Details, details, details

Blog entry #1

We haven’t officially arrived in Africa, but the Burundi Film Center is about to make its debut tomorrow.  There won’t be any photo ops with shovels, ribbons cut or plaques unveiled. But when Bridget Farr, Sabrina Guerrieri and I meet up with Raymond Kalisa at the Bujumbura airport, the BFC will essentially take shape for the first time.  Right now it’s not much more then a proposal, a logo, a dream - but tomorrow as our feet touch down on Burundian soil, the months (and years in Raymond’s case) of planning and preparation will finally turn into something tangible. And that’s starting to scare the pants off me.

I’ve been comforting myself for the last two weeks by saying that all the big pieces are in place - the plane tickets are bought, the house is ready, we have students lined up, found a place to teach them, our equipment is packed…  But each of those things brings with it a hundred little details I’m trying to straighten out in my head. Will the equipment be able to handle the power conversions? Will shooting on NTSC in a PAL standard region give us unnecessary hassles? What’s the closest internet to our house? What are these students going to be like? How the hell am I going to live with myself if I’m in Africa when my Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup???

I have put a lot of faith and trust in Raymond, the Rwandan videographer who is really the heart and soul of this entire operation.  He’s our eyes on the ground, our finger on the pulse and by and large the man with the plan. My contribution has been mainly rewriting and restructuring his initial proposal, searching for Canadian partner organizations and bringing some friends and fellow filmmakers to come teach and help get things started.  So far everything has been on our own dime, with no financial compensation in sight, so I’m already indebted to both my colleagues and personal bank account. I’m grateful, pleased and inspired by their willingness to partake in this endeavour, but above all can’t wait for it to finally begin.

I’m going to vow to keep these entries relatively short since I know Facebook creeping takes up the majority of people’s internet time these days.  However, I’m sure many people reading this still have no idea what the heck we’re actually doing out here, so I’ll make sure to give a better overall picture in the next few entries.  Then you can all laugh at me as things inevitably go awry.

Christopher Redmond