Filmmaking Is The Same

20 07 2006

Spent 13 hours on the set of one of our Jordan Digital Filmmaking Workshop short films yesterday. The ironic thing is that, here in the middle of the Middle East, at the junture of several continents, the process (craziness and all) seems very familiar to what I’ve experienced on USC Student film sets as well.

Here are a few pictures from the shoot.


Samer (in the yellow shirt) is the director.



The View From The Middle East

19 07 2006

I haven’t posted in a long time because of how crazy busy I’ve been. Right now I am in Amman, Jordan teaching with several other teachers, at a workshop for beginning digital filmmakers.

It’s very interesting being here as Israeli airstrikes hit Lebanon and Amman receives tons of refugees. I had a conversation yesterday with a Lebanese television producer who has come here because neither she nor her family feel they can stay in Beirut. Normal middle class people, like you and I, are watching their neighborhoods destroyed. Either the bombing isn’t accurate or there is a plan to target civilian areas. It’s puzzling.

I know that when I was back in LA last week, the news coverage was fairly slanted towards the Israeli side. Luckily, the blogosphere is helpful in showing both sides. If can stomach it, check out this blog entry at itoot.net, which is a blog that culls entries from ten or so other blogs. [ADDED NOTE: This post now seems to have taken down. Perhaps the pictures were too graphic. I’ve changed the URL to point to the general crisis page at iToot.] Some of the pictures are pretty graphic, but that is precisely the point here. It’s easy to turn the pages of the newspaper, or fast forward on our Tivo’s when everything is soft-pedaled.

There’s also a very personal story from an actress/writer named Najla Said, who writes on Electronic Lebanon about her ordeal in fleeing Lebanon. She contracts it, in a beautiful way, with her father’s recent death, and their attraction to their homeland.

The point for me is this — I have no idea whether this can ever be settled. I’m often convinced by the stories of the people on both sides — many of whom have no desire or need for war. Most are not political people.

But politcal decisions made at the highest levels of many governments don’t care about these people. And, in my discussions here and reading lots of blogs, this is creating anger in Arabs that was not there before. One woman told me that she was a person who demonstrated against Hezbollah for years. Now she is on their side. When you look at pictures like the above, or