Sunday, February 15, 2009

Louis MacNeice - Snow

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

London River... Pink and Red...

... was a great film. Best I have seen so far. Went to a lecture on indie distribution and self distribution by the director of that Nazis on the Moon flick (it had a great trailer) and M dot Strange earlier.

We have pink bags (swag) and everywhere in Berlin people bear pink Berlinale bags (Talent Campus) or red (general Berlin). And we have to wear lanyards with our photos as well. Hey, it's a signifier! I have gotten moee used to just walking up to people and starting conversations. It is really freeing, but does not come naturally to me. Our course leaders (who did special effects for The Changeling and Letters from Iwo Jima) seemed pleased with our results over the week (we had an internal critique today and there is a public screening tomorrow).

Had a meeting with a very cool Greek production designer.

The British party was a blast. Apparently Tilda Swinton was there, but I didn't see her. It snowed on the way home. It was magical.

It is only 11 and I am turning in early for the night for once. It will be delicious to have 7-8 hours' sleep.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Athlete's Foot

Remind me to tell you the story one time of a woman who, after walking three days in tights and leather boots, ventured into a boutique selling cremes and the like to buy athlete's foot medication, quietly repeating the request to the assistant, who didn't understand, and who began calling passers-by in the store to translate to German, where people begin offering their guesses - "athlete's foot? Das ist smutisch, nein?"). Er, no. And perhaps then the woman's face got redder and redder as more and more Berliners, being the helpful type, gathered round to help. And the word "fungus" had to be pronounced again and again, until she was saved by a kindly German man who had lived in New York, who explained that there was no German word for it, and directed her to an apothecary, where she really should have thought of going in the first place.

And then remind me to tell you how that woman continued on bravely, softly repeating the German word for "rash" to herself, so as not to forget when she reached the pharmacy. And then the relief of explaining again to the pharmicist, saying how common this particular rash was; she was sure, for example, that Germans got it too when their feet got sweaty in gyms in the winter. How the pharmacist had looked nervous but nodded seriously, and returned with a tube of vaginal itching creme. How a bilingual German/Californian interrupted at that point to translate the real word. How everyone listening in the line looked on curiously, wondering perhaps for the first time whether Germans often suffered from vaginal itching when their feet got sweaty from gyms in wintertime.

Remind me to tell you about it some time.

In other news, I just watched Mammoth by Lukas Moodyson (loved it; it got terrible reviews), Bluebeard (quite liked it, it reminded me of The Village, which I loved and most people hated as well) and a seminar from South African filmmakers about intra-African xenophobia, which was very good.

Last night I saw some great short films from Mexico, Denmark etc. At 1am I then took the wrong nightbus home and froze my ass off somewhere way out in East Berlin until I walked through the hostel at 3am.

Tomorrow I am meeting up with a production designer to talk through some projects.

Tonight I am going to the big British Council party for all their film delegates.

Today I saw a photo of my girlfriend making fake turtle tracks that made me smile more than anything in a very long time. Cool!

xxx Kathleen

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I am having an amazing time which is difficult to express with the oddly placed letters on a German keyboad.

I saw The International with Clive Owen/Naomi Watts. I've liked other previous stuff by this director (Run Lola Run), but I don't think this was my cup of tea, even though I like both actors. Amazing camerawork,though.

I have also:

Handled cameras in the last two days that cost half a million all on their own. They are HD that can do 35mm. Luminous, beautiful.

Worked with the guy who did the titles for Apocalypto.

Had a long conversation with all+around cool filmmaker M Dot Strange.

Met people from Mongolia, Egypt, Argentina, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Italy, many more places. AbsolutelĂ˝ amazing.

Was blagged into a German Film Institute party and ate spaetzle and Badisch ham (Hi, Simone!).

Gotten less than five hours of sleep every night so far.

It is really thrilling to be here. They had a film about global warming (documentary) set in Alaska which was very moving. We met the filmmakers, who were cool and very genuine too.

Been instructed on cameras by the people who shot Babel.

Handed info on Spaceships Over Corvallis to a casting director I would love to work with in Portland.

I am going to try to get 7-8 hours sleep tonight, because after all the week has only just started.

It is not pretentious here at all. Instead it is full of people who love films and love to talk about them. I love it. Wow. I am blown away.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Exhilaration, Residual Goddamn Americanisms

I made it on the plane!

I slept one and a half hours last night, got up at 3:20, then waited for the bus on deserted Chatworth Road, which believe me doesn't feel all that safe when it's pitch black and entirely deserted.

The bus came late; I got to the train station; the train was cancelled due to bad weather. The next was at 5:49 - it takes an hour to get to the airport, and the plane itself was taking off at 6:25. I took a 10-pound cab to a different station, got on the Stansted Express; got to the airport at 6:01. Ran to baggage check. They wouldn't let me in because the boarding pass Ryanair had forwarded to be was the bloody return ticket pass. I ran to Ryanair (now 6:10). The nasty woman at the counter said, due to my accent, "Is it because you're not an EU citizen?" This was WHILE she was holding my EU passport. She printed the pass because I was in tears. I ran to baggage control again. Suddenly a security guard swooped on me, screaming, "Don't let this one in; her baggage is overweight, she's trying to sneak through again!" I said I hadn't even had my bag weighed yet (it was fine). He called me a liar. 6:13. I suddenly became very American and shouted, "Well then, Ryanair should have printed the goddamn boarding pass correctly!" That is probably the first time in my life I have ever spoken the word "goddamn." I think I was still stinging from the nasty ticket lady.

Anyway, I was through and waiting behind 100-plus people to go through security. Miraculously, they all let me through, one by one, when I explained my plane was taking off in a matter of minutes. I was at Gate 1. My plane was at Gate 87. 6:18 am. I made it. Everyone after security at Ryanair was lovely and helpful. My bag was too big and they didn't even charge me.

An hour and a half later, and I was furiously writing out my schedule, having been greeted and assisted by a Berlinale Welcome Desk at the airport (they rock! so nice!), en route to Alexanderplatz. And I felt a huge rush of excitement, and not just because I'm going on no sleep. I just felt so happy and excited as the train whizzed towards Berlin. Made it easily to the hostel, where people working here are absolutely helpful as well.

In a few minutes I'm going to take off to get accredited and registered at the Berlinale itself. Then I'm going to have a nap. Then I'm going to finish memorising my pitches for all four films (see Then I'm going to study the various camera types we're using in the studio programme tomorrow, because I got accepted to a specialised intensive study programme *within* the Berlinale Talent Campus. And then I'm going to better-formulate some concepts regarding the theme of "Inside/Outside." I want to be less nebulous, though I have some ideas.

And then?

Who knows?

I am so fucking excited. And now I'm taking off!