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Monthly Archives: March 2013

In the preparation of the planning of the second half shooting time of my village’s documentary, I realized that some month ago and in order to work with people who are randomly away from my location (yep – the good side of globalization ), I prepared a quick but not that short editing of some images I had so far. I qualified it as a teaser, a work in progress element that was needed to see the different types of images the movie will be made of.

When writing this, I can’t help thinking it is a very personal movie, probably hard to understand in its current shape and probably will be another one treated as ” we don’t see the artistic content and perspective of it”, just like Winobranie has been qualified by the officials I was asking some help for the post-production…

In current world where the electronics has become so affordable, I understand that the gatekeepers of the industry have to select what they want to sponsor and if you are outside of the system since you start a project, you cannot expect – or rarely – to find help. This is the system as it currently works, I have nothing against, and my nature being  to always be at the margin of any system , well it is a choice so I know what it means and which resources I can count on and which not.

This being said – and don’t think It is a complain, not at all – I think this project can again be perceived by some people like a pre-ordered movie….And yes it is one !..A promotional movie on the choices we make, the legacy we give, the future we hope.

To finish with,  I am confident that the editing, sound editing and sound mix team will make out of this a brilliant movie. A great team work, just like I believe the movie making should be !

After being back from a 3 weeks trip, most of my time has been spent on catching back all the pending matters for my work and on sorting out the pictures that were taken.  I took 1500 pictures ! A ridiculous amount but so much in line with the use of a digital camera…

I was equipped with my – apparently already old – Olympus E-pl1 , a micro 4/3 camera, on which I used only one lens, a 14mm lumix that opens at f 2.5. It was the perfect couple for that trip ; I am pretty much of an old school person and not a fan of multiple coverage lens. No I was taught that a photographer – or cinematographer – has to find the right shooting angle and having a single steady lens is the best way to do it. It forces you to find the right distance towards what you are shooting and therefore really putting a bit of you as well in the image.

So in theory this should bring the amount of picture down, as you have to make the effort to move and every time your use the shutter it should be pretty well thought. My major discovery has been that not only I stopped making portrait oriented pictures but rather landscape’s ones (even of people) since a couple of years – and when I really want to portrait someone I used the 6×6 frame- , but also that this gigantic amount of pictures is due to…my natural (it became natural) inclination to tell stories as if it would be a movie. In other words, I probably shot 10 different topics…..1500 times !

I am stuck in the story telling process. When sorting the pictures, my mind told me : mmhh interesting how you follow your topic, do some cuts, some reverse angle, ellipsis and then back to the subject and you understand the evolution of it.

I measured as well on how, like in sports – and apparently due to age – my interest is into a bit longer moments rather than immediate perfect frozen picture. Is it possible to make what I would call an ” endurance snapshot” rather than an immediate “explosive image” with still images ?

It brought me back to the “winobranie” adventure (movie about polish wine – http://www.vimeo.com under palmtreeprod user), where in order to match the local dynamism – the movie talks about wine making in a highly chaotic way – just like the environment where all the story was happening. If shooting it nowadays, I would spend more time and shoot it differently…..? Well to be honest if shooting it now…well I wouldn’t be able to shoot it.

Before my trip I was cleaning my cupboards and I discovered some old cups and mugs that I don’t use anymore. I found one that I used to drink my cocoa in it when I was 4-5 years old. I kept it just like it was and decided to take a picture of it. Actually when taking the picture I felt more like recording a moment in time. When a piece of industrial porcelain became a story to tell, when being materialistic made a new sense.

It contains the stories of every morning breakfast of the child I was…

Funnily enough I took only one shot of it…as probably I knew that 1500 pictures would never be able to tell all of it.

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For the last 3 weeks I’ve been totally out of business  as I was travelling in the country where I was born : Chile.  Actually that was  the 3rd time ever that I have been walking over that South American ground. For the history, I was born like many ones in Santiago and like many ones my family left the country in the agitated 80’s. I came back for a first visit 20 years ago, as a teenager to see what the country and family were about. Now, in 2013, I went back with my own family to show them where I come from and this time the locals could check what I am about.

Pilgrimage, vacations, family time or just a time off, everything was possible upfront….and all of it happened, at different times, but definitely in the less expected moments.

I won’t enter the personal details and the family side of the trip ; like I wrote initially the purpose of the blog is the update people on my work and to share the thoughts that are related to it. And on this, I have to say the trip stroke me in a total unexpected area (this sounds like when you are hurt by a ball in an unprotected zone…so was the surprise I believe).

When leaving Europe to South America, I was in a “stand by” mode : waiting for the movie to go on with shooting, waiting for the details of the trip to get fixed, waiting for 2013 calendar to get clearer waiting for collaborators calls, in a word : teasing my patience and my motivation in many different fields. We often face this in our profession, as we cannot work 360 days per year, even more when you are a director and not a technician.

So was it , my bag full of pending matters I arrived to a country I cherish , to a place where no matter if I live far from it or don’t see often, I just feel like any other local. But what I didn’t expect, is how much this visit was needed to counterbalance the swiss documentary project. Indeed the major risk when you are the main producer and director, is to keep your eyes on the microscope of the location / topic / society you are shooting and to forget about the healthy step back to make sure you are still looking at the right things and with a fresh gaze.

So for the last 6 months was my attention totally focused onto this little village in the middle of a small region of a not large canton belonging to a center point country of a medium-sized continent…and to go 14.000km away from it to a large continent in a super long country into largely crowded cities…well it has been the perfect counterbalance. As well it gave me the patience I was missing early Jan and surprisingly is when being away that most of all the answers I was looking for popped up !

Last but not least, I finally understood why Europeans travel all over the globe to shoot movies about situations that are so far away from their everyday’s : it is the easiest way to not get stuck into loosing your criticism about facts, and this is where one truth hurts me ; I am a local in South America, I am a local in Europe, I am pretty much of a local in North America. Following the logic I should go and make movies in Asia or Africa (I remember feeling home in the Indian Ocean…)?

Well, I am afraid I would feel pretty much like at home all around the globe. But I know that this particularism is giving my work a special tone, where everybody is equally treated.

Now time to go back to the green pastures and my beloved childhood village ! Let’s continue to paint the world !

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