A true boys own adventure to the heart of Patagonia without a paddle! We were making a film on the Kawésqar people of whom there are only some 15 left after a culture of many thousands of years has been diluted and spread over the west coast.
We found a beautiful fragile community in Puerto Eden, two days by boat from Puerto Natales who made us very welcome and offered a glimpse of a way of life threatened by industry.
The P2 workflow proved itself invaluable when I realised we had the rushes and Final Cut Pro on the desktop and so were able to cut a very simple film for the village school. It took an evening and helped gain the trust and cooperation of some very helpful teachers and conservationists. Many thanks to them.
My concerns over the robustness of the P2 workflow were unfounded, even when the petrol run generators which gave us 3 hours of power each night went down unexpectedly whilst backing up rushes from one drive to another!
“The Great Flood” will have its premiere at the Sheffield Documentary festival later this year.
With funding from the SDI and a coproduction in place with Skyline productions, we set off for eastern Finland to find Finnish-Karelian women who had as teenagers walked hundreds of miles, herding their cattle away from the advancing red army, often alone in one of the last century’s coldest winters.
Our chosen approach to this film was sympathetic to the visual tradition of many Nordic nations using imagery to carry narrative whilst minimising the ‘talking head’ approach to documentary. We felt this methodology was appropriate in reassessing the way historical documentary works by evoking atmosphere in a poetic sense. It was also something of an experiment in trying to achieve a cinematic sense from a small format camera.
Whilst the response of my Finnish friends and colleagues generally was “oh that Karelian story” – presumably thinking we were going to dwell on that black and white archive of heroic Finnish Soldiers in the snow – the Scottish people happily admitted they had never heard of Karelia. But then, most Finnish people my age haven’t really either. They just think they have.
One of my contributors said: “the soldiers did not start talking until the 90’s. Now it’s the 21st century and the children and women begin to feel like they can say something.” I’m glad the film has been around the world in festivals. Since they are ready to talk, I’m glad somebody wants to listen.
Research trip into two projects in development.
Vancouver is a great city, the sushi, the wooden houses in Kitsilano and the beaches. I am also bound to want to live in any city where when a bus driver gets out of his seat and wanders over to a coffee shop for a take-away latte – not a single passenger complains.
Even more wonderful however is Vancouver Island, especially the Pacific West coastline with its rainforest and crashing waves. It’s a promising wilderness that seems to make running into a black bear on your way to the shops quite possible.
And so we kayaked and built fires, cooked the chantarelles the man from the bicycle hire shop gave us, took a bus to a ferry and ferry to another bus, walked, hitch-hiked and kayaked our way across the islands.
We flew to British Columbia with one project in mind and dreamt up another, slowly, by a fire on the Chesterman Beach after a visit to a tiny little gallery in Tofino. It has something to do with art and identity, and carving wooden canoes.
With Minttu camera operating and Scott lighting as the Director of Photography we found an ideal working partnership on the set of the short drama ‘The Way We Played’. With constant problem solving and creative process we found a wordless communication invaluable on this drama set, especially when most of the crew only spoke Bosnian.
There is a certain inherent style in filming drama with bare necessities, when all you have a lot of is time. A considered and well paced working process is bound to create a considered and well paced aesthetic for the film.
And of course there are the big important other stories too, told over Bosnian coffee or the barbeques at sunset, the stories of the war, the bombings that had seemed like a distant thunder at first.