JABBES MVULA, SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, UTAH - Making a film is one hell of a difficult task. As a first time Director, I have had to face my own challenges, but am so grateful that the support that I have received all the way has always lifted me when I felt low.
Firstly, my good lady Cyndi, has been my greatest darling especially during the script development stage. Cyndi happens to be my Executive Producer and at the same time my Professor in Digital Film Making at Mesa Community College in Arizona. Being my professor, she played a big role in guiding me through out the stage of script development. I would always take my scripts to her for guidance. Even after the first draft was ready, she sat with me for about two weeks guiding me in re-writing the second draft.
After we had the final draft, it was time to do the script breakdown, locations and props breakdown. It was a ladies game this time, Cyndi, Gina and Pamela who worked all their lungs out, trying several kinds of ways to make the breakdowns easily managable for a first time crew. I can just say hats off.
Am very bad at drawings, and I just did not have any clue as to how to handle storyboards. Someone had to help me again in putting on paper my ideas and interpretation of the film. Jacob Felix, Eric Aguire, Heath McKinney and Mario Carbajal were just the perfect guys I needed, I enjoyed working with these guys. It was a very hectic stage, but it was also very refreshing for me working with people who could do just anything to make my work much easier. Storyboards gave me a chance to direct the movie well in advance, making me more prepared. The period gave me a chance to get more closer some of the crew than we were before.
Two days ago, I was talking to the Chairman of the National Arts Council of Zambia, Mulenga Kapwepwe, who was very encouraging and motivating to us. Yesterday, I was talking to the Director General of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Joseph Salasini about the project. Joseph who happens to be my former boss, was just so awesome and refreshing. Everytime I talk to him, and Dr. Edgar Ngoma, our main sponsor in Zambia, I always feel highly motivated.
I have been away from Zambia for the last one and half years, and as such I couldn't have managed to know all the new Actors and Actresses that have come up lately. I knew most of them, but there were a few that I had no clue. I just do not know what I could have done if it was not for Augustine Lungu being there for me doing the groundwork. He has just been awesome and upbeat to get things moving such that as of now, almost everything is in place.
We had some problems on the ground in Zambia late yesterday, as usual, when I felt low, Cyndi gave me one piece of advice, "If it was easy to make a film, everyone would do it, and you wouldn't be making the first film in Zambia, just pick yourself up and face the challenges". That was all I needed to tackle the problem, within two hours, we were back in business.
A friend that I value in Cape Town, Precious Gumede of Shell South Africa, was kind enough to send me a cool attachment to make me smile when I told her that I was feeling so low. I needed a smile at that particular time, and I just could not believe that she could be so prompt. Later Thursday afternoon, the Press Attache at the Zambian Embassy to the United States in Washington, Mr John Mulutula, called me just to check on our progress and to encourage us. Both Cyndi and I felt so overwhelmed with excitement at the feeling that people from the embassy are so much behind us.
As we drove back to the lodge after the screenings here at Sundance, I thought, "Thank you God for all the friends that have been there for me and have lifted me whenever I've been down". My task couldn't have been made more easier than this if it was not for the support from everyone.