A Fine Night for a Premiere Screening

That’s a Wrap

Well things got really busy once we hit Week 3 and began official filming. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for planning, filming, getting from one part of Ecuador to another, reviewing footage, taking pictures, sitting down to eat once or twice a day, and, well, you get the idea.

 

The TECHO crew hit the streets and kept the camera rolling.
The TECHO crew hit the streets and kept the camera rolling.
And it was back out to the villages where TECHO builds houses a few times to interview beneficiaries, follow their characters, and catch a gathering of volunteers and locals.
And it was back out to the villages where TECHO builds houses a few times to interview beneficiaries, follow their characters, and catch a gathering of volunteers and locals.
There was to be a shoot at the local university but, well, sometimes these things don't work out.
There was to be a shoot at the local university but, well, sometimes these things don’t work out.
The FCT crew headed up to the mountains to film with the locals near the cloud forest.
The FCT crew headed up to the mountains to film with the locals near the cloud forest.
Many hours were spent traversing muddy, boot-sucking paths through the forest.
Many hours were spent traversing muddy, boot-sucking paths through the forest.
Did I mention it was an overnight trip in the mountains? With fancy homemade dinner and all?
Did I mention it was an overnight trip in the mountains? With fancy homemade dinner and all?
And we met the bear camera.
And we met the bear camera.

When shooting week wrapped the editors were already hard at work. The rest of the crew shifted gears to translations, finding media, and interview selects.

Many hours were spent in front of the editing computers.
Many hours were spent in front of the editing computers.
Seriously, many hours.
Seriously, many hours.
Stories were reworked
Stories were reworked
and reworked again.
and reworked again.
Somewhere the US national team tied Portugal in the World Cup.
Somewhere the US national team tied Portugal in the World Cup.

Many awesome cuisines were had in the last week as well.

First off was the Guac Off. Five pairs of people, five teams, five creatively different types of guacamole.
First off was the Guac Off. Five pairs of people, five teams, five creatively different types of guacamole.
With all entries fairly judged against each other
With all entries fairly judged against each other
One team, one guac had to win.
One team, one guac had to win.

And then a fine lunch…

Tiesto's fine dining!
Tiesto’s fine dining!

And a fine dinner at La Cucharra Magica…

with song...
with song…
with celebration...
with celebration…
with magic...
with magic…
and laughter.
and laughter.

Everything came together for one final evening gathering at a fine cafe on the river Tomebamba known as Republica Sur.

The films were good
The films were great
and the crowd was good.
and the crowd was good.
Crews had a final farewell with their changemakers.
Crews had a final farewell with their changemakers.
New friends will not be soon forgotten.
New friends will not be soon forgotten.
And there was much celebration.
And there was much celebration.

 

You can ask the crew members about that wild swing day that didn’t quite fit into this post.

A Turi Farewell
A Turi Farewell

Photos by Robin Canfield of Actuality Media

The FCT practice shoot.

Practice Shoot – FCT Crew

On every Actuality Media program we take a morning or afternoon aside from the main project to put the crew together, filming on a set for the first time. It’s a great time to field questions that would otherwise interrupt the main project, and always a fun time.

The TECHO crew got their practice day early to film the Colecta event. There was not early event that need be filmed for the FCT crew, so we paid a visit to the very friendly, oft-shopped at jewelry store down the street.

With no prep work, and just a little time to get ready, it's up to the Cinematographer to start getting coverage right away while the Director works up a story.
With no prep work, and just a little time to get ready, it’s up to the Cinematographer to start getting coverage right away while the Director works up a story.
The compact size of the jewelry store, as well as the many, many decorations hanging from different points of the ceiling made quite the challenge for the crew - both to all fit in one space, as well as to get the sound coverage desired.
The compact size of the jewelry store, as well as the many, many decorations hanging from different points of the ceiling made quite the challenge for the crew – both to all fit in one space, as well as to get the sound coverage desired.
For the sit down interview everyone gathered behind Professor DeMil who helped translate (and later volunteered to be the on camera customer)
For the sit down interview everyone gathered behind Professor DeMil who helped translate (and later volunteered to be the on camera customer)
With main filming done, crew members also had the opportunity to try their hand at different roles. Directors with lighting...
With main filming done, crew members also had the opportunity to try their hand at different roles. The Director with lighting…
and the Editor behind the camera.
and the Editor behind the camera.
Then a wrap with an exterior shot.
Then a wrap with an exterior shot.

 

Unfortunately after shooting was done, our subject let it be known he didn’t really want to be on the internet. The shoot was really an exercise, and the important part was getting through it together. However, the Editor was able to put together a very fine cut and after a private screening with our subject he gave the okay to put the video online. So without further adieu…

Filming Week Complete

Last week was our third week here in Cuenca and was our designated “filming week.” The TECHO group faced a good amount of setbacks last week (which I will explain) but we kept on trekking and still had a great time.

First, on Monday, we were supposed to start our week off by shooting our main character at her university. She had gained permission from her professor for us to shoot about 10 minutes of her class and then use the classroom for an interview afterwards. Everything started off great, we arrived early and got started shooting some great establishing shots but things took a turn for the worse when we were waiting for Gaby (our main character) to come meet us outside of her classroom building. Apparently our camera equipment caught the attention of some nosy teachers who were wondering what we were doing and then questioned if we had the permission of the Dean. Apparently, the permission of the teacher was not enough and after much negotiation and paperwork we were eventually banned from the campus. We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting some really cool time lapses though, so the whole day was not lost.

Tuesday, we were really excited to get filming again. We were going to spend the morning getting some establishing shots of the city and then spend the afternoon filming a TECHO volunteer event at our main character’s house. Early Tuesday morning the other group, FCT, left for an overnight trip up to the mountains. When we arrived to our first location to shoot we realized as we were setting up our gear that FCT had actually took our tripod with our camera’s baseplate attachment with them and left us their tripod with no baseplate for us to connect our camera to (thanks FCT!!) This meant that we could not shoot anything that needed a tripod, which was the majority of our shots planned for the morning and the afternoon. We tried to make the best of the morning situation and get some audio of the city to use but there was a cab strike going on and they were driving around the center in circles honking their horns non stop….not the best for extra sound clips. We ended up having to buy another tripod during lunch because no store would sell is just a baseplate, but again it ended up working out and we got some really nice shots from our afternoon session.

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Wednesday was another extremely interesting day. We were finally heading out to one of the communities that TECHO built houses in, Quingeo, which is about an hour outside of Cuenca. How did we get to Quingeo you ask? We fit 8 people in to a car meant for 5 and drove very fast through the mountains and sort roads; definitely not the most enjoyable ride of our lives. But once up on Quingeo we were able to see first hand what TECHO was all about and talk to some owners of TECHO houses.

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Thursday, shooting was going smoothly other than us starting about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule because our character was stuck in class a little later than planned. We got some great shots of her at a library (to replace the school shots we could not film Monday,) shots of her walking around the city and a really great interview at her house. Things became interesting after we finished her interview in her room and she told us we couldn’t leave because her parents were downstairs. Our character has a complicated relationship with her parents and they obviously did not know that we were going to be there and she didn’t want them to see us. So after about 15 minutes of seeing if they would leave we decided to hide our film equipment as best we could and make a run for it, one of our professors may or may not have stuck a boom poll down his pant leg.

Saturday, our final day of shooting, we returned to Quingeo for a TECHO community event where TECHO volunteers spent time with the local kids. We went to some of the TECHO houses further away from the town center and again met with a couple of families who had their lives changed because of TECHO. We got a lot of great footage and it was an excellent way to wrap up the week of filming.

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Recipe for Guacamole a la Ron

INGREDIENTS 

5 medium Avocados 

2 cloves of garlic 

1/2 medium size tomato

1/2 large cebolla 

1/2 ounce of cilantro 

 2 medium sized limes (juice) 

The finest fresh cracked pepper in the land. 

Enough hot peppers to notice the hot peppers

Residual sugar and mint flavor from the mojitos we were drinking. 

…. And about three seconds of rum. Just tilt and count. 

 

PREPARATION 

Put everything in a bowl. Sip a mojito. Enjoy. 

There and Back Again: A (Not So) Hobbit’s Tale

Oh man, let me first just say that two mornings ago, I was woken up by a rooster! What?! That actually happens. I thought that only happened in the movies! But for real, flippin’ Foghorn Leghorn woke me the heck up at first crack of sunlight the other night.

So you are probably wondering why I was hanging out with roosters! We were up at the farm filming the heck out of mountains, mountains and more mountains. We got all the mountain shots- we got dem pans, dem tilts and doze zooms! You need mountain shots, we got them!

But other than that the trip was a huge success. We ate like kings (minus all of the things kings eat!),  we hung out with some alpacas (creepiest little buggers at night) and we slept in the freezing cold (praise the alpaca blanket)!

But on a more serious note, the trip was amazing. What we saw and what we did were part of a larger experience, something I will remember for a long long time. There was a point when we were twenty minutes into a steep uphill mud hike that, when we finally were able to look out at the miles of hills and mountains that, even after a half hour of cursing the trip, I couldn’t help but think about how worth it everything is- how every step took me to a better and greater view.  And that made everything good!

Its amazing to compare that to life, how the things we think are rough and impossible lead us to something greater and more awesome. I can think of time, way back when, when I would curse the little things, but now I look back and every second I’ve hurt- every second I’ve cried or struggled- I couldn’t trade it for anything. I cherish those moments. And like the hike up that mountain, things are more beautiful now because of them.

….Oh man, woah, think I blacked out for a second. That got too serious! But yeah, this trip is cool, that trip was cool. Mountains are cool. I’m cool, you’re cool, life is cool. Cool shit.

-Zach M.

Shooting Week

We are now into our third week in Cuenca and the crews are all out shooting while I await their return so I can edit the footage. We’ve hit a few speed bumps on the way, most recently involving a missing tripod plate, but we are still moving in the right direction and the footage we have gotten so far is looking great! I cannot wait to see what footage my crew brings back today. If it is anything like yesterdays footage then I am going to have a good day of editing tomorrow.

~ Zach Persechini

Social Justice Communication Student Blog

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