November, 2006 Archives

27
Nov

Doer’s Did

by Pj in Random

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BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, AZ, USA — “A non-doer is very often a critic — that is, someone who sits back and watches doers, and then waxes philosophically about how the doers are doing. It’s easy to be a critic, but being a doer requires effort, risk, and change.”  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I am sure that many who heard about the film Zambia project were skeptical. Many of the people I talked to seemed leery and even confused as to why I would want to go to Zambia to shoot a film. Certainly it seemed exciting and adventurous, but many expressed concern, fear and even criticism for our naïve enthusiasm and high goals and ideals. Many tried to discourage us by pointing out the obvious concerns that we tried to bury in our minds before we left. I was fearful of the unknown. But I really thought 14 students led by 4 faculty could accomplish our goals. I suppose that was arrogant, but it also was brave. We were willing to go and do what no one had gone and done before.

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In reflection we wanted to support a fellow classmate with a dream to remember and honor not only his son, but all children who die prematurely. For me, that could best be accomplished through education and economic change. I was intrigued by the possibility of establishing a new industry in a third world country. We would often discuss the potential for future employment for Zambians and also to develop an art form in Africa. As digital artists we truly appreciate art and it’s contribution to the world society. I believe art in any form promotes thinking and problem solving and self- expression.

So three months after returning from Africa we are in the editing process. Our lofty goals have all been forgotten as we return to our daily activities of work and family and friends. We have discussions on what it was like before and during and after. We remember and feel badly that we didn’t have the impact for change except with in ourselves. Then we received the news that Mulenga Kapwepwe, our contact from the Zambian National Arts Council, has been running a cultural support program (including film, art and music) that was recognized by the European Union. Because of how well the program was run, Zambia is one of the top five countries chosen for ACP funding! They will have access to over EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS for continuing development of film. We have been asked to write a proposal to access funding and support future filmmaking!

Who would have thought our efforts would be recognized so quickly? Who would have thought the risks taken by MCC faculty and students to shoot a film in Zambia could have produced such results? Who would have thought the change in us as we became more of who we each were could have affected such change in a country? Non-doers doubted and critized and even at times became detrimental in the process. But doers would have thought. And doers did.

24
Nov

FilmZambia Production Podcast – Part Five

by Pj in Random

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BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — Producers Pamela Bowman and Cyndi Greening reveal the post-production challenges faced by the FilmZambia upon their return to the U.S. following 28 days in Africa. With the Sundance deadline on 21 days away and nearly 200 hours of footage, the process of shaping a story is examined. Distribution and the festival circuit are discussed. Part Five of Five.

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Podcast on Friday, November 24, 2006
FilmZambia Production Podcast, Part Five
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23
Nov

FilmZambia Production Podcast – Part Four

by Pj in Random

BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — Producers Pamela Bowman and Cyndi Greening continue talking about the production experience in Zambia. The perils and problems of production in an extremely remote location are explored to help independent filmmakers better prepare for their production experiences. Part Four of Five.

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Podcast on Thursday, November 23, 2006
FilmZambia Production Podcast, Part Four
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22
Nov

FilmZambia Production Podcast – Part Three

by Pj in Random

BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — Producers Pamela Bowman and Cyndi Greening describe some of the more memorable moments encountered by the FilmZambia crew filming in the Ngoni warriors at sunset, shooting in Mandevu and Mtendere and at the breathtaking Victoria Falls. The challenges of moving such a large cast and crew is discussed. The challenges of shooting in a country where little or no film has been produced is also covered. Part Three of Five.

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Podcast on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
FilmZambia Production Podcast, Part Three
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21
Nov

FilmZambia Production Podcast – Part Two

by Pj in Random

BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — Producers Pamela Bowman and Cyndi Greening explain the preproduction processes encountered in taking the FilmZambia crew to Africa in the summer of 2006. Carnets, cross-training, visas, customs forms and story development are discussed. Part Two of Five.

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Podcast on Tuesday, November 21, 2006
FilmZambia Production Podcast, Part Two
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20
Nov

FilmZambia Production Podcast – Part One

by Pj in Random

BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — Producers Pamela Bowman and Cyndi Greening discuss how 14 students and four (4) faculty members came to shoot the first dramatic narrative feature film and companion documentary in Zambia, Africa. Mesa Community College student Jabbes Mvula’s tragic loss of his son inspired the crew to journey across the world to help establish the film industry in his son’s name. Part One of Five.

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Podcast on Monday, November 20, 2006
FilmZambia Campfire Podcast, Part One
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12
Nov

Keeping the Fire Burning (Part Two)

by Pj in Random

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By Cyndi Greening. Phoenix, Arizona USA — More from the Film Zambia crew members as they discuss their experiences shooting the first dramatic narrative feature film in Lusaka and Livingstone. Recorded around a campfire in Mesa, Arizona, the informal conversation offers insight into the thoughts of the crew now that they’ve returned to the U.S. In Part Two, publicist and line producer M.K. Racine talks about the growth she experienced. Associate Producer Pamela Bowman discusses the difficulties with locations, coordinating the actors, communication, craft services and keeping Cyndi on the set. Each crew member is asked if he/she would go to Zambia again and what advice they’d offer to others. An entertaining and informative podcast.

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Podcast recorded in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on Tuesday, November 7, 2006
FilmZambia Campfire Podcast, Part Two
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12
Nov

Keeping the Fire Burning (Part One)

by Pj in Random

By Cyndi Greening. Phoenix, Arizona USA — Film Zambia crew members discuss their experiences shooting the first dramatic narrative feature film in Lusaka and Livingstone. In Part One, Unit Photographer Mike Montesa talks about preparing for the shoot, how many images he captured each day and how he logged them each evening. Make-Up Artist Jeniece Toranzo talks about how she originally thought she would be an editor and ended up taking on new positions to serve the film. Documentary Cinematographer and Editor Robby Brown talks about his memories of Zambian children and the special challenges he faced. Feature Cinematographer Carlos Espinosa reveals the difficulty he had shooting in a nation were someone else was accountable for locations and props. 1st Assistant Director Nick Marshall talks about how he communicated with and coordinated all of the members of the team and the challenge he faced keeping production moving.

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Podcast recorded in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on Tuesday, November 7, 2006
FilmZambia Campfire Podcast, Part One
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7
Nov

The Little Things

by Pj in Random

pamArgent.jpgBY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA – This weekend I went to my high school class reunion. I stayed in San Francisco in the financial district at The Argent hotel. My kindergarten “boyfriend” is now the general manager. After driving many hours from Phoenix, I walked into my suite to find a chilled beverage, chocolate covered strawberries and a welcoming note. It is the little things that show thoughtfulness and consideration. Or it could be that some boys will do anything to make up for not buying a 6-year-old girl popcorn at the movies?!

I hadn’t seen many of my classmates since we graduated 30 years ago. I recognized my close friends immediately. There were many classmates, however, that I did not recognize. Names were familiar but faces were not. As people came up to me, I would look into their eyes to try to catch a memory or hint of recognition. That is something I tend to do with everyone. It is how I connect. Some people were very guarded and wouldn’t let me in. Others seemed alarmed that I tried to get into their space. I guess, after all these years, they weren’t sure if it was safe. I wanted to scream, “It’s me! Let me in!” Instead, I would just smile and respect their silent retreat.

Now I am back home. Cyndi and I traveled together and so we had many hours to discuss the Zambian films and our goals for our lives and ourselves. Since it takes around twelve hours to drive from Phoenix to the Bay area, we used our travel time to record a few podcasts. I told her the noise from the tires hitting the road was too loud and they wouldn’t be usable but, just like when were in Zambia, she wouldn’t listen to me! I was right, of course. We will have to re-record them. When will that girl learn?

In one of the many discussions, we talked about how we have so many projects to get done and that, at times, we feel paralyzed by the staggering amount of work. Thankfully, the weekend provided a good break and now we are ready to get back to it. Back to looking at a hundred hours of footage for the doc and to further edit the feature. The task seems overwhelming but it has become a passion. It is difficult to separate the telling of the story from the context of everyday events. How can people fully appreciate the efforts of the crew and what we were all able to accomplish under such difficult circumstances? We truly want to convey those heroic efforts without demeaning the gracious people of Zambia and those we grew to love.

As I looked into the eyes of many of the Zambian people–people with whom I had no history, no past, no connection–I was often surprised that they were so open and willing to share their lives and feelings and frustrations with anyone willing to listen. I have come to believe that sometimes that is all it takes to find your own answers–a listening ear or a film capturing one’s words, needs and feelings. It seems that humans need to connect and share as part of growth and expansion. Providing the opportunity for another person to feel safe in expressing their deepest desires is a profound gift. As filmmakers, we tried to do that for the people of Zambia. It’s a little thing, really.

It continues to be the little things we will look for in the footage. It is always the little things that reveal the most powerful moments and tell the most profound story. And, for me, it is always about the people. Gazing into their eyes, hearing the words they spoke and feeling the truths they didn’t need to articulate . I want them to know their words and thoughts found a safe place and were not expressed in vain. I want the world to hear and be touched by their lives, their history and their heritage.

It is the small things. Always the small considerations that speak the loudest and mean the most.

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