Archive for August, 2013

September 1st 2013

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Filmwise: What feels like the most mature and feature-like cut of the Cannes documentary is taking shape. There is still a long way to go, but the task I’d set myself for the summer is within reach. Brilliant.

“Easy!”
While waiting for my turn at the hair salon, I couldn’t help overhear an exchange between my regular hairdresser and a customer.
Holding up a mirror to his back, she asked:
- “Good?”
- “Yes, thank you.”
As he stood up, he seemed to notice another female hairdresser in the far corner of the store.
- “Oh, hello. How are you?”
- “I am fine. And you – still handsome?!”
With the customer smiling and blushing, my regular hairdresser looked at her colleague and whispered:
- “Easy!”
Peace and love,
Ja’far

August 25th 2013

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Filmwise: The long Bank Holiday weekend has a deja vu feel about it; like last year this time, I am working on the Cannes documentary. The good news – the piece has broken out of its former structure, and is the better for it.

“Well, what can I do if my actors are…”

Flicking through VOD available documentaries on the film industry, this weekend I stumbled upon Best Worst Movie (Dir. Michael Stephenson, 2009).

Rather than a compilation of film clips and an assortment of talking heads delivering well-rehearsed lines about how bad this movie is, as opposed to how terrible the other is, this is more of a behind-the-scenes making of – shot retrospectively – of Troll 2 (Dir. Claudio Fragasso, 1990).

While totally feeling for the director of Troll 2, I couldn’t help feel a tad concerned for the whole enterprise of spending time to figure out what’s worst in a cultural form.

For what its worth, the director Fragasso gave as well as he got, calling the group of first-time actors “dogs” – endearingly, I would like to think.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far


August 18th 2013

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Filmwise: More work on the Cannes documentary.

A tale of two movies…
Like many budding filmmakers, the UK release of Overnight (Dirs. Tony Montana / Mark Brian Smith 2003) several years ago allowed me a glimpse of the abyss into which the soul can be plunged at the very first taste of great success.
The film charted (unsympathetically, it has to be said) the journey of Troy Duffy, a young scriptwriter from Boston, from shaking hands with legendary producer Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, to experiencing life in Hollywood paradise, to being unceremoniously ejected from celluloid heaven and the cancellation of the Miramx deal.
The one upside to the story is Duffy’s success in turning his The Boondock Saints script into a feature, with Willem Dafoe in the lead, no less.
Years later, this weekend I finally had the opportunity to watch the film.
As a first-time feature director, I can only empathise with Duffy’s difficulties in guiding his cast and crew to retell a story he wrote on paper on the big screen.
I fear, the pressures may have been too great on the young debutant.
Peace and love,
Ja’far

August 11th 2013

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Filmwise: This week has been all about the Cannes documentary.

Allow me to elaborate.

With the little in Girl in Baghdad script enjoying a break from my rewrites and edits, my out of office awake hours have been almost entirely dedicated to working on both at the overall structure of the Cannes documentary as well as at the sequence and scene levels.

New to the project has been the introduction of more film history and references. This was purely the result of excavating through the footage captured during the festival.

These new additions are balanced out by the editing out of entire sequences and scenes that do not fit into the new structure.

All good.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far


August 4th 2013

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Filmwise: more work on the Cannes documentary.

It’s worrying!
One of the wonders of the modern age is how we all seem to maintain a personal existence within public spaces in a huge metropolis like London.
Using public transport on daily basis, I continue to be surprised by how few fellow passenger faces I recall after a journey on the tube, or how many of us actually have eye-contact with strangers on the street or the local supermarket.
Well, on a particularly hot afternoon this week, I found myself reaching for standard issue tools of keeping private on a rush hour train. With one hand holding an overhead railing, and the other clutching the phone, I was focused on the task of keeping to my space and allowing fellow passengers their own. The fact that we were crammed sardine-like into the carriage made said task a wee tricky.
A couple of passengers standing next to me seemed to take an interest n the article I was attempting to read on my phone – it was hard work in view of the mesh of arms and hands. A few seconds later, we reached that awkward moment of the two co-readers realising that I was aware of their uninvited glances towards the phone screen (in addition to the obvious issue one has with people perusing one’s choice of articles without one’s permission, there was also the concern that one might scroll down the screen before the co-readers were ready!).
There were two routes for this impromptu group reading session – I would move the screen away, or simply continue reading, hoping they are as quick/slow readers as I am.
I opted for the latter choice.
In the way of making sure they’d also finished reading, so I could return the phone to my pocket, I thought I’d break a major taboo on the tube: talk to fellow passengers.
- “Did you see what the article said, that one in twelve UK adults admit they photograph attractive strangers on public transport, or in other public spaces. It’s worrying!”
Yes, I grant you, this was not the most seamless conversation opener.
The two looked at me, attempting to assess from my appearance how high I would be on the likelihood-to-be-a-violent-psychopath-scale.
- “It’s worrying if no one photographs you!”, ventured the lady nearest to me.
Peace and love,
Ja’far