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Day out of Days

Montecatini, July 10, 2004

I saw some interesting short films at the Montecatini Filmfest. I mean interesting intersting as in very interesting. But overwhelming was the generous and kind reception. An old friend had joined me there. He has shot many short films with me and seeing him again was just bliss. Late talks catching up and less bed. I was there to be awarded for my work and several clips were shown. "THE ROOM" especially was received with great appreciation. The best. It was an inspiring warm welcome for this oldest of young upcoming director. I was also given a prize for my efforts in these two days with about 40 filmstudents, directors etc.
And what I did was scary and looking back I don't know how I got it done.
I felt like doing something.

I sank in the mac's memories and looked again at the written material I have there. There is a poem which Caz - one of our esteemed writers here - has sent me maybe a year ago. I wanted to use this poem as a base for a 3-min. short film while being in Rumania last year but could not find the time. I had worked on it but had trouble making the dialogue fit the characters lips. It was not finished or ripe for shooting but after re-reading it it stuck to my mind again. I love it but I wondered if I could do it some justice. The crowd of filmmakers there were the youngest I have faced in years. I suggested to shoot as many shorts as we had cameras but had my doubts about the subject. The organizers were enthusiastic and found a location in one of the oldest thermal springs. A huge complex which would be ours on Saturday between noon and 5 pm.

Since I had found a core in myself a few days ago while shooting St*rfish Tango I decided to allow things to take their course however and wherever they would take me. I decided to be calm .I decided to do what I felt so deeply. I would grab the poem by the horns and suggested to the students to gradually have them adopt from it what they felt was right and then shoot their own intrepretation.

I had an amazing gifted girl to translate what I felt needed to be said while I told them at the same time that I refused to talk a lot but let them do what they felt and use their instincts. After the tourists left and the music from a Hungarian string orchestra had faded into silence all heads were mine. Willingly they took the playground. We shot many takes and different versions and in an hour they were all spread out with ten cameras. We had now translated the poem in Italian and they were free to go. The casting was done in a sneaky screentest but fell into place just fine and it was obvious which actors would work rogether. One actor came in late and made it all fit. Just in time. In the next four and a half they all shot what was possible.Because an external microphone could not be found and the gate had been closed some were not able to get clear and healthy readings. I decided to shoot my own English version because there was one director who had been an actress before, who reluctantly agreed to act with me if I allowd her to direct. Her reluctance was real. I know the feeling. I have it. And I used to have it very strongly. I can tell you what it is. It is fear of talent's greatness. As we calmly worked through and cut the words to a minimum she reveiled a camera talent of a caliber I have rarely encountered. What irony. Little does she know. As we were doing this I knew that one of my future projects will be with her. If time allows. And she will direct me and I will direct her. It's another piece which I own the rights to by Eric Red (The Hitcher), which I bought some 20 yrs ago. It's called "911" and entails a phonecall between a man and a woman .
At 4.30 pm we watched the material and we spread out leaving the thermal waters boiling.

The day had been grand. Filled with energy and joy. Results. I myself - apart from feeling the glow of shared inspiration - also felt I had started something special. A possible course into the Festival circuit as an initiater and coordinator of the filmmakers workshop. Which I hope to collect material from in a special webdomain called FILMFACTORY. It is a dream I have harboured since SUNDANCE. It will literally be a filmmakers' filmstock exchange where small vid docs will be traded. In this "club" one can copy a filmdocument in exchange for another while no money is involved. Happy. More about the St*rfish Shoot Adventures later. It's bedtime again..


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