I’m sitting next to a stoic Kenyan guard holding an AK-47, and sweating in his military-esque fatigues. It is close to 90 degrees, the air is heavy with humidity, and even the wind whipping through the windows isn’t enough to cool us. We are zipping down a coastal road, and Ted is on the floor holding on for dear-life as he films out of the back of the open van. Just another day on the set of The Distant Boat!
Often these days I stop and shake my head, not quite believing the hilarious and amazing situations I am increasingly finding myself in. I guess filming a feature-length movie in Africa is a recipe for such moments, served up almost daily.
What a WHIRLWIND this last month has been. An actual tornado of busy-ness, awesomeness, and exhaustedness (yup it’s a word). I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in such a short amount of time!
I’m an art director on a real movie set for the first time in my life… two months ago I didn’t even know what art directors did! But that is just one of the cool things about living in Africa and working with On-Field Media… you never know what new adventure awaits you.
Since I’ve always been better with photos than with words, lets take a look at the last month on the movie set!
We have been shooting in a variety of locations in and around the city. We even had to get some shots in downtown Nairobi… madness! But praise the Lord, we AND all of our equipment survived.
Our biggest shoot, cast-wise, happened at a church. We filmed all day long using multiple cameras and lots of cool equipment like the crane pictured below.
We just returned from three packed weeks of filming on Kenya’s beautiful coast. It was hot, sweaty, sandy, salty work, but what an experience! We filmed everywhere, from right on the beach (like the photo below), to a fishing village, to a coconut palm tree grove, and even in the beautiful and mysterious ruins of an ancient Muslim settlement.
We put our equipment and bodies to the test during long days of filming in super hot and sticky weather and challenging locations. Below, Andy and Ted venture out into the waves to get onto a dhow (a traditional swahili fishing boat) to film from the ocean looking towards the beach.
We were stunned by the beauty of the Gede Ruins, where we filmed part of an elaborate chase scene. Nobody knows who built the stone settlement or why they left and it became a ruin, a history mystery!
The heat got to all of our heads at some point, which lead to lots of laughs and funny moments on set! We have such a fun cast and crew, who all bring different talents and personalities to the table.
I have been learning so much about movie sets, and have SO much respect for all the people it takes to make a film happen! It is a lot of work, and I know all of us have been wishing that we could clone ourselves a couple of time to spread out the load. But none the less, we are getting it done! We had a few child actors on set, and let me tell you, that is a whole different ball-game! Note to self… always have candy on hand to bribe performances out of the little ones, haha… no, but really. They did so great, and made us bust up laughing many times.
I am awed by the places this job has taken me, and I feel so blessed to have seen so much beauty and met so many interesting and wonderful people. I feel stretched and challenged everyday as art director, and I even though I get really tired, use “I don’t know” an extremely humbling amount of times, and constantly fly by the seat of my pants… I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience.
Only 4 more weeks until I am back home in Montana for Christmas… 4 WEEKS! I am so excited at the thought of home and so overwhelmed by the amount of filming that is going to happen before I board the plane. Keep us, the whole cast and crew, in your prayers as we seek to finish shooting this movie. We truly can’t do it with out your support. If you would like to catch more glimpses of all the movie madness, and see some awesome behind the scenes footage that I have helped shoot, please visit http://distantboat.com/film-updates/.
Peace out, see yah stateside!