I'll always remember this as the year in which I finally broke ground - I started shooting my first ever feature length documentary, I got my first ever fan mail, and my projects attracted money from funding agencies as well. :-) Well, I can say it's been a good year (and I'm not talking about that joke, where they ask, 'what do you call it when you have 365 used condoms at the end of the year?' :-o ) Quite a good year.
And all I'll get this Christmas is e-cards and long distance cold messages wishing me well. What I always want to ask those who send e-cards is simple, 'Can you hang an e-card on a Christmas tree?' Gone are the days when Christmas was actually Christmas -- what days were those?
I woke up this morning and started to edit, something that had stalled since last week, and I was so happy about it, because for three straight hours I worked and worked and felt so good with what I had done. I was afraid she'd crept into my mind and stolen away my ability to work.
Apparently, she hasn't. I know I'm thinking about her a lot, and wishing it all materializes into something solid, but I also know once I get lost in the thick of editing the documentaries, I'll think about her less and less, and I don't want that to happen.
Am I seriously asking her to marry me?
Oh no! Felistas is back in my life! I was kind of hoping I would never run into her again, because I don’t like her story, but she crept back – or rather she jumped straight out of the blue and grabbed my neck and is now strangling me with a promise of success. Well, what she has done is kick out this guy who I was growing to love, this guy who is stuck on a wheel chair and runs an illegal FM radio station from his bedroom.
|Finally, I shot the film! here is a pic of the heroine.|
Last year, I in a study about what activity had a significant change in my life. At that time, I didn't know what I was talking about when I started thinking about the Acholi-Karamoja shoot, but last night I realised that the change was actually significant.
Okay, i'm talking to this gorgeous girl, Reiza, and so I can't really write this blog now. Will finish it tomorrow. But it has something to do with this article http://howdoyoudoen.nl/?p=869&lang=en and the fact that I just got some money to make a film that I first wrote as a horror, but later changed to a romantic comedy!
PS: I mentioned Reiza's name up there because I think she will actually read this blog and get fluttered :-))
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I woke up this morning with a sense of exhaustion and that feeling you get while watching a soccer match, when the beginning is so intense and so exciting and one team goes three up, and then the last fifteen minutes they start to defend and what started out as a really exciting game finishes in a bore... well, that's what I'm feeling like right now.
Is it quiet? I think before and after the storms, there is always a strange calmness, a moment when silence grips the world like the gentle touch of a lover (what kind of imagery is that? - so crappy) Anyway, you know what I'm talking about?
Well, I feel like that now. But I think I feel like the storm, who came with the wrath of the skies, and huffed and terrified the world, but after all the chaos, the storm feels like it should have done more. Destroyed a few more houses. Torn down that ugly tree. But now the moment is gone, and until the next time, it won't have a chance to wreak havoc.
Tuesday 5th October, the official starting date of principal photography. For the next two months, I will travel from the far west, to the (far) east, and back to the far west, shooting, and shooting, and talking in Nepali until my tongue falls off my mouth.
It's the biggest event of my life. It's like waiting for rain, when you see storm clouds brewing and rolling about in the sky like angry packs of starving dogs looking for a bone - like waiting for rain after a long draught - but I pray it doesn't rain. Oh please God, no more rain! No more! Just give me a lot of sunshine, and blue skies, for I'm making a film about love, and I want the cheerfulness of the sun, and the brilliance of the colors that's so evident in these people's clothes, to shine above the misery, and the agony, and the frustrations that the young people of Nepal find themselves in when they fall in love with someone from another caste.
I haven't written a thing in this blog for nearly two months. And now I don't know what to write. Just that I'm waiting, and I know I should be preparing, but I'm at that point where further preparations will not mean much. Oh where I'm afraid to make further preparation.
But what else can I do? Nothing. I've done my best. I feel exhausted. I've made phone call after phone call, most of the time I'm ignored. Some of the time I'm given false promises. Some of the time they tell me they don't understand what I'm saying because I don't know their language, yet the same mouths will be quick to tell me how much I've learnt their language in the short time I've been here. But yes, there are lots and lots who are willing to speak to my camera. In the words of one of them, "we are people who have been tortured, so we shall speak as much as you want", and that gives me the courage to dive right into the thick of things and start shooting, and shooting, and shooting.
Two bloody documentaries - well, only one is bloody. The other one is a dance documentary. I will simply start it this time, and finish it later next year. But I think at the end of it, people will always wonder - What was Dilman's first feature lengh documentary? Untouchable Love? or was it The Sound of One Leg Dancing (maybe that title will change to ThisAbility to Dance, or maybe to The Dance of the ....- the dance of the what?) But I like the first title, only that if I include a blind dancer in it, maybe it will be turned to The Sound of ThisAbility Dancing, or maybe, The sound of one something dancing, or the sound of half a body dancing? Crap!
I better go home.
PS. My gas ran out, and I don't know how to change the cylinder, so maybe today I'll sleep hungry. I better get someone to teach me.
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|after the storm?|
|first day shooting|
|The Pains of Documentary Making|
|and the edit begins|
|one of those gloomy days|
It's been nearly two years since I had a real shooting day. The last being that fiasco, 'Listening to Her Voice', which I know I was doing because this girl couldn't return the attention I showed her. I made it sort of to vent my fury? Or what was that about?
And I'm probably making 'untouchable love and flying marriages' because I'm in a sort of soul searching moment? Trying to understand my own life, why it is so fucked up and so unlucky with regard to love? Well, only people in movies are supposed to be lucky in love, but here are couples who are being tortured for their love - Romeo and Juliets, complete with the bloodshed, the murders, the family feuds and the suicides. I heard about this boy and girl who hanged suicide together, with a single black shawl, and they were facing each other when they found them. Pretty grisly.
I'm devastated. After eagerly awaiting for a nomination in the Penguin Prize for Africa Writing, I discover today that I have yet again been overlooked! I was really hoping this would be it for me. So sad and to prove it, this will be the shortest blog I'm ever writing.--
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|laughter sells more than horror|
|the internet joke|
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I often try to surprise myself.... I google my name and see what comes up, and I was stunned today to find a short story I wrote for The Kathmandu Post online. The editors didn't get back to me, to tell me whether they liked it or not, and I assumed they did not like it.
Who knows what kusum is? I stumbled upon it accidentally today. A sour-ish fruit, but God, isn't it nice to keep popping the little thing into your mouth?
I visited a VDC called Chaumala. It's been a really hot day. I couldn't stop sweating, and not just a little droplets of sweat, but torrents, my shirt was drenched, my cap was drenched, I guess I stank (and in the bus I sat next to this cute girl - sadly she turned out to be a teenager, maybe only 17, who told me point blank that I'm handsome and sweet - and I asked her, 'How do you know I'm sweet yet you've never tasted me?' and she said 'I just see you and I know.'
|A Nepali ponders her future in the film, Untouchable Love|
Really, there is nothing to hate here - or very little - because the rest of it seems like they are goodies disguised as baddies. For example, look at this number eight, or is it seven?
Well, the next bad thing about Nepal is that it's so easy to get married. So easy.
|They just cannot stop staring!|
The internet certainly helped the 'joke' to grow into a popular media, the way invention of the printery gave birth to the novel. But almost everyone only recycles the jokes they find in their in boxes, and I always wonder who the first person to send that joke was. So I'm going to try and break that habit. I'm going to start my own joke. Here it goes.
This is the best part of writing, staring at the blank page and no words coming out, especially if I want to be funny. I think being funny is my niche, whatever niche means. I never try, but an hour can't pass without someone laughing at something I said, and I always ask myself "What's the matter with that crazy head? Did I say something funny?"
Only that I'm beginning to distrust my comic powers. I think they have grown so much that complete strangers giggle when they see me. Maybe I should clarify that it is complete, strange girls. Strange not in that they have two heads or extremely long necks, or three breasts instead of two (wow, it might be great to have a girl with three breasts so you can't fail to get what to suckle when the baby is busy with the other two) but strange in that these are girls I've never seen before and the moment they see me, I hear them giggle.
Dilman Dila is a Ugandan writer and film maker. In 2013, he
was shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth
Short Story Prize and long listed
for the Short
Story Day Africa prize. He was nominated for the 2008 Million
Writers Awards for his short story, Homecoming. He first appeared in
print in The Sunday Vision in 2001. His works
have since featured in several e-zines and anthologies including the African Roar 2013. His most
recent works is the novelette, The Terminal Move, and the romance
Crest at Sunset, which are available on Amazon. His films include the
masterpiece, What Happened in Room 13
(2007), and the narrative feature, The Felistas Fable (2013). More of his life and works is available
at his website http://www.dilmandila.com.
To read his short fiction, please visit http://www.dilmandila.com/p/fiction.html
To watch his films, please visit http://www.dilmandila.com/p/films.htm
Thanks for visiting!
Labels: dilman dila