Archive for November, 2011

November 27th 2011

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Filmwise:

  • Mesocafé: Liaising with film institutions.
  • Cannes documentary: Allowing the project to breathe a little before embarking on journey to picture lock.
  • New feature: Treatment is on way to completion.

“Rest upon the wind”
Another graduate of the nightshift team has sprinkled the London sky with star dust. Stephanie Ellyne, a dear friend and former colleague at the media monitoring agency, appeared in a prominent role in “Rest Upon the Wind”, a play about Khalil Gibran, written by the great Nadim Sawalha.

Having previously been to the Tristan Bates Theatre, close to Covent Garden, there was no need for my customary last minute mad search for the venue. I, therefore, found myself strolling around Soho, with 30 minutes to spare.

Dropped into a French patisserie and was greeted by a young lady evidently trying to take advantage of the absence of customers to break the back of the closing time cleaning and washing up.

She chose a large croissant pour me. “You’ll get more for the same price!”

With batteries recharged, I arrived at the theatre door. My good friend Sean – another nightshift comrade – was already there.

The play was superb. It took me a while to warm up to the lead actor, but by the end, I had to fight the tears, so moving and transcendent were the verses from Gibran that were gracefully recited by the lead and all the cast.

Stephanie was in her element; she made the role her own. The chemistry she had with Nabil Elouahabi, in the role of Gibran, helped create a flowing performance.

After the show, I had the pleasure of meeting the cast and crew, with Stephanie selflessly doing wonderful PR work for this budding director and for Mesocafé.

The evening ended with a delicious pizza in the company of Sean.

Peace and love,
Ja’far

November 20th 2011

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Filmwise:

  • Mesocafé: Liaising with film institutions.
  • Cannes documentary: I think we may have reached a plateau with the edit. I will need to take a step back from the project to create some distance and to have a better overall view.

“Jaf?..”
Monday evening, and straight after finishing work, I found myself getting off a few stops before my station to enjoy a walk in the unusually warm November evening.
In the distance I noticed a particularly well-lit square. “This must be a film shoot!”

A few minutes later, I joined the small crowd of office workers who’d stopped to watch the film shoot en route home.

The person I stood next to happened to be working for the council. “It’s a Danny Boyle film, with James McAvoy!”. I was duly impressed.
Minutes passed, and suddenly the man himself, Mr Boyle walked outside the Victorian townhouse to chat with his DP. A woman walked her schoolboy son over to him. The director forgets about his DP and begins to answer the boy’s very intelligent questions. “Oh, I hardly do anything on set; it’s all done for me!”. He relates a story about how the glasses of an actor caused a continuity issue in one of his films. “Cigarettes are also a problem.”

Suddenly, someone comes over to me.

“Hi Jaf!”

I am a bit worried that this chap may be confusing with someone else.
He turns out to be a former member of the nightshift crew in media monitoring. He is now working as a props assistant on this project.

We reflect on the number of people who have joined the film industry since leaving that particular media monitoring agency in East London.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

November 13th 2011

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Filmwise:

  • Mesocafé: sent the film documents to the institution I mentioned last week. Liaising with other institutions.
  • Cannes documentary: The more time I spend working on this project, the more aware I become of how lady luck has been on my side – the number of people who agreed to appear in the documentary, the number of happy coincidences, the real pearls of wisdom that some of those interviewed shared with me… Still a lot more work to be done. But progress is being made.

“Snack..”

One of the joys of living in London is the long walks that one can take within an urban environment. Indeed, the location of my new place of work, close to the heart of the City, is offering me the opportunity for more of these “I wonder where this leads to” wanderings.

On one such adventure, I found the rumblings in my tummy threatening to attract the attention of passers-by. Not sure if my being within sniffing distance of a fast-food joint with an appealingly priced menu had occasioned this singing from within, but I walked in.

“Hello, may I have the vegetarian option, please.”

As I waited for my order, I got chatting with a young lady standing nearby.

“Vegetarian option too?”

“No, I am having a real snack!”

It turns out that this lady works for a homeless charity and she was here for some sustenance before starting an evening/night shift.

“Night shift!”

Our discussion of the pros and cons of working nights was cut short by the arrival of my vegetarian option. “Looks nothing like the picture!”

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

November 6th 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Filmwise:
Mesocafé: Liaising with film industry.
Cannes documentary: Have spent another weekend refining the edit. It is remarkable that one seems to have been able to tell a story from the heart through a simple kit of a basic handheld camera and a decent microphone. A lot more work is needed before I can move to the next stage of post-production on the piece, but progress is being made.

“Passports..”
On a summer evening in 2009, as I was racing against the clock to complete an information pack  about Mesocafé, the courier rang the bell. I had booked the collection earlier in the day and despite my best efforts, the document took infinitely longer to edit than I had anticipated.

Gracefully accepting my apologies for the cancelled call, the courier suggested that instead of losing the booking fee, I should head to one of the main depots of the company.

“They close after 8”, he said as he sped away to get to the traffic lights before they turned red.

Well, on Wednesday evening I realised that an information pack for Mesocafé needed to be sent swiftly to a film institution abroad. Factoring in the hour that it takes to get from my neck of the woods to this courier depot near Heathrow, and then the journey back to my place of work in the City, I set the alarm for 6AM. With the documents printed and placed in a smartly labeled envelope, I was in bed nice and early.

At 7AM the next morning I was on the train heading to Heathrow.

For company, I had brought along a French novel with the first 70 pages of which I have been struggling. You see, the story begins on a staircase of a building in Paris. A woman climbs the stairs while examining a map and a photograph. We leave the woman and spend the next 60 pages or so visiting each and every apartment in the block, examining the furniture, fittings and the inhabitants.

On the train, the last of the apartments was visited.

“Hey hun!”, an American lady called out from her seat to a gentleman standing guard with their luggage.
“Are the passports in the top pocket of my bag?”

At that very moment, it dawned on me that I hadn’t brought the Mesocafé information pack with me. It was resting in all its glory on my kitchen table.

Rather than fume at my idiocy, a smile formed on my lips – the story of the French novel had finally returned to the lady inspecting the map and photograph on the stairs. Brilliant.

Peace and love,
Ja‘far