A Beautiful Dance

I’ve been tucked into the many aspects of post production over the last few weeks, transcribing footage for two feature length projects. One is fiction and it is so close to be finished that I can hardly believe it might be ready to birth out into the world soon…I feel so lucky to hand it over to an amazing editor here in London for “polishing” “scene tweaking”, “Colour-grading” and also trying to lock down someone talented and creative to do the sound mix. I have written and recorded many layers for voicover to be woven throughout- I’m aiming for a soundscape…I am not a mainstream filmmaker- but I do want people t see my films and I do wish for my films to open up dialogue about important or inspiring subjects.

I feel pressure to secure an amazing space or a film festival to premier it and I figure that having the support of The British Film Council might help with that- when it is good enough…

I haven’t been very social here in London. I have turned down a lot of invitations- feeling as though I am in a post-production cave, fighting off a fluey cold for much of this time, succumbing to it at one point and then feeling sort of too vulnerable for chitchat, small talk or slightly invasive questioning- kind of standard when one travels the world as much as I do. Part of being an avid traveller is becoming a bit of a raconteur- tales of the tavels become de rigeur upon return. Note to self- pace yourself!

I have been going to 5 Rhythms dance every week here- twice last week all with amazing teachers, Chris Connors, Liz Baron Cohen and Jessica Howie. I have seen some beautiful familiar faces on the dancefloor. I have shaken and twisted and convulsed and head-banged. I have felt the awareness and physical pain of it all the following days.

It is a serious workout because I make it that way for me. It is such a release and it tunes me right into what is going on in my physical body, energy body, emotions and mind. It is challenging, healing and empowering. I love it more with each class. In the beginning I hated it because I found it very uncomfortable and had to sort of undo all my years of ballet training and technique. I also greatly disliked any sort of directed or encouraged interaction with “random” unfamiliar people getting a bit too close into my personal space. Then , I figured out that the dance was a metaphor for life and the challenge for me was to work on setting boundaries without words as well as in opening my heart and trusting more in life and other people. I also understood how the dancefloor is a microcosm for how I relate to people..eventually seeing the interconnectedness in everyone spinning and jumping around the dancefloor. It has taught me humility and compassion and given me skills to witness and rise above the ego…

Today, I saw this amazing video for Forest Swords, directed by Benjamin Millepied and starring Billy Barry. I find everything about this film so beautiful that I have watched it several times. Tonight, when I danced the 5 rhythms for the last time in London for about 6 months- I felt myself channeling this amazing dancer Billy Barry…or my version of him at times- I def can’t do those backbends that he does…

I energetically let go of many things from 2014 and made some wishes, welcomed in some blessings for 2015. I also sent good vibes and blessings out through my dancing and intentions, to all the beautiful people I know in London.

Enjoy this amazing video and get yourself down to a 5 Rhythms, Biodanza or Ecstatic Dance class, if nothing else…call it an experiment!

Nowness: The Weight of Gold

Christmas Gift Ideas

Oh yes it is that time of year…festive season is rapidly approaching and this year I will be near family and old friends as opposed to last year where I was in the less familiar surroundings of Bali and amongst new friends. I had a really great and surreal time last year, celebrating with Dr. Punnu Wasu, Anne Kaarakainen and friends on Christmas Eve after several very intense days of holding space as facilitators for the Oneness healing, consciousness and personal development process. This year though, I am in London surrounded by consumerism and fairy lights. I had no pressure to buy gifts last year as every friend I had was a new friend. So perhaps with family and friends there is an expectation of gift giving around this time of year…even if they still say “make me something”

I feel inspired to write a blog post of gift ideas- based mainly on gifts I am giving this year or would like to receive.

YOKO ONO “Grow Love With Me”

This is a really cool seed kit and as you can see below when it grows- the bean has the word love somehow burnt into it. If you are good with plants this one can and will grow and creep up a trellis or wall.

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DVD’s always good gifts, especially if they are of classic or cult films to include in a home library. This year, I am giving “Grace”, “Yves Saint Laurent”, “Man with a Movie Camera”, “Paris is Burning” and “The Act of Killing”.

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Palo Santo Pure Incense. This comes from the Amazon and is expensive. It is my favourite scent in the world, which I would describe as a mix of Chocolate, Sandalwood, Mint, Mystery and Magic. It is also one of the most powerful sacred herbs for cleansing negative energies.

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Neal’s Yard Remedies 10th Anniversary Edition Wild Rose Beauty Balm

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Sephora Rose Facemasks

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Manuka Honey- the stronger the better- Adelicious natural antibiotic and immune system booster. A Winter essential.

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Chlorella & Spirulina Tablets

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Some detox tea as it is also a season for overindulging on the food and booze…

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Monocle Magazine- Intellectual, nice and chunky & The Forecast an annual trend predicting almanac by Monocle.

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Picture Frame by Oliver Bonas

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Votivo Scented Candle. (Personally I think any and all scented candles make really great gifts for anyone and everyone- a living space is instantly made cosy by scented candlelight.)

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Honkey Tonk Harmonica (Or any musical instrument- ukulele, recorder, hang drum etc retro/vintage kids instruments are especially fun)

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Jade Yoga Mat because they are colourful, eco, non slip natural rubber mats. Oh and also partly because they have been superduper kind to sponsor me on my global travels by sending over fresh yoga mats to my different locations around the world so that I don’t have to try squashing yoga mats into my suitcases and can be generous in giving them out to people. They also kindly promote me as a yogi on their website along with other cool, passionate yoga teachers around the world. Thanks very much Jade Yoga :) I will be spreading the love and giving some of your eco mats out to people this Christmas too. I love giving a mat to someone when they take their first private lesson with me- it feels like an initiatory gift…a magic carpet to send them flying on their yoga journey.

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Modern Muse by Estee Lauder (Some people think giving perfume as a gift is unlucky. I do not, but it really depends on who you are giving the gift to- if it is someone who loves scent then you can’t go wrong with a perfume. My advice is only give scent as a gift if you feel certain that person will love it.) This scent is a winner because it actully smells divine, flirty, fresh ad light and …who wouldn’t love to feel like a “Muse”?

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Aesop Unisex Scent Marrakech Intense (Yum Yum Yum I love this scent and it was actually given to me already as a Christmas present by a very thoughtful friend after I mentioned that I loved this scent. IT was a delicious surprise also as I was running very low on the perfume I had created so until this runs out it will be my new signature scent)

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“Healing” by David Elliot- this is a signed book about Healing 101 that explains healing and energy work written by a Hollywood actor turned healer.

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A recent Christmas gift I received and am enjoying. “Find yourself to Help Yourself” a signed copy by Max Kirsten.

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A Gift certificate for a one day Raw food cooking/freeshing course with “Nudo & Crudo” in Italy. (I think gift certificates for a 1 day course of any type makes a great gift from cooking to painting to dancing and more. Learning is the best thing ever, so offering someone the chance to learn a new skill or grow in an area of interest is very thoughtful. If you get it very wrong and they are just not interested…well they can always offer it to someone else or back to you.)

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Interesting, rare, vintage Malibu Tiles being sold by Mangusta Productions in L.A

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Beautiful, Affordable, Limited Edition Artprints by Mila Furstova. Created for the new Coldplay album “Ghost Stories”. All proceeds from prints sold go to Kids Company, an awesome London-based Charity. You can buy the prints online here Album Artists

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A piece of art is always a great gift, If you know an artist- particularly an emerging artist, then buying a piece of their work can mean the world to them and can also be very cool for someone decorating a new home. It’s good to negotiate with the artist that maybe the giftee might want to exchange it for another piece if they don’t feel it fits in their home.

You can also find great affordable artworks uploaded by the artists, for sale on websites like Saatchi Online Gallery and Sedition Art and Deviant Art

So that’s the bulk of my giving and receiving this Christmas…

On my imaginary wishlist this year are:

A pair of Havaianas for my trip to Bali- I will probably just buy them out there

A pair of Toms for my trip to India.

A pair of Billabong, Roxy or Quicksilver boardshorts with an interesting print, though I am seriously thinking to start creating my own….

A new bikini that will stay in place with the rough and tumble of the waves when I get back on my surfboard…again this is something I may get into making when I’m out in Bali…or co-creating if I am lucky to connect with an experienced swimwear/lingerie designer out there…know anyone? Put them in touch!

A beautiful Sari- which I will pick up in India.

A jewel…I don’t know what yet but I have heard from jewellery designer friends that there are amazing jewellery markets in India where traders go with rare and precious stones. It’s probably easy to get ripped off when you don’t have a clue about how to assess the value of jewels…

I suppose the jewel I might want to find in a market is a black diamond. I find black diamonds seriously mysterious, magical and intriguing.

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In all honesty though, I don’t need any of this stuff…

It was such a relief to give most of my possessions away one year ago and I have been living out of a suitcase for one year now.

I am a much lighter being.

I pickup funky cheap pieces in charity shops or locally produced creations directly from the makers/designers as I travel.

I also donate constantly to charity shops so there is a turnaround and I am able to continue living and travelling light. I started an online shop one year ago The Conscious Hipster where I sell trinkets, treasures and clothes from my travels. I will soon start selling more of my designer, high fashion and some vintage pieces on there because I have been given or had to buy some more glamorous pieces over the past 6 months for the Cannes Film Festival, The Rome Cinema Festival and for events in L.A, Munich and London. I will soon put some of those cute dresses on my online shop too so they may bring some joyful style into the lives of others and also so I can keep travelling light!

Wishing you a happy and stress-free Christmas, Hanukkah, Yuletide shopping experience and many mistletoe kisses.

I’d love to know about some of the interesting things you are gifting this season.

I still have some gifts to make/buy/give and am looking for some inspiration too so please respond if you have some links to share for unique, eco or conscious gifts to suggest.

I’ll leave you with this cute picture shared by an inspiring website The Mankind Project

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Intuitive Painting

I’m pausing to reflect on a recent art therapy experience I had in Rome with Marianne Cordier at Atelier Creativita. I had been feeling a longing to paint for a few months, to just have a tiny corner in an artist’s studio, to see what I might make with the space, time and tools to paint.

I spent much of my downtime as a teenager in the art studio at my boarding school- building a portfolio to eventually present to Art Colleges when I started to do the rounds of interviews at age 16 and 17. I was more into photography then painting though I loved art and ended up studying Fine Art at Saint Martins.

I hadn’t done any painting since my first year at Saint Martins, as my focus there became film-making.

Something in me was calling out and asking me to paint again…so I started to google- to see if there might be somewhere I could go and paint for a few hours.

This led me to find Marianne Cordier, who offers one-to-one and group “Intuitive painting sessions. This resonated with me as a great place to start dipping my fingers back into paint pots under some guidance, as I knew I would have some blocks coming up about what to paint and where to start again.

MArianne’s studio is beautiful, in a large complex of art studios and exhibition spaces. She is a practising artist, counsellor and art therapist and a super cool chiquita.

She greeted me and asked me to pick a card to begin our discussions.

I picked a card that looked at first glance to be bit ominous and fore-warning to me, but we talked about the image from different points of view and came to the conclusion that this girl in the image was lucky to walk right through into the unkown- avoiding catastrophe. In hindsight I realised that the card might have represented the Berlin Wall- as I had just returned from Berlin, celebrating 25 years since the smashing down and fall of the wall-feeling lucky to have the freedom to move about as I please and to able to walk freely from East to West.

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We then had a chat about where I am currently at in life- personally, professionally and creatively. I felt very inspired and safe in the creative healing studio space Marianne had created. I then lay down to close my eyes and was led on a guided meditation through a very colourful adventure to meet a spirit guide. I have done quite a few Shamanic journeys and guided meditations wherein I have sometimes re-connected with spirit guides that I have met and known before. On this occasion however, I met a new and very powerful spirit guide- a Griffin or Gryphon.

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In the meditation, I was given a gift by the Griffin and then returned with that gift in a box by boat, up a staircase and through a garden to my conscious self once more. I was then led to an alter with paint pots and a blank canvas and was guided to choose a colour and start painting with my hands. I chose gold and was at first very delicately trying to make something pretty on the canvas but MArianne interrupted and encouraged me to move, to dance and to flow- to make more of a mess and to start using other colours. At one point, I was even blindfolded and really started to make a mess as I could no longer see which of my chosen colours I was using. Then again, without the blindfold I started to play with and test out other tools, paintbrushes, sponges etc… then returned to smearing it all around with my fingers- It was all so spontaneous and so much fun!

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After some time Marianne told me I only had a few minutes left to give my painting whatever I thought it needed…It needed some white and some bronze…actually I felt like it probably needed a lot of work but I understood that in that canvas had gone the energy and the gifts of the Griffin and somehow in the mush of it all I could see the Griffin’s white feathers, the fields of flowers I had run through, the mediterranean sea I had floated on to get to the island where the Griffin lived and the bronze gold of the gift it had given to me.

I was then asked to sit in front of my painting and to ask it if it had a message for me…

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The painting told me this:

  • don’t worry about perfection, create with spontaneity, in a free way
  • dive into creativity in your daily life by dancing, painting, singing.
  • Embrace imperfection and all the colours of life

All in all, it was a beautiful experience to be led through meditation and intuitive painting. It was an opportunity to merge my inner child and my higher self. It was a chance to make something that I can frame and hang on a wall and remember the power of the imagination, the power of surrender to creativity and the power of intention. I had literally called the experience into my life because I wanted and needed to paint again.

If you are feeling a creative calling but unsure of what form that might take, I would reccommend “Art Therapy” “Intuitive PAinting” and if you can- to do one of Marianne’s creativity workshops or a one-to-one session and unleash the creative potential within. You can purchase gift certificates too- a wonderful birthday or Christmas present!

“Gift A Creative Experience”.

Below are some photos I took of Marianne in her studio. I would definitely like to return and do some more intuitive painting with her when I return to Rome.

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Berlin Rocks!

After an amazing week in Berlin I’m ready to sit down and write it out of me… Berlin is such a cool city, alive with the pulse of potential and creativity. I had the rare opportunity to catch up with many family members: sister, 6 cousins, their other halves, my Grandmother, Aunt and Uncle, Great Aunt and Great Uncle.

My sister and I found a fantastic rooftop apartment in Prenzlauerberg on airbnb that only cost 40 euros a night. Every morning began with a meditation on the rooftop and most sunsets too. It was really magical to see Berlin from the perspective of a private rooftop. Airbnb is where it’s at for me if I’m going to spend a week or more somewhere and so far all of my experiences with it have been great.

I re-connected with Nick Mockridge, the Creative Director of Like A Wild Beast’s Fur which is a monthly event fusing techno and conceptual theatre at Berlin’s notoriously hard to get into nightclub Berghain. We got to celebrate his birthday twice- once at an intimate dinner in his art loft, where I was very happy to make a massive salad for the night; and on another occasion in a huge loft event space which was catered by some very creative gourmet chefs with several Berghain DJ’s, Nick Mockridge aka Anonymous Love and his 17 year old brother “DJ Thumbsucker” hitting the decks so we could dance the night away dressed in “Shabby Chic” eclectica.

I also made it down to dive into the street party celebrations- 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There were white balloons all around Berlin, where the wall once stood and at 7pm on Nov 9th they were all released and floated up to the heavens whilst people cheered and cried and Peter Gabriel sang “We could be heroes” which David Bowie had originally recorded in Berlin.

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A new friend Louise took us to a beautiful yoga studio- Spirit Yoga- where we did a very hardcore power yoga class with Adam Rice. He’s a great teacher and his advanced class highlighted for me how easy I like to take it and how quickly I can loose my strength. I have been doing Iyengar yoga in Italy-in Italian and it is very much about realignment which is what I felt I needed after spending many hours transcribing video footage and editing on the computer. Getting back into ashtanga was very intense for my body but also motivating as I am determined to get stronger so I can hit the waves and surf when I return to Bali next year. Strength is a must for surfing along with balance which I seem to still have from my lighter almost daily yoga practises. I think it’s time for me to step up though and return to Birkam or Ashtanga yoga training- for the physical and mental strength it catalyses. Where in the world is my favourite AShtanga yoga teacher Danny Paradise? It’s important for yoga teachers to have a daily practise but it can become a lot maybe even too much when teaching on top of it. Luckily my teaching is mostly one on one and is a mix of life coaching and yoga, so I’m not physically pushing it by practising and teaching everyday… I’m really looking forward to 5 Rhythms dance and Yogabeats when I’ll be in London for a few weeks.

I got to hangout and have an art day and visit a ton of art galleries with music producer Lenny Mockridge and Izzie Baxter, the lead singer of my favourite new band “Black Honey”.

The highlight of the gallery tours for me was visiting Blain Southern’s massive gallery in what was once “Die Zeit” newspaper headquarters- a HUGE space! That whole area is full of galleries and the area even offers a gallery map- definitely a great way to spend a day in Berlin.

I caught up with Matthew Mockridge who is the co-founder of Neon Splash Paint Parties which are massively taking off in Europe and drawing huge crowds for their interactive colourful raves.

My sister and I hit several vintage shops and found them full of amazing pieces. I picked up two long 1970’s dresses, a thick Tirolean sweater and a yellow knitted cape.

Being with family for my Grandmother’s birthday was so comforting- just completely being myself and feeling such gratitude and wonder for us all being in the same place at the same time to celebrate with her- she is incredible and her life story is unbelievable.

My Godmother Margie Kinsky was in town too, doing her new one woman show. It is based on her new book which has made it onto the German bestsellers list- Go Girl! Ich bin so wild nach deinem Erdbeerpudding

On a slight come down after such a fun week in an exciting action-packed culturefull city but today was a really inspiring day back in Italy too, so I’m going to write a seperate blog post just about today.

One last thing please checkout, rent, buy, download, share this Independent movie that I was involved in making 5 years ago in NYC. We are all really happy that it is finally available worldwide so more people can learn about the internal struggles and PTSD faced by soldiers returning from war. It was appropriately released worldwide on November 11th 

Bye for now

BERLIN ROCKS!!!

Hoopy Halloween

Collage by  Darling Clementine

Collage by
Darling Clementine

So many people- adults and kids, floating through the streets of Rome in spooky costumes; it was all very Fellini. I didn’t dress up this year- well I wore my very “so bad it’s good” Moschino fleece jumper, sewatpants, a woolly London Underground hat and trainers…I guess I might have been a “Rude Girl or a “Chav” more by accident then intent. It’s kind of one of my comfortable looks- tacky vintage sweater, sweatpants, trainers and a beanie- it’s a very London look, or it makes me think of London and is all about the trainers really.

This Hallows Eve I set out to meet Darling Clementine to buy a collapsible bronze polypro hoop.

I love the global hoop tribe phenomena. In every major city, there is a tribe of hoopers and there hoops are a portal into some very interesting dimensions of the city. I usually try to track down the hoopers and find out where I can buy a hoop if I am sticking around a city for a while. Hooping has become a moving meditation for me and a part of my workout.

Darling had been so understanding when I was unable to meet up due to the film festival shenanigans and then some late nights transcribing video rushes. I was grateful that she kept a sense of humor about it and being an American in Rome, I figured she might like to finally meetup on Halowwen.

I pickedup a deliciious little Halloween candy gift of some amazing Raw Chocolates from Grezzo Chocolates in Monti- maybe my favourite area this time in Rome, for all it’s little vintage shops, weekend market, bio and vegan cafes http://www.grezzoitalia.it/cioccolateria-grezzo/

Darling and I had inspiring chats about Psychology, Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra and Circus skills whilst drinking decaf soy cappucinos.  She is a super interesting person and founder of the Rome Hula Hoopers Network

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We had fun hooping in the streets outside the funky cafe, while a man played a saxophone and another man in a wig started hooping too. Every hooper I might around the world has an interesting story and I love connecting to this magical tribe, making new friends and learning new tricks.

It was fun to watch her spinning the psychadellic LED hoops on the street, the patterns the create are mesmerising and I also love my new bronze hoop I have named “Diva”.

It was fun dancing back through the streets of Rome and the many people in costumes, occasionally throwing “Diva” high in the air or spinning around my head like a lasso.

Definitely plan to shoot a video of Clementine hooping with that LED at night around Rome, she’s got some good tricks and she taught me many in a short space of time.

So this year it wasn’t a big wild fancydress night for me but I’m glad I got out, away from the computer and transcribing documentary footage.

Hope you had a fun one

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Collage by Darling Clementine

Rome International Cinema Festival

I’m here attending the festival on a last minute decision as a Producer and am grateful to be recognized as one worthy of giving a last minute pass to. It wasn’t easy though, there was a lot of paperwork involved in getting a last minute pass but it reminded me of that familiar old lesson- doing the paperwork mostly pays off. That goes for funding opportunities, artist residencies, festival submissions and more. Putting time into the paperwork and doing what needs to be done can help to open doors to the expected and the unexpected.

Now here and midway through this festival, feeling a need to start blogging… if nothing else to keep track of all that I am seeing and learning and doing this week.

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I kicked off the festival by watching the sunset on the rooftop of The Bernini Hotel, where many people in suits had gathered to say hello to each other. It’s always a bit intimidating to go to a party unsure of knowing anyone there but I am getting accustomed to rocking up to events on my own and just looking around at people’s energy. Within moments of stepping onto the rooftop I got into conversation with a major Israeli film distributor and a French film sales agent. We swapped cards and were abruptly interrupted by a Producer who wanted to tell me about a very big budget film he has been developing and is seeking a co-producer for. I had to let him down gently and say that I was probably not that big player Co-Producer he was looking for but that I would love to read his script. He turned on me and asked “Why should I let you read this script?” and I replied “because you just came up to me and started pitching it to me and the only thing I can offer to do is read it. When I read it ideas and connections may pop into my head and if I like it and can help you make it I will.” He told me about the director he wants to attach and as it happens I have met that director a few times and he immediately offered to cut me a deal if I could get hima meeting with that Director. It was such a whirlwind and I found myself thinking “Why have I got myself into this schmooze game…I really find it all kind of bullshit”. Though I coached myself out of negative thinking and announced that I had to go and attend my first of many film screenings, the premiere of Italian romcom “Soap Opera”. We swapped cards and as he walked away an even better suited Director for his movie popped into my head so I sent him a quick email about that- 4 days later and he has not replied to my email so I am glad I didn’t waste my time getting involved in his slightly paranoid way of operating and in reading or become somehow involved in the goose chase of trying to help attach a big name Director’s to his script.

Here’s the trailer for “Soap Opera” it was cute and full of very modern Italian clichees and subversive dark humour which I felt good to be able understand. It’s something like an Italian take on a “four weddings and a funeral” or an “Almodovar” film with hints of “Shallow Grave” and “Delicatessen” in the art direction, set and costumes. I’m not sure if it will reach a large audience though but definitely Italians around the world would enjoy it and fans of European cinema.

I wanted to go to Asia Argento’s book launch because I really like the thought of making a film in Italy with her, but I couldn’t leg it over to the other side of town in time for that as I had to get dolled up and head over to another huge auditorium cinema for the red carpet European premiere of “Trash”. I gulped when I arrived and saw just how big and long the red carpet parade was (apparently one of the biggest red carpets in the world!) and just how many paparazzos and fans had gathered for it.  I have walked up red carpets before with friends to celebrate their work on big pictures but this was my first walk alone and I looked for another way in before being told to walk up the red carpet- much less painful then waking a plank obviously but still pretty intimidating… I took a deep breath and stood up straight before stepping onto the carpet, half pinching myself that this was really happening- that I was dolledup and walking alone like Alice in Wonderland at a glamorous movie premiere. I love it when life gets wierd in a glamorous way!

I met the Director, Stephen Daldry on the red carpet, maybe he thought he knew me as he said hi and we shook hands and I congratulated him for all his great films and told him I was taking part in a masterclass with him the following day. And then I stopped for a moment as a ton of flashbulbs went off around us, I felt a bit dazed and confused by it all. The film was incredible, also to see it on a huge screen. I felt on the verge of tears a few times throughout. The three young stars were incredible and the story was an interesting mix of a brilliant screenplay and improvised authentic documentary footage. I learnt more about this process and concept of fusing documentary and fiction in the masterclass. IT made a lot of sense to me as I have made both documentaries and fiction and it was inspiring seeing the two forms fused so powerfully together on such a big scale. See this film if you can. It will do for Brazil what “Slumdog Millionaire” did for India. I think the best part of the evening was seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces when the entire audience gave a standing ovation at the end. I felt stunned as I left the screening, I had been hit by an epic and important film- a movie with a social message that was also gripping and entertaining. It definitely gets my vote for The “Best Foreign Film” Academy Award.

Here is the trailer for “Trash”:

The masterclass with Stephen Daldry was insightful, to learn more about how he works, to learn tips about brining the best out of child actors, to learn learn learn and soak up his knowledge with space to ask questions and to give him my buisness cards. I would love to do a “making of” “behind the scenes documentary” on one of his films, but I learnt that his next project is a tv series called “The Crown” so it could be some time before I might get to do a “making of documentary” on one of his films.

I wanted to attend a masterclass with Wim Wenders and the screening of his documentary “Salt of The Earth” but again that event was far on the other side of town and public transport is slow in Rome so I knew I wouldn’t make it. I walked instead to the Bernini Hotel to attend a pitch session where 20 young Italian screenwriters had received funding to develop scripts and were pitching them to Producers hoping to go into production. It was interesting to hear some great ideas written and developed by writers under 30. I may have found one or two I’d like to work with on an idea that has been bubbling in my head every time I come to Italy, for a film I’d like to make in Italy…maybe with Asia Argento.

I heard very good reviews of the Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribero Salgado co-directed documentary “Salt of The Earth” and was a bit sad to have missed it so I will definitely try to see that when it is publicly available.

Here’s the trailer:

I then went to the screening of a Japanese film that just happened to be premiering at the cinema on Piazza Barberini shortly after I left the script pitches so I thought why not just watch this film- there were a lot of people linedup to se it and one of the benefits of a Producer’s pass is being able to just walk in and watch any of the films (other then the big red carpet Gala premieres which have to be pre arranged or invitation only). The filmmaker Miike Takashi had been awarded the “Maverick Director Award” as he has made over 100 films in Japan, many of which are live action manga adaptations and very stylistic violent films. Italy also has a track record of producing stylistic violent films and there is definitely an audience for gore- although it is not my genre of choice to create or to watch.

Here’s the trailer for “As The God’s Will” :

This Japanese film was very surreal and very violent, I don’t like watching violence or gore particularly but this was mostly done in an over the top or artistic way; such as red marbles pouring out instead of blood when people got killed… at the beginnig at least. It just got darker, gorier and more twisted as the film went along. It was like a live action version of a wierd manga cartoon. It felt like a social commentary on voyeurism, reality tv, violent video games and the sort of Japanese schadenfreude gameshows where someone is being chased by a giant bowling ball afraid for their life yet laughing hysterically whilst being sprinkled with giant evil giggling kitsch killer toys and a jpop all star looking cast of beautiful and talented young Japanese actors. God in this film is a man locked into his bedroom coding scripts for these teenagers to act out like they are his puppets and writing dark games for them to play where inevitably someone dies at the end of each game or test. At one point during the film I scribbled a line down on a piece of paper, about how they were all being tested on their intelligence, fitness, imagination and luck. I know I am going to have some crazy dreams after seeing that nightmarish film. It was definitely too long at 2 hours. I found myself squirming in my seat feeling tortured by beeing forced to watch the violent and sadistic “killing games” they were playing over and over again and considered getting up and walking out but nobody in the cinema left their seats and I was kind of both disgusted and fascinated hoping it might resolve itself have a deep moral story and a happy ending… I’m sure it will be banned in America for it’s violence and killings in a highschool setting and it’s not a film I feel people will benefit from seeing. However, it does have all the ingredients to become a cult film appreciated mostly for it’s wierdness, art direction and violence that particularily video gamers, horror/gore and Japanese Anime/Manga cartoon fans will appreciate.

Tomorrow morning I have an early start with Italian grammar lessons yuck I really do not enjoy studying grammar but it does make me a better speaker. Then I’m going to do a couple of back to back skype coaching and creative consultancy sessions before dressing up in a vintage and New Romantic-inspired look for another walk down that long red carpet and the European premiere of “Soul Boys of The Western World” about Spandau Ballet The Movie.

I have taken a lot of meetings with international distributors here to discuss my Guerrilla fiction feature film made in London and the documentary I have been independently producing and filming this year in Indonesia. This seems to be a market for more mainstream yet still experimental films- people are definitely signing deals her to international distributors and it’s been great to connect with so many, especially the ones who are known for purchasing film rights early before a project gets popular! It also gives me new energy for future projects- to be able to run them by and possibly get a distribution deal before going into production- even to finance the production… this could take filmmaking to a new level for me and so it makes it seem worth the while to go to festivals and connect with distributors for everything I have already made and everything I will go on to make- it’s also good to meet people face to face and look for real connections that will be energizing and have longevity rather than dealing with emails and anonymity.

Distributors look at my a bit blankly when I raise the topic of a documentary or tv series about healers and in particular sound healing. I have expressed how my interest is also on the varied journeys people have taken to become healers. One distributor suggested that it would be more interesting if I made an investigative expose film called “Shamans or Charltans?” to expose the dark side of lightwork: corruption, lack of integrity and money driven side of “healing” but that’s not the kind of work I am on a mission to make and that would also drag me down to investigate and expose corrupt healers. I am sure there are of course healers taking advantage of people who are troubled and or sick but I have been very lucky to meet so many healers who live and practise with heart and great integrity. I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on the good ones and currently feel some fusion of Anthropologist, Musicologist and Promoter of the concept and benefits of “Sound Healing” and and quite literally Sound Healers. The Sound of Healing : Project Page

A major TV Channel expressed an interest in the Guerilla feature film I made on a shoestring budget and very quickly in London. That film really needs one last edit, a polish, colour-grade and sound mix for me to feel good about sending it to a broadcaster for their consideration…although it is currently being submitted as a work-in-progress to festivals for a premiere. I’m hoping it will be accepted to a good festival and then I will be able to get the support to have these essential final stages of post-production carried out….and it would of course be incredible if it ended up being broadcast on television!

Ah life is fun with one foot in a platform heel and one foot in the lotus position!

To be continued…

Hi again so part two…

I thought to make this a separate blog but really it’s a roundup of the rest of the festival so prefer to pack it into one.

I attended the Spandau Ballet premiere, with another slow-motion walk up the long red carpet. Secutiry was tighter for this one and clearly Spandau Ballet are massive in Italy as the throngs of fans behind the barricades suggested. I wore a vintage balck and gold spandex 1980’s shoulder padded catsuit with my red recycled leather jacket and a lot of heavy eyeliner, hair backcombed and flipped over to one side. I was going for a New Romantic inspired look. It’s really so much fun to dress up for movies- especially when there is a theme. Getting ready for this premiere reminded me of going to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a teenager and the imaginative effort that went into creating a look for that. It was exciting to see the whole band together again on the red carpet and as they made a parade into the auditorium to introduce and sit through the film the audience were screaming and going wild! The film was good, I particularly loved the archive footage from the early pre-famous Blitz Club days also featuring Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange and Philip Sallon (who almost became my manager at one point when I was making music. I love that man!)

It was a moving story of a band of London teenagers suddenly hitting the big time, then breaking up and then making up. It was also interesting to learn about the rivalry and then strong friendships with Duran Duran. One quote that stood out from the film was “There are only three things that breakup a band- sex, drugs and ego” In their case, as in many cases it was ego that brokeup the band and the songwriter’s need to control that only he would write the songs “for fear that someone else might do it better than him”- which eventually meant that after years of handwork all the other band members got screwed by his ego. It was very humble of him to admit that awareness and ill possibly be a cautionary tale to current successful bands- not to let drugs, sex, money or ego breakup the band. It all got much more positive towards the end when the band decided to reunite and return to what they loved doing in the first place -making and performing hit songs and lifting the spirits of the audience. This movie and premier was also an announcement of their comeback tour.

On another note…

I am slowly getting over the shock of the terrifying events that took place in Ottawa and in Canadian Parliament. A crazygunman ran through Ottawa shooting and killing a soldier, then ran into Parliament shooting open fire, shooting several people with a big gunfight culminating in Parliament and ultimately the gunman being taken down. It was very scary for me as my brother is working in Parliament and he was in that building, instructed to hide under his desk through the gunfight. The entire building went into lockdown after the gunfight as they tried to assess if their were more gunmen around and then also to deal with the chaos of hysterical people being in lockdown all day. I was very afraid and just prayed hard all day to know my brother was in the building but not to know if he was ok. I am beyond relieved to know he survived the ordeal and my heart breaks for Cpl Corillio and his family who suffered a great loss at the hands of a crazy gunman. I hope that there will be some sort of ceremony of healing for all who spent a day in fear for their lives and lived through the ordeal as well as to heal the building itself- the space needs to be cleared of negative energy…how are people supposed to just return to work as normal without experiencing some kind of trauma/PTSD?

It also made me feel that I have no more tolerance for sensationalized gore and violence in movies. When this traumatic shit happens in real life and someone very close to me was forced to deal with that kind of reality, it just makes no more sense to me to be entertained by sensationalized violence. I suppose it is a part of life- the shadows of the world but right now it would only make sense to me in movies if there is an underlying moral message or is based on real-life events as a factual account- still not my chic of entertainment.

After this day of praying and feeling terrified…I lost a bit of steam for the whole film festival networking thing and most of my enthusiasm for geeing out to watch more movies…still it was quite a full cup and inspiring experience at this year’s Rome International Cinema festival.

My head is down now in right-brained Producer organizational mode as I lineup the final stages of post-production on my my feature film shot in London- aiming for a cast,crew and friends premier there before Christmas. Also, very happy to learn that a feature film my company Co-Produced a few years ago, finally has distribution and will be publicly released on November 11th- very fitting as it is about soldiers returning from war and suffering from PTSD.

Will be back soon with some hopefully inspired learnings and reflections.

I leave you with this funny rap about meditation and to promote the “21day meditation experience”:

“Happy New Now & Cowabunga Namaste”

Top 13 Favourite Albums

Ah the time-wasting joys of Facebook. I was asked to compile a list of top ten albums and when I sat down to write them out it took some time…much more than I wanted to spend compiling a list just for fun. The friend who asked me to do this is a dear old friend and budding DJ Liam Mockridge so for him, I made the effort and it was fun. I realised that choosing my top ten all-time favourite songs would have been much easier because there are so many artists that I love listening to, depending on my mood. Choosing top albums involves loving at least several of the songs on there so, in the end I was able to whittle it down to my all-time top 13 albums plus 3 compilations. I am quite tempted to compile another list of my top 10 spiritual/yoga/meditation/world music albums too because there are so many great artists that I love in that genre alone and that’s what I listen to mostly these days but I don’t want to spend all day compiling lists of music I love – there is too much to do today! The albums on this top 13 list have stuck with me as great loves over the years and I never get sick of hearing them.

Depeche Mode- 101

Madonna- True Blue

Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral

The Velvet Underground & Nico

David Bowie- Hunky Dory

Eek-A-Mouse- Wa Do Dem

The Doors- Strange Days

Patrick Wolf- Lycanthropy

Peaches- The Teaches of Peaches

Yoav- Charmed & Strange

M.I.A- Arular

The Beastie Boys- Check Your Head

Tchaikovsky- The Nutcracker

These are my favourite compilation albums because I have loved playing them from beginning to end over the years and still do- they have stood the test of time for me:

Nouvelle Vague- Nouvelle Vague

Hotel Pelirocco- Compilation

Kashpoint- Compilation

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