Thursday, March 1, 2007

Cinema Paradiso Saves the Day

It has long been a dream of mine to work in film. I have taught script writing for a decade now, but never really tried to get anything I've written produced. My problem is that I was trained as a teacher and have my masters in the field; however, while my emphasis was education, I studied film during my masters and fell in love with the genre. I often throw together movie scripts or usually just 60 or 70 pages of them anyway, just to kill time between classes and sometimes I have someone read them and they give me a lot of strokes and "Do something with these" and then I toss them back in the drawer and go teach my classes. Well I did not leave the security of my life in America to play it safe! So I've been writing some Thai stories and I am going to start shopping my services around to the Thai Film world a bit.
Can a film by made in ENGLISH in THAILAND? I believe it can! Exporting a high quality film, something that world wide audience can access through English (not subtitles or dubbing) is something I believe in!
Last night I had a delicious and smokin' hot dinner at Crokmai and had a meeting with the owner Mr. Suchat Phathum, who has acted in many Thai films. His brother Mr. Surasri Phathum is a well known director in Thailand, in fact two of his films are on the list of the top 100 films you must see which were made in Thailand. He joined us late in the evening and it was amazing what happened.
The language barrier was beginning to rear it's ugly head. My best friend Mod is completely bi-lingual and he was able to translate for us, but Surasri was not sure if I was just some American Wannabe writer/actor and so he had little interest in the ideas that I was sharing. Then something magical happened, and in truth I could almost hear the church bells ringing in the Italian village, when Mod, who was feeling a tad bit frustrated by the lack of connections, mentioned one of our favorite films. Cinema Paradiso.
Mr. Surasri had not looked at me during the meeting, he had not smiled, nor had he spoken one word of English. But as Mod began to talk about his love and my love of the world's greatest love story suddenly he turned to me, his face transforming into a wide smile, and said in quality English: "If you love this film, you must be a real writer!"
I have taught classes filled with thugs and gangsters, hip-hop kids, jocks, preps, skaters, stoners, rock-heads, ditto heads, Asian, Black, Spanish, White, and I always try to show this film to them. Subtitles and all it is always a HIT. 18 year old muscle bound boys crying like babies and street smart teenage girls giggling with delight at the scene at the water drive in. I love this film and if you haven't seen it then go NOW and rent it and watch the STUDIO VERSION ONLY. The directors cut is rubbish!
Giuseppe Tornatore's film loosened us up for the night and then things went well. We'll see if we can work together in the future, but I have at least made a new friend. Click above to link to the Cinema Paradiso web site. GO RENT THIS FILM!