite alarming ... Prince Valiant, anyone? The shoes are something else, too! Mine look a little large while Sandy's look a little on the tight side. Notice how her feet are punching up like bread rising in a pan. Sandy was one of my best buddies in my youth and continues to be one of my closest allies. Seeing the photo of the two of us is a terrific birthday gift!

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Pamela, "BA" Bowman
Happy 50th birthday!
There are so many things I could tell the world about you. Nervous? You should be! Let’s see…

You are who you are and “you are quite clear” on what you want. What is unique about you is your ability to help others gain clarity on what they want. I have benefited from your constant teaching this year. You have given those you know such a profound gift of self. As you have given us a sense of who we are I have watched you discover more of who you are. It is true we call you the GT (giant toddler), but in truth we all need to be more childlike. We all need to accept and love people as they are. This empowers all to become more of who they are intended to be.

Thank you for all you have done this year. I am quite confident that your next half century’s contribution to the world will be very significant, valuable and LARGE! Your brilliance is shining brighter all the time. We are not blinded by the light, but guided by it.

Thank you Cyndi. I celebrate your life.
Always, Pamela


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M.K. "Gypsy Punk" Racine
Joyeux Anniversaire, Cyndi!

This is the second year I have been able to be part of your birthday and I hope to continue this well into the future. You have come to be a major part of my life, Cyndi. Academically you enabled me to flourish in the creative and supportive environment you so patiently and consistently provided. And eventually, the technical expertise you supplied me with, met the creativity I had within. Thank you!

Professionally, you entrusted me in roles and responsibilities far beyond that of which I thought I was capable. Again, I learned from you not in a classroom, but in the openness of a country primed for growth and opportunity, a reflection of me. How can I possibly thank you enough?

Personally, Cyndi, you have become a dear friend, one who provides humor, words of wisdom, comfort, compassion, knowledge, a positive perspective, and timely wit, among so many other gifts.

I don’t believe there is a birthday gift ample enough to show my appreciation for you and the various ways in which you have enriched and impacted my life. This birthday I wish you all the happiness you can handle through the gifts of love, friendship, good fortune, success, prosperity, good health and all other gifts important to you. Thank you and Happy Birthday, Makumba!

Je t’aime! –MK

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Carlos "Shake Shake" Espinosa
Feliz cumpleanos…

Cyndi, well what can I say, even though I have known you for quite a few years already, I have not formally said happy birthday to you, You always hide it so well.

The big Five-0; well you are young at heart. It has been a privilege to be one of your students, to learn from you, to be motivated by you, to get pushed like nobody has pushed me before and more importantly to have your friendship. You have given me many wonderful gifts in life and this I cannot repay you...thanks for everything you have done for me.

So far, you have accomplished great things in life, and it seems that you are just getting started, I hope to be part of many more birthdays and experiences.

Te deseo felicidad, prosperidad, salud, amor y dinero……Cheers!
Carlos

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Nick "Tick-Tock" Marshall

Cyndi,

Well wishes for all birthday celebrations! Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge and honesty with me. You've been a patient teacher and a caring friend. I hope your birthday is joyful and fun.

-Nick



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Jared "Grace" Moschau
I wish you a happy birthday and the best big 5-0. You have been a great influence on me and have pushed me to do things that I wouldn’t make myself do and I am not the only one. You are a role model to everyone that is part of the crew and also like a mother. I appreciate everything you have done for me and the opportunities that you have given to me. I hope you have another 50 great years.
Happy B-day Cyndi,
Jared

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Robby "NPB" Brown
Hey Cyndi, Happy Birthday…The way I see it, the glass is half full…love you, Robby!







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Michael Montesa

Happy Birthday Cyndi. Thank you so much for everything. Thank you for being my awesome mentor and for letting me work with you through all these years. Thanks for all the advice and thanks for being sweet and caring friend.

MALIGAYANG KAARAWAN.

   








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More birthday wishes to come throughout the WEEK!!!!
Alec "Sleeping Beauty" Hart
Jacob "Jacobo" Felix
Shawn "Nikolai" Downs
Edgar "Billie Jean" Rider
Heath "Karaoke King" McKinney

October 27, 2006

Boys Are Broadway Bound

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA & ALEC HART, NEW YORK CITY, USA – On October 16, 2006, two of the FilmZambia crew took off for "The Big Apple." While Alec spent the spring in NYC attending classes, doing an internship and, in general, having a big adventure, Jacob was at Mesa Community College taking media arts classes. After working together to make the documentary and feature films in Zambia, the guys decided the could live and work together in NYC. So, they finished editing the rough cut of the feature and boarded (a much delayed) plane headed eastward.

BroadwayBoys.jpgIt's been a little over a week that they've been gone. They report that they're putting the finishing touches on their demo reels and started to contact production companies and entities via CraigsList Manhattan. They've been spending time building their skills with AfterEffects 7. After editing the film on Final Cut Pro, their skills are well-honed in that program. As you can see by the photos, the guys were well-loved and appreciated by the gals on the crew. Jacob is surrounded by Jeniece, M.K. and Pamela. Alas, the best photo I could find of Alec was one with me. I'm sure they'll hope to be similarly surrounded in NY. We shall have to see how they do with that.

Alec reports that the weather is cool and crisp. They're doing a lot of walking and exploring. Jacob is liking the New York deli food and the architecture of the city. I'm wondering if Jacob is homesick. Based on Alec's vocal quality when he calls, I'd say he's pretty dang happy where he is ... it might even be "home" to him now. I'll keep you'all updated on their progress.

September 08, 2006

Production Crew Slideshow

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September 06, 2006

WE’RE ALL CREW

jacobo.jpgJACOB "JACOBO" FELIX, CHANDLER, USA - Waking up this morning I was out of sync. No wake up call, no cold shower, no crew, no work. This has definitely been the best job I have ever had. Sadly it has now come to a conclusion. I hope sometime in the future we all get the opportunity to work together again. The times we spent, and the friends we made in Zambia, I will miss it greatly.

I am honored that I got the opportunity to work with such a great crew. I appreciate everyone on the crew, and all the effort they gave to the project. We all worked hard and adapted well as a team. When it seemed that everything was working against us, we came together and prevailed. I want to thank everyone; I definitely learned something valuable from each of them.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Cyndi; she gave me the opportunity and experience of a lifetime. I will forever be in her debt. She took a chance on me, because I knew close to nothing about film going into this. Now I know this is the industry I will work in for the rest of my life. Thank you Mum.

Jacobo is my name (Jacob) in Spanish. Only my close friends and family call me Jacobo. It means a lot to me that the Film Zambia crew now calls me Jacobo. We’re all friends, we’re all family, and we’re all crew, the Film Zambia crew.

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August 16, 2006

Let There Be Light!

JACOB FELIX, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – We have had a very interesting time getting the lights to work. All the problems were due to power issues, we have blown light bulbs as well as transformers. The outlets here are 240V and cannot handle our 1000W bulbs, it also is not very helpful that the wiring is extremely old.

The cast and crew were on set ready to go, the lights lasted for maybe two minutes: The first one started flickering then Poof, the bulb had blown. The second one turned bright orange, then faded away as the bulb slowly died out. Then a with smell from the third one, and cloud of smoke shooting out of the transformer, and just like that we were done shooting for the day. The cool thing about this is that even thought we couldn’t shoot until the nest day the cast and crew all kept a very high morale.

The hunt was on. From one store to another, they just kept sending us to some other store. After about 5 or 6 stores we figured out that no on in the whole country carries the bulbs we need. If we ordered them the fastest it would get to us would be 3 weeks to 3 months, we leave in 3 weeks so that wouldn’t be of any help at all whatsoever. We found alternative lights that ended up working out the next day but were not nearly as advanced as the light set that we had brought with us. Ultimately, we are now using the $200.00 lights that we purchased in Zambia even though we hauled 4 large light sets that are worth $6,000.

August 11, 2006

We're Here

jacobZambia.jpgBY JACOB FELIX, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA - After 20 plus hours on a plane and running through airports we have arrived. Of course I had to be the only one to get sick on the way over here, but as soon as we arrived, I immediately began feeling better. This country is amazing; it's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The people are friendly, the food has been excellent.

Last night we all gathered at the Lusaka Play House and got a chance to meet with the cast. They are a great group of people. They resemble the characters I imagined as I read the script. We begin shooting on Monday, and after getting some much needed rest yesterday we are all eager to get to working on the film.

August 01, 2006

Film Zambia Crew

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July 23, 2006

Getting Ready for our Final Exam

tsotsi.jpgBY JACOB FELIX, MESA, AZ — Studying like the night before finals. I think this past few months I’ve prepared more for this project than anything else in my life. I’ve read the script inside and out (which I thought was a very good story) and thoroughly studied the scene descriptions. I’ve also been reading several books on film and aesthetics, I’ve even enjoyed reading these books. I’ve never really been a reader until now.

We’ve been working on some hands-on stuff. On Friday, Robby, Jabbes and I worked on assembling a camera crane which went together pretty easily. We're trying to make sure we can get it to Zambia and back again as easily as possible. We also started working on our low-budget steadicam. We got plans for the $14 steadicam (Robby blogged about that a few days ago). A few us said we were going to build one. The other night, I went to the hardware store and picked up the parts. Yesterday, at work, I put it together on my lunch break. I borrowed my uncle's camcorder and just practiced shooting with it. It works pretty good.

We're now just about two weeks from departure, I can't believe its just around the corner. I’m very excited, and anxious to get started filming. I think most of the crew feels the same way. I know from now until then, I'll keep reading, practicing, and studying everything I can. I think everyone else is doing the same thing. We all want to do our best work. So, we're cramming for "final exam" in Zambia.

July 09, 2006

Movies Without Sound

jacobframe.jpgBY JACOB FELIX, CHANDLER, USA - Movies without sound. The other day I watched scenes from a few movies with the sound turned off. To watch, and study, how major cinematography works in major films. I was watching for key things like depth of field, and how they frame up different scenes. I couldn’t believe how much we don’t notice; when the sound is on we don’t see as much because we're caught up in the story. When watching movies without sound it really helped me observe the cinematography, the lighting, camera angles and positioning. In some scenes, I could see how the better actors really know how to work with the cameras.

Watching movies this way also helped me notice that even though I love music and enjoy the dialogue of a good film, I’m more of a visual person. Watching films like this made me think, and remember, that I've always been this way. Since I was very small, I hated the movie theaters in New Mexico because they didn’t have stadium seating. I would always cross my fingers and hope that no tall or big haired people would sit in front of me. Most of the time it would happen, they would sit right in front of me. That would ruin the whole movie for me. Anyone would get irritated watching a film with obtrusive objects blocking parts of the movie screen.

Now that I'm older, I wouldn’t want to see a film with shakey shots, bad lighting, or poor editing, either. That’s why it's important that we work hard and work as a team, to make sure this film is not just made, but made well. We have what takes to get it done, and I have a lot faith in this team, that we will do an excellent job. At the meeting this past Wednesday, we got a chance to view and critique some scenes we shot a couple weeks ago. Though there were some minor mistakes, it turned out pretty good and showed us what key things we are going to work at and perfect before shooting starts. It also displayed to us that we all work well together.

One of the films I watched was LEGENDS OF THE FALL which won an Academy Award for Cinematography. Every shot was amazing. You could see that everything was well thought out and visualized beforehand. This is the state of mind that I have now; to visualize everything I look at as though I were shooting it. Where would we put the lights? Would this be a good place to set up the camera? Do I really like seeing that in the background? These are the questions I find me asking myself.

June 24, 2006

Who We Are

BY THE AFRICAN VOICE DOCUMENTARY FILM CREW, MESA, AZ, USA - The last week, we worked on a short video to give people a sense of who we are and why we're doing what we're doing. Three of the editors put together versions of varying length.

WhoWeAreSm.jpg SHAWN DOWNS put together the Who We Are in Two Minutes movie. Shawn recently graduated from Arcadia High School and will be going to the LA Film School upon his return from Zambia. Shawn is an excellent cinematographer, gaffer and all-round crew member. Shawn had a short film in the PHOENIX FILM FESTIVAL 2006. I'd count on seeing great things from him in the future.

WhoWeAreMed.jpg LINDSEY BLACK crafted the Who We Are in Five Minutes. Lindsey graduated from Mesa Community College. She has made numerous short films and is looking to build a career in the independent film industry. Lindsey enjoys acting, editing and producing. Already a Sundance veteran, Lindsey is looking forward the 2007 festival. She learned a great deal about networking at the last festival from actor, Adam Scarimbolo.

WhoWeAreLong.jpg MICHAEL MONTESA completed the Who We Are in 17 Minutes. Another Sundance veteran with a commitment to work in the independent film world, Mike is a respiratory therapist by vocation and photographer/cinematographer by avocation. Mike has won several awards at the annual Mesa Community College Art Show. In addition to being a great on-set photographer, Mike loves designing movie poster and DVD case covers. His designs are terrific.

May 22, 2006

Jacob Felix - Grip

jacobf.jpg BY JACOB FELIX, CHANDLER, USA - I first heard about this project a few months ago. Immediately I knew I had to be apart of it. The opportunity to work on a film and in another country is unbelievable. I don’t have much experience working in film, but I’m eager to learn, and this project has a great group of people that I can learn from. Since getting more involved in the project, I realized that in the beginning I had known very little about how big this project really is. We are all involved in something that I can't even put into words.

I had never met Jabbes until a few days ago; I had only heard his story. On Saturday, we all got to hear him talk about what he wants to accomplish in making his film BAD TIMING and in teaching not only the film industry, but also the world about his country and the people of Zambia. His story and words are inspiring; the passion he has is incredible. Cindy’s determination to help Jabbes on his film and create the documentary THE VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION is also very inspiring. It's also amazing to see how many great people want to be apart of this project. Now, after all of us have been meeting and discussing more on what we are going to accomplish in Zambia, any fear I might have had has now been replaced with anticipation and excitement.