I just got word that my short “The Bouquet” is to have its US premiere at the Short Short Story festival in Rhode Island. The organisers have asked for a 30-60 second intro. I fly to Transylvania this weekend to sit on the features judging panel so I pretty much have tomorrow to nail this piece to camera. Considering that the entire film – including titles – is just three minutes long I have to go for the 30 second option. This is the length of a tv commercial so what can I say about The Bouquet? That the film was a last minute script I came up with as an audition for the actress Nadine Rahimtoola? That might lower the value of the film so probably not. That the lead actor was actually a family member, Simon Murphy, who normally does sound but got roped in that day? Again, probably not. Maybe I should talk about how the sound was recorded separately (because we were shooting with a DSLR and our sound guy was busy acting) and subsequently had the sound recorder stolen along with all the sound so the entire film is ADR’d? No – maybe they haven’t noticed so least said soonest mended. What about revealing that the desaturated colour which renders the film almost black and white was not an artistic nod to the feel of French cinema but the result of me being too lazy to grade the film. The truth is that “The Bouquet” is the most accidental film I’ve ever made yet it premiered in the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and was picked out of all my films as his favourite by the actor Bernard Cribbins. I guess films are a bit like children. Despite all the screw ups that parents make, some just turn out right…
It’s my birthday today and I’m celebrating it in Berlin. Today I sat outside a cafe called something with a German name on something-strasse and watched the world go by… slowly. That is not to say that I necessarily was watching slowly. The world, in this case, dictated the pace. At the next table a group of young, well dressed Berliners spoke earnestly in German. I caught the odd ‘ja’ so I gathered it was a positive conversation. A group of youngsters in lederhosen and braces walked past looking anything but selfconscious. I asked the waitress if it was a stag party or, perhaps, a university event.
‘Bavarians,’ she stated, as if that explained everything.
Berlin is an interesting city. I love it here. I can imagine that there are people who don’t but I can’t imagine that anyone could be neutral to it. It’s a city of contradictions where anything goes. On one hand there is a structure and functionality to everything. Trains run on time, people stop and wait for the green man before crossing the road and social etiquette is respected. At the same time it’s the most bombed city in the world with no space sacred from the aerosol cans of the graffiti artists. Some of the graffiti is undeniably art. A lot, however, is merely someone scrawling their name or a message with a paint can in a fashion that even the most supportive couldn’t call art. Just as the city is splashed with colour, so are the citizens. Just as pasta manufactureres will always have a job in Italy, tatoo artists won’t go hungry in Berlin. It reminds me of LA in that respect. Anything goes in Berlin. All the fashions of the world collide on its streets and often on the same person. From pastel pinks to tartan punks Berlin is home to all and Berliners don’t bat an eyelid at the weirdest looks imaginable. That’s quite refreshing, I must say. This non-judgemental attitude seems to boost confidence. Berlin woman will catch your eye and cooly appraise you without looking away. That’s not common anywhere else that I know.
Berlin is very much a people friendly city. It’s cheap to begin with, in rents, food and clothing. Its transport system is fantastic and it works. The climate is kind and the many bicycle paths are well used. It’s the kind of place to bring kids up in and lots of people seem to have had that very thought. I wonder if the bicycles outnumber the babies or vice versa… whichever, there are a lot of both.
In personal news my film ‘Whatever Turns You On’ is playing here in Berlin at the International Short Film Festival. It has also been chosen for the French scholastic programme. Our new short “Veronique”, written by my collleague Bill Tyson and directed by me, has been delivered to the Irish Film Board and Wildwave and premieres at Darklight Film Festival in October. I’m currently ploughing happily through my Ganglands feature script.