Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 A Jam-packed Year!

It's been a jam-packed year. I've written a lot of blogs that need posting.

Last Spring, I continued what I now call the "honeymoon with a Bolex" period of film school. The Bolex is a 16mm camera with a wind-up motor. It's very basic, yet very versatile: the motor runs for only 29 seconds per wind, but you can capture stop motion animation with it. For my second non-synced sound film, my goal, initially, was to use longer shots and fewer shots than in my first film. I planned to follow a more straight forward narrative theme rather than an experimental one. I ended up with a more complicated, experimental narrative film, combining three visual styles to tell one introspective story – how an inanimate object can take on emotional weight. Instead of fewer than 24 shots, I ended up with more than thirty!
The assignment was to use sound to enhance or change the meaning of the film's visuals. So there were fifty sound clips to accompany the 4.5 minute film. 

On top of the complexity of the film's structure, I found that in order to match the main character with existent family photos, I had to play the part myself (mine field!!). I had to direct and act at the same time, after not acting for over a decade. Luckily, thanks to some awesome friends, I didn't have to operate the camera while I was in front of it. 

Rose, Suede, and Lace was pretty well received. My professor would only say that I had done everything that I set out to do, so I'd earned an A whether I thought I'd succeeded or not. The lack of constructive feedback left me wondering what to improve! I am a student, after all.
Rose, Suede and Lace poster pic. I made the purse and the hanky just for the film.

Another challenge of this Spring was that I was constantly trapped on campus by snowfall. Burnaby Mountain Campus is over 1500 feet high so it snows frequently throughout the Spring term. I did have studded tires, but my parking space was at the end of the lot at the bottom of the hill. Half the snowplow operators were too lazy to push snow all the way off the pavement, so I spent most of the Winter with a three foot wall of ice behind my car. Whenever the weather cleared, I would hop a bus downtown, just to be there. Vancouver is a wonderful place for that.

Escape to Downtown - gorgeous, almost sea level and snow free!

A highlight of the Spring Term was an evening spent with fellow students and Andrew Currie who is an SFU grad & the director of FIDO (a wonderful zombie, lassie spoof starring Carrie-Anne Moss and Billy Connolly). It had incredibly ornate set decoration that I loved. Currie has a true knack for directing children; so it was really fun to watch. Anyway, the evening was exciting if somewhat daunting. The prize is attainable but the road is long.

I spent the first half of the Summer in Syria. It was the first time that I had gone there in nine years. A lot of things have changed there in the interim. I had a wonderful time swimming in the pool at the farm cottage and seeing all my

cousins, some of whom are barely in Jr. High. I have twenty-five first cousins on my father's side. We had a celebration at the farm after the children finished their end of year school exams. The party included second cousins, so I lost count!

My favorite pic with my favorite papa!

One of baba's friends took this snap of us together. It's now officially my favorite father-daughter pic. It was taken at a real estate office opening in a Christian and Muslim mixed village. The night would make a great blog; but it would need photos and video to truly express the event. There were drummers, callers, and sword dancers; food, drink, and floral arrangements fit for a grand wedding. I learned the hard way, never to leave the camcorder at home, even if I was too sick to use it (I had such horrible allergies that I had to get a cortisone shot later in the week)!

The pool at baba's farmhouse. My sometimes sanctuary (when the gardener wasn't around).

The home cooked food in Syria was amazing and I got to shoot some footage for a food documentary that I hope to put together. It was really hard to leave, having reconnected with so many loved ones and lived a luxurious lifestyle. The lack of freedom did grate a little, but I'm mellower than before and I knew it wouldn't last, so it wasn't too bad. Also, apparently, I'm past the age of being able to shame the family easily, so Baba actually let me go on a date…without a chaperone!!! Wow.


On the way home an Air France snafu landed me in Paris overnight so I walked past Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Seine, Arc de Triumph, the Eiffel Tower and everything between in about 7 hours. Awesome!!!

Notre Dame

I returned to Oregon for the second half of the Summer, which proved more busy than relaxing. After pulling an emergency shift at the cotton candy booth (I think I spun my 1500th cone at Scandinavian Festival, this year), I went home to a gravely ill cat who we had to put to sleep the next night because she was dying painfully from congestive heart failure. It has been a rough Fall without that green-eyed fiend. I pray from the bottom of my heart that none of you ever has to go through such an experience. Having to weigh Eowen's chances of survival over her suffering from one hour to the next as first one antibiotic and then another failed to stop the swelling around her heart, was excruciating. The decision to put her down, though the right one, will always haunt me. My friend Shannon and my Aunt Sharron have reminded me, she is always with me, now, which is a comfort, except when I think of her famously soft fur and her infamous purring bear hugs. I wrote a blog about losing Eowen, mostly to help my own grieving process. Thank you to those who have been so sympathetic.

More later!