Roots Reggae: Last Words from Malaw

Spent all day yesterday shooting a music video for a local reggae musician here in Mzuzu. He's a friend named Fitzgerald, I want to use his music in the doc, so in exchange I'm shooting this for him. The videos on TV here are mostly just master shots with the artist standing on a hill or sidewalk dancing and singing. I love them myself, but they aren't commercial at all. I hope this makes an impression. We shot in his neighborhood, which is a slum. Looks rough, but it's full friendly people and full of life. Morning was terrible. Kids crying, kitchen smoke blowing all over, light problems, rain. By afternoon I chilled out and started tossing out any too-complex ideas and went for what I could get. We did a set of shots on bicycle taxis, a bunch of kids at a day care, a crowd in the street and my favorite; a kid doing a barefoot solo dance on a porch at night. Tonight is the closing scene, a night time bar. Tough because of the lack of light and electricity outlets. Spent a bunch of time two days ago going through a hardware market putting together light sockets with extension cords. Made some diffusion sheets with canvas and watercolor. So far some of it looks really good. Tomorrow back to the monsoon ravaged village. Rain is destroying everything; roads, bridges and crops.

One more week to finish shooting the doc, lots of loose ends and a three way tie going into the final game. Last week Jake staged a protest against a local team, a year ago they caused a riot and threw bricks at people, so Jake refused to let them play on the local ground. He drove his truck onto the field just as the game started and refused to let them play. It was a scrimmage match, so no one was there except the team and Jake. When I showed up he was basically alone with a wiffle ball bat facing off a whole football team, epic stuff and fairly dangerous. As a friend I was proud of him and as a filmmaker he gave me a gift from God.

Realized this three months has been really good for me, feel like I'm getting grad school washed off and behind me. Forgetting all the hard work and misery and now seeing more and more how well that school shaped me. Still make tons of mistakes but it feels good to finally have some of the tools.

Back home Feb 28th.