Ray of light

Blog #10


Raymond finally escaped from the darkness yesterday and is back with the BFC full-time.  His visit to Rwanda ran longer than expected but he returned bearing gifts - a sound mixer, reflectors, lighting gels and the promise of a brighter future.  We’ve been working on creating a long-term relationship with the Rwanda Cinema Centre in Kigali to both exchange films and use their inflatable screen for our festival in July.  In the short term though, I took full advantage of his presence to (sort of) sit back for a day and let him take over some of the teaching.


We usually teach upstairs at the Palais des arts in a large room with a lot of natural light.  It rather conveniently overlooks a huge decaying theatre below, which from the first day we’ve always thought of as the promise for a future audience that is completely within our student’s reach.  Today, however, we transported all of our equipment to the theatre below to show some basics of lighting in a space we could control.


Using coloured gels, diffusers, black wrap, and a TV monitor, we taught the basics of three-point lighting along with a few tips to light the scene creatively. The tangle of extension chords, power bars and transformers (to ensure our 110V North American lights didn’t explode on us) made for a rather intimidating sight for the students. We could feel the collective anxiety in the room rise when they saw what it took just to get a single shot to look right.  Our constant harping of keeping their films short and trimming the dialogue gained significant currency when they realized they would have to do all this for their entire film in a single day. I’m probably much more worried than they are though.


The day ended with me playing Mr. Hollywood and dolling out the 100,000 FBU cash to each of the producers upon approving their budget. Everyone is rushing at full throttle to have their shooting schedules, actors and locations ready for this Monday and we’re still in the middle of teaching new essential things every day.  Time is definitely against us, logic is on the fence and so we’re in heavy negotiations with luck to be our ally. But as we’ve heard and recited to each other many times over here, “peu à peu on peut”.


Christopher Redmond