Monthly Archives: September 2011

Please take a look at this film

The PFP/CPA cerebral plasy advocacy film, “The Time is Now”, is up on the internet in its entirety.
We are anxious for it to be seen by as many people as possible – especially those who can make a difference to the provision of services in Ghana.
Please help us by taking a look at the film and by passing the link on to your firends, encouraging everyone to also mention it on the social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Letter 6 from Malawi – Olivia Prutz

The Welcome Song - photograph by Ingrid HeslingHi PFP followers
Another week ends in Malawi and there is a lot to tell. It feels very strange to become a team of two now that Ingrid, our production assistant, has gone home. However, we have entered phase two of the filmmaking process; post production, so there is a lot to keep us busy.
Although we are predominantly editing now, there are still a few bits of filming that need to be completed, including the re-build of a modern brick stove, which we did earlier this week. Our first attempt at this ended up as a bit too chaotic, with the whole village eager to be involved and the builders keen to show off their skills.
Second time around we specifically requested a low-key build, without a village of spectators and with plenty of time to stop and start as required. Our first indication that this would simply be asking too much was when we stopped off en route to pick up seven eager volunteers and squeeze them all in the vehicle with us. Further proof, if needed, that this wasn’t going to be as low-key as we were hoping was the reception of singing villagers and the sit down meeting with village elders. Once again we had an avid audience as the filming got underway.
I think perhaps that the Malawian definition of low-key differs greatly from ours, but the villagers remained very quiet and although some of our stove builders had perhaps a bit more enthusiasm than skill, the end result turned out very well.
On Saturday evening Colin took a break from editing as we were invited to a birthday party. Norbert, our landlord, turned 88 and Janey, his wife, invited us to come over and celebrate with their friends and relatives. Despite slightly low expectations of sitting awkwardly in the corner, we had a great time with some tasty food and of course an enormous birthday cake and plenty of fizzy pop and beer. The kids led the dancing, followed shortly after by the adults, and soon we were dragged out of our seats to join in as well. Although even the smallest of grandchildren could dance better than I can, Colin saved English pride with some very impressive moves that earned him some whooping and cheering.
On the dot of 8.30pm the well-trained guests said their good byes and made their way home and after a few more words with Norbert, so did we. We really appreciated the effort made to invite and include us and it is just one of many examples of the friendliness and generosity of, not only our hosts, but also most of the Malawians we have met during our trip.
But now I had best get back to some work and stop daydreaming of birthday cake.
Until next time,
Olivia – PFP camera operator turned production assistant.

Letter 5 from Malawi – Ingrid's Farewell

Ingrid at WorkMy time here is almost at an end. The production assistant is no longer needed. It really doesn’t seem over a month ago that we arrived in Lilongwe airport amid all the bustle and chaos. The filming is almost completed with just bee-keeping and mushroom growing remaining on the ‘to do’ list.
Now the filming is almost done the serious editing begins and a film will be ready to screen within the coming month. I am truly sorry to miss these preliminary screenings. I would love to be there and watch the reactions from the locals. I want to know if they will laugh where we hope they will or even laugh where we would not expect it. This part of the PFP film-making process is so important, as this film is not for us, it is for the Malawian people themselves. It features farmers and growers, explaining why they have chosen sustainable farming as a way of life and how this can benefit all, the people, the land and the future generations. The audiences will be consulted at this initial stage – are the messages clear- have we got anything wrong- can it be improved upon- is it interesting enough to capture the imagination and make one want to practice conservation agriculture for themselves?
It has been fascinating for me to see how all the diverse things we filmed begin to take shape into a cohesive story in the Director’s mind. I look forward to seeing the final masterpiece when it is shown in the U.K!
Meanwhile, I need to wash the red, dusty soil off my camera bag and prepare to say my farewells to many new friends. Also, I am wondering how the bean-winnowing basket I really needed will fit into my suitcase, along with the four heavy, wooden nsima stirring spoons, the twelve brightly coloured chitenge cloths, a huge bag of home-roasted Malawi nuts from our lovely driver’s wife, a bottle of Nali hot pepper sauce, oh and the PFP camera, tripod, battery packs and chargers, but maybe I can just nip up to the market for one more Chitengi – only to protect the tripod you understand…must dash
Tionana! See you!

Ingrid Hesling, PFP Stills Photographer & Production Assistant, Malawi

Letter 5 from Malawi – Ingrid’s Farewell

Ingrid at WorkMy time here is almost at an end. The production assistant is no longer needed. It really doesn’t seem over a month ago that we arrived in Lilongwe airport amid all the bustle and chaos. The filming is almost completed with just bee-keeping and mushroom growing remaining on the ‘to do’ list.
Now the filming is almost done the serious editing begins and a film will be ready to screen within the coming month. I am truly sorry to miss these preliminary screenings. I would love to be there and watch the reactions from the locals. I want to know if they will laugh where we hope they will or even laugh where we would not expect it. This part of the PFP film-making process is so important, as this film is not for us, it is for the Malawian people themselves. It features farmers and growers, explaining why they have chosen sustainable farming as a way of life and how this can benefit all, the people, the land and the future generations. The audiences will be consulted at this initial stage – are the messages clear- have we got anything wrong- can it be improved upon- is it interesting enough to capture the imagination and make one want to practice conservation agriculture for themselves?
It has been fascinating for me to see how all the diverse things we filmed begin to take shape into a cohesive story in the Director’s mind. I look forward to seeing the final masterpiece when it is shown in the U.K!
Meanwhile, I need to wash the red, dusty soil off my camera bag and prepare to say my farewells to many new friends. Also, I am wondering how the bean-winnowing basket I really needed will fit into my suitcase, along with the four heavy, wooden nsima stirring spoons, the twelve brightly coloured chitenge cloths, a huge bag of home-roasted Malawi nuts from our lovely driver’s wife, a bottle of Nali hot pepper sauce, oh and the PFP camera, tripod, battery packs and chargers, but maybe I can just nip up to the market for one more Chitengi – only to protect the tripod you understand…must dash
Tionana! See you!

Ingrid Hesling, PFP Stills Photographer & Production Assistant, Malawi

Letter 4 from Malawi – Olivia Prutz

Tasty Tripod - photogragh by Ingrid HeslingHello again PFP followers…
After another week in wonderful Malawi there is plenty more to relate. I type to a backdrop of enthusiastic African singing, the steady drip of the pump (no running water again!) and the usual cacophony of indignant chicken squawks. Meanwhile the rest of the team are ensconced once more in the TLC office to knuckle down to more much needed translating.
The week has had its ups and downs, with both cameras deciding to go on strike almost simultaneously. However, with a frantic search online and a bit of ingenuity, they live to film another day and should hold up well until they can be safely escorted home and handed over to a proper camera repairman.
Colin can often be seen scribbling frantically in one of his many notebooks, re-thinking, storyboarding and brainstorming; responding to unexpected interview responses and dead-of-night inspirations. It is fascinating to watch as our disjointed days of filming begin to morph into something cohesive and recognisable.
Having now covered the majority of topics outlined in the brief, our ‘need to get’ list is reduced to one side of another trusty A5 notebook. With topics as varied as ‘bags of fertiliser’ and ‘bees and mushrooms’, it reads as a very unusual shopping list to the uninformed.
Unfortunately there were no more friendly pigs this week, just some terrified chickens – but there is always ‘bees’ to look forward to. Hopefully from a distance as we keep being told how aggressive they are…
However, life would be very dull without challenges and life here is certainly never dull. To make up for faulty cameras, reluctant interviewees and the prospect of angry bees, this week also included what was probably one of the best afternoons of my life.
Sitting in the back of an open topped pick-up truck, trundling along remote country tracks. Passing through friendly thatched villages, chased by excited, waving children. Bathed in amazing, golden, late afternoon African sun. Drinking in some of the most stunning and engrossing views I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Stopping here and there to film something beautiful or interesting or poignant in order to sprinkle our film with true Malawi flavour. Bliss.

Best wishes from Olivia, PFP Camera operator