Archive for February, 2008

17
Feb
08

THE COOKING CIRCLE

The last film I made with Sally was called YES.  It is about the relationship between an American woman and a Middle Eastern man, played by the Armenian-Lebanese-French actor, Simon Abkarian who is originally from Beirut.  His character is a doctor, exiled to London and working as a cook.  Happily Simon himself loves to cook and there is a scene in the film with him expertly chopping vegetables in the midst of a political argument with the other kitchen workers. 

YES had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.  Some time afterwards, Tom Luddy who runs the festival, invited Sally and I for a drink in a Manhattan restaurant called the Russian Samovar – which he seems to use as his New York office – where he introduced us to Alexis Bloom, a documentary filmmaker originally from South Africa and now living in New York.  Alexis has since become a friend and our paths had crossed again in London courtesy of Charles Ferguson who was there to screen his first film, a remarkable documentary called “No End In Sight” which is up for an Academy Award next weekend. 

Last weekend Alexis — who knows I have a particular interest in death and dying —  invited me to an event at the wonderful Rubin Museum about what happens to our brain when we die, both from a neurological and a Tibetan Buddhist perspective — great stuff.  Also there was another friend of hers, Jasmine Dellal, whose film “When The Road Bends...” just happens to be about the Romanian gypsy band, Taraf de Haidouks, who Sally had featured in her film THE MAN WHO CRIED (and thereby introduced them to Johnny Depp). 

A few days later Jasmine invited Sally and me to dinner at a friends house.  His name is Ahmad and he is from the Beirut.  He is not a doctor but he certainly loves to cook — and to talk politics.  Here he is in action in his New York kitchen:

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16
Feb
08

WINTER SUNSHINE

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13
Feb
08

THE ART OF FINANCING A FILM – Part 2

We are getting close, very close, to starting to shoot the new film.  At this stage it’s a bit like a high-wire jigsaw puzzle.  Most independent filmmakers never have all the money needed to shoot their film in the bank before they actually get started.  Sometimes you have none of it.  What you are endlessly doing is juggling with the availability of your actors and your crew, trying not to lose any of the people who you really want in your film, while waiting for all the bits of the finance to come into place.  The thing about film financing is that you really don’t have any of it until you have all of it.  Any investor in a film wants to see that you have enough money in total to make and deliver the finished film.  So they won’t start putting their money in, however keen they are, without knowing where the rest of it is going to come from.  The consequence of this is that almost every independent filmmaker I know has had the experience of starting to shoot his or her film by paying for it themselves – often with their credit cards – while waiting for the “real” money to come through.

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It snowed in New York last night: this is the junction between a 2nd Ave and East Houston.

10
Feb
08

NIGHTFALL FROM THE CHRISTODORA

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03
Feb
08

FLYPOSTING IN THE EAST VILLAGE

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