Elspeth has gone through her usual thorough process of consultation on the choice of title, quizzing everybody who had been involved, refining the advice and narrowing the choice. The result is “Encourage, and I can” which encapsulates the films message.
It has now had its Test Screening before an audience of 12 specially chosen local people: both sexes and varying age groups. After the film they were exposed to a 90 minute question and answer session with Elspeth’s specially formulated questions designed to illicit their true reactions and responses.
And the film had the clearest of clear runs. Interestingly, when we came to discuss things they did not like, one outspoken man was adamant; he didn’t like the film because our wheelchair-bound heroine could not get up the stairs to her interview. He had really associated himself with her, we had quite won him to the cause!
When considering the bits they liked, discussion ranged around aspects of our three characters’ lives and it became clear they had taken in every smallest detail. One was adamant it should be shewn on television! Our three were seen as ideal role models and the message for the community was clear.
Essentially the film meets its objectives in full. Everyone is absolutely delighted, a large amount of hugging has been going on and the euphoria is nicely summed up by the comment from one of the Test Audience about our three characters:
“The body may be disabled, but the heart is not!”
Tinkering is going on with subtitles, with signing and the voice-over. Credits are done but the Khmer font is proving troublesome, it is all down, now, to the detail; and we still have a few days in hand.
The PFP/CRP awareness raising documentary “Steps, No! Ramps, Yes” has this month reached an enormous audience through being shown on Bangladesh Television.
BTV is the state owned channel in Bangladesh and has a terrestrial coverage of 93% of the population. It is also available in many other countries.
“Steps, No! Ramps, Yes!”, which was designed to increase understanding of the enormous access problems faced by wheelchair users in Bangladesh, was screened on BTV at 9.15 a.m on January 4th.
The atmosphere has changed. It is quite charged now. We are close to finishing the editing, there is now only a fortnight before we have to stop and come home. The Rough Cut is being circulated for comment, aspects require change, some sound needs re-recording, and we have to have the editing finished so that we can film the Green-Screen and add it; this is new ground, we have not done this before.
Green Screen? The film will have a deaf element amongst its audiences so we are adding a “Signer”. This is clever stuff and it is where the Green Screen comes in, you film the signer against a green background, tell the computer to take the green background away and there you are, you have your signer and you can put her in the scene alongside all the action. The old way was to have the Signer in a box to one side. We have been filming with a bias to the right so there will be space to the left of the picture to fit the signer in.
Editing is mentally exhausting: building on the Director’s framework, discussing the shots to be used, mating them to a cohesive whole, ensuring they match with the common theme running through the film; and the sound has to match the action. Standard stuff. Our film language is Khmer so there is the added dimension of translation and ensuring that what is said makes sense; whilst it did when it was filmed, much has been cut and important bits must not be missed, it is checked at every stage. And then you have to accommodate the Director’s changes, sometimes made for artistic reasons, sometimes to clarify the message, sometimes to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. All this mental effort is expended in a hot, quite steamy, atmosphere with the whirr of fans and the occasional interruptions all of which sap the energy very quickly.
Today is Wednesday, on Friday afternoon the film is given its test screening to a sample audience from the Rural Community. Editing must be complete. Nothing like a deadline to crystalise the mind!
On the domestic side the rats are in retreat; the laundry situation is resolved, our lovely young launderess has taken a “proper” job and we will use the local launderette instead; and we have discovered that stir-fried spiders are a local delicacy.