Day Three of workshops.
Somehow, we were all late. I’m not admitting it had anything to do with the dancing last night but you know how it is. Anyway, about ten of us arrived the school of Arts, our workshop venue, agreeing that this was more than a quorum so it was alright but hey, where are Kenneth, Emile and C.J? Kenneth and Emile were already seated, those fuckers! We got in there and immediately, my brain registered two things 1) Kenneth and Emile are the worst kinds of people to plan a boycott with. We all had those students whom we’d all agree to cut a particular class because we hated the lecturer’s guts or something, or we’d all agree not to submit an assignment to make a point. And they’d go behind and do it. I mean, we didn’t agree to be late (Rob was glaring at us and we were ignoring him) but we were late so they should have been late as well. 2) I had forgotten C.J. I say I because when we met at breakfast that morning, I told him to wait for me let’s walk to the workshop venue together and then I proceeded to go and leave him. In my defence, I thought he hadn’t seen me and left. But I knew I was fucked. See, C.J’s anger is not a playing thing o. So without thinking about it, I jumped up, grabbed my phone and headed back out. The hotel was about maybe 300 metres away. As I walked, I called him.
Where are you?
I’m at the hotel now? Where are YOU?
Ouch!!! Stutter. Stutter.
We’re at the workshop venue. Can you make your way here?
(A snarl) No.
I’m coming back for you. Just wait right there.
But I suppose I didn’t walk fast enough. Never mind that I was wearing a little dress and freezing. I started running. But there are many ways to get to the hotel and by the time I’d taken a circuitous route, he’d left. Sigh. Well, we managed to collide midway and walk to the workshop where all my pleading was met with stony silence, interspersed with STOP SAYING SORRY. But C.J does not hold grudges. He really doesn’t.
By the time we got the workshop, I didn’t know what had happened, the class had dispersed and since I didn’t realize we were in the same group as before, only with a different tutor, I sat with the wrong group for about ten minutes and as Lenard would ask Sheldon ‘what was your first clue?’ (sarcasm?) I later went to join my own group in the basement. Russell was kind enough to take me.
Ishaku Dashon, Naija born and raised, a graduate of the National film institute Jos where he now lectures; he has worked at the Nigerian Film corporation from 2000 as a script writer and director. To his credit are dozens of documentaries, feature films and commercials and he’s served as a member of the Zuma International film festival committee since 2006. He is a creative consultant in Watershed Entertainment which he helped set up. His animation short, MIMI was screened at 2014 AFRIFF and he’s working on an animation series for TV. Other works are Lobo: the last legendary wolf and an adapted version of Pinocchio.
Ishaku is quiet, very but he’s always got a ready smile and there’s something about him that makes you comfortable. However, since I am intuitive, I know there is beneath the thin veneer an iron will. Don’t ask me how I know. Oh, Ishaku says I should be a producer, insists I will make a great one. I say mmmm. Noncommittal like that.
Anyway, we went over our pitches again. Since he does not know how the story has changed since receiving input from the class and from the tutor the previous day, we bring him up to speed. You already know the drill. Talk. Listen to your story. Realise where it’s strong, where it’s weak, where it’s ridiculous, admit where you need help etc. Cut, nip, trim, fill, tuck, tighten. It was looking good. Jennifer had brought out her scythe and was killing people left right and centre. Kassim was deciding that his story was probably more comedy drama (yes, a bit of action) than action drama. Maurice was seeing that there were so many aspects to tackle (equality, race, value system, privilege etc) and he would have to decide which to focus on. Once he had that answer down pat, it would guide the rest of the story. I think at this point, his stories had moved from one country (or continent) to another, because what is plausible in one context may not be in another, for instance, Captain Philips would make no sense in the Nigerian context.
After discussions, we went to lunch where we had some semblance of what can be termed food i.e cold cuts, hummus, pasta (cold aargh but better than nothing I suppose), whipped cream, fruits, cokies and buscuits, juices, sodas and of course the eternal bread. Not too bad and definitely an improvement from sandwiches (fucking sandwiches).
Joining us for lunch on an informal basis was Rob Watson. Rob is the associate producer of Gone too far, directed by Destiny Ekaragha and starring O.C Ukeje, Shanika Warren-Markland and Malachi Adedayo. By this time, we had all decided that Nigerian method actor Alexx Ekubo would star in all our movie projects. We all absolutely must have him and would be looking out for him at AFRIFF.
Chika Anadu, London-based award winning Nigerian writer/director of the movie B For Boy. Chika talked about her journey so far, her experiences in film ranging from Nigeria to the UK to the US and a lot of background. Chika who’s just so beautiful and a bit intimidating and clearly driven, no-nonsense oozing out of every pore. Not to mention honest and clear about what she wants. And then a moment where she said she’s migrating from film which she described as her calling card, to TV and someone accused her of being a sell-out. Awkwarddd. But she handled it with finesse and the moment passed. Whew. When it was over, there was an honest to goodness jostle to take selfies with Chika and no wonder! (Also no wonder, at this point I had heard a number of ‘I don’t want to see this on your blog Pearl!’ directed at me. Click ignore.)
Next up was a movie screening 45 years. This was at Odeon cinema, beneath Croma Restaurant, mentioned in an earlier post. This movie written and directed by Andrew Haigh, produced by Tristan Goligher and starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay was a 93 minute feature. The movie depicts the relationship between a couple in the few days running up to their 45th wedding anniversary. The general feeling among my colleagues and I was aaaah, uhmmmmm, coulda been shorter, like much shorter. Not sexy. But hey, not a bad movie either.
After this was dinner, again at the Italian place Zucca. And then bed.
Of course we didn’t even realize today was Sunday.