The Wheels Are in Motion
Papy sat me down last week to explain how the BFC is like a tree that produces fruit but has no roots. To prevent things from dying when I leave, we need to have a team and a home that will let people know that – even if the project is annual – the BFC has a permanent place and purpose. I’ve been getting the same advice (read: desperate pleas) from everyone else here as well. So I’m listening, and we’ve decided to rent and decorate a section of Papy’s office to be our temporary headquarters, put up a big sign outside, make business cards for Papy and Apollinaire and even put BFC decals on Papy’s van. After our incredible gala on Saturday, this was the next best feeling I could ask for.
All these commitments were possible because I just signed a sponsorship contract with a large telephone company for our CinémaMobile. So before the rain season arrives in late September, we’ll be touring the new films all over the country to five provinces and 13 different communes, and hopefully keeping some seed money to get things ready for next year. And by “we”, I actually mean the rest of the BFC team. I’ll be leaving Burundi before the tour even starts. It’s a shame because the open-air screenings were the most enjoyable part of the project in 2007. Having things still happen when I’m gone, however, does bring a different kind of gratification. We even held one unsponsored outdoor screening just for the team to practice, and me to enjoy.
Next stop for the films – the rest of the world. Papy and I will be at the Off-Courts Film Festival in France for a week premiering one of the films, and then the entire 2010 series will play outside Burundi for the first time at a benefit screening in Ottawa in early November. From there, I’ll be once again distributing the films to festivals worldwide and holding special screenings in Toronto, Montreal, and hopefully other cities across the country. So please, make sure to visit our website for all the updates and I hope you all get a chance to see the films soon.
SPECIAL THANK YOUS
In the weeks before leaving to Burundi, we held an online fundraising drive for the BFC. The goal was to raise $5,000 to cover all the ground costs of the project, never honestly believing we would come anywhere close to that amount. Boy did it feel good to be wrong.
I can’t thank everyone enough – all the friends, family and supporters of the project who made this year possible. Most notably, a good friend and founder of the Canada-World Cinema Project, Parviz Yazdani, inspired me more than I can say when he offered to match all the money raised and gave us the opportunity to run the project they way we had planned. Without everyone’s donations, I’m sure I’d be coming home feeling emotionally and financially drained, unsure how or if we could move forward. Instead, the project feels healthy and hopeful for the future. So I thank you all again, for your support, both financially and emotionally. Every encouraging comment on the blog or by email was greatly appreciated, and I hope I finally get the time to respond to everyone in more detail once I’m home. In Canada – even though Burundi is starting to feel like a close second.