Dancing in the Sun – Flashback from Sundance…

“Cold!” Was my first thought as I got out of the airport. “But nothing is going to stop me”. I have waited long enough for the day my feet takes me to the Sundance film festival.
As I drive up the mountain with Mark, my camera goes ‘click, click’. I am determined to capture every moment onto camera. My mission is threefold, I am here to have fun, learn all I can about Utah and storm the festival with African passion. There is Passion alright, but definitely not from Africa!
Passion for the Art of film making like you have never seen before. People walking in the snow like a day on the beach. All they can think and talk about is this and that film, docu, short, script. Never, have I found myself in the midst of a people so willing to die (and live to the fullest) for what they believe in; they so frequently sell their every possession to be a part of. For one, it isn’t cheap to attend Sundance! – Mark for instance, mortgaged his house to make his movie! (guts my friend, guts). My mentor ‘Pat Mitchell’ is beautiful as always. Every time I see her, she is more beautiful… It is certified. Fiona is awesome.  They invite me to stay a couple of days. There I meet Helen and her husband to be and I experience the ‘chair’ through her capable hands. For days we talk about the wonder of the ‘chair’ and the battles of the human specie. Then I go snow shoeing… well, I can’t ski you see, but I feel proud all the same, because it seems I am the only one of the “sisters” or “brothers” for that matter, who has mastered the courage this snowy morning, to step out on the slopes! Who can blame us? My DNA is screaming against every second by shaking behind stays up here…

Dare I regress? Let’s go back to the festival. In the year I attend, there are three “shorts” from Africa. Kenya and South Africa to be specific. Can I hope for more next year? This is the first time a place has been created for African slots – so maybe there is hope.

A couple of titles are worth mentioning even though time has passed. If you haven’t seen them, you probably should take the time to do so. “Hawl” – I must say, blows me away. The awards night crown it all, as film makers delight in the pure Art of good and
bad films, depending on where you stand.

I remember my film school days and depression sets in. The laughter fades to the background and my life flashes in slow motion before my eyes; the chatter serves as backdrop. lenses shift into sharp focus-background fade…reality stings…cut…
I see the passion for perfection exhibited here. The purity of the art, the human creativity, the attention to detail. My heart sings and sinks. No way can I make a film below these standards.

I have been cursed to see the ultimate in human creativity and blessed to live amongst mediocrity

Where the smallest effort is touted as the world’s best! The song in Ama Atta Aidoo’s ‘the dilemma of a ghost’ –‘should I go to Cape Coast or to Elimina’ rings in my ears. I am a woman conflicted. Here I stand. At a crossroad of my life’s passion and as is the case in so many of the things we do day to day, the question is to stand for perfection or to fall for the easy way out?

Why have I not made a film or movie for the big screen? ( whatever you may fancy calling it), why stick to the small screen? I get that question a lot. You want an honest answer? I am afraid! For I can not make the wrong choice and live with myself… the medium holds the language and path of a people and remains the single most effective educational and informational tool of influence. This is a big responsibility we carry… Africa has the second largest film industry in the World (lead by Nigeria off course) and yet, we take this power so casually and its impact on our people so loosely! So help me God as I take my steps towards the big Screen!

Lenses shift into sharp focus-background fade…reality stings…

   

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22 thoughts on “Dancing in the Sun – Flashback from Sundance…

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