Thursday, March 3, 2011

Relax, don't do it! Part 3

Get to the hotel? Wait, this is not the fabulous Hotel Independence online, this the, what? RELAX Hotel? Really? Like, "Relax, don't do it?" Oh boy. Okay whatever. I've hooked Michael & Calvin up, thru friends with a place to stay. They end up at a fabulous private home complete with their own apartment, maids, cooks, guards and driver....and I end up RELAX-ed.

Since the official opening of FESPACO is not until Saturday night we hang out around town. Michael & Calvin did stand in line for 4 hours to pick up my badge. (Hey, they have a driver!)
That's another thing, there is no transportation to and from FESPACO as promised. Good Luck.

The lineup for the festival is still being decided so some of the competitions (like ours-Diaspora) are kind of pasted in the book. At least we're there... What!? This can't be right. DuSable to Obama is in competition against one of my favourite filmmakers? RAOUL PECK! Wow. Are you kidding? I'm speechless.

I love Raoul Peck. Both his documentary and later his film on Lumumba are absolute MUST sees. His Sometimes in April makes Hotel Rwanda look like, well, Disney.

I need a drink, but not at the Relax. This hotel makes Hotel Rwanda look like a Disney resort. But I dont want to seem like the ugly American and complain about accommodations being sub par. Plus the guy in charge of travel & accommodations doesn't like me because of all the changes and questions I had.

When I was first notified about the film being accepted they only provided for 1 producer and I informed them that both of us were coming. That caused some scrambling, but it was okay, for a while. Later I had to tell them that the other producer would NOT be coming afterall. It was at this point that things got a little strained and it went downhill from there, with all the
ticket business etc. So this Guy was not feeling me and I end up at the lowest end hotel in the festival. If this were the States you'd rent this room by the hour. Oh yeah and those infamous 'meal tickets' I haven't seen them yet.

We go out partying at this great club. The music is hot! Oooh there goes that diversity thing
again. Music is a mixture of American, African and Arabic. The two DJ's working together, an African and Arab (North African), have the place rocking! I'm loving this and feel at home, especially when I'm slightly hung the next morning.

I meet a really cool European mother/daughter duo at RELAX 'there's lizards in my room'
Hotel and it's 4:20. The mother writes about film etc and lives in/works for Oxford in England. The daughter is a magazine/book editor in Amsterdam. (I'm hungry. Are you guys hungry?) They are a riot, they're best friends and travel together a lot. This is the mother's 7th FESPACO and they both LOVE Chicago! (Ooh I'd love a donut right now) They ask me if it's true or just insane rumour that professors and students will be allowed to carry guns on the university campus? And asks if it wouldn't be safer if no one on campus carried a gun at all. I have no answers.

They were very please to find out I was the filmmaker of one of the films that's on their 'to see' list. Cool, here, have a poster.

They start telling me about 'Doctors Without Trace'. A termed used for white workers (not just doctors) who come to work in Africa and have a relationship and children with an African woman and when the job is done they leave the women and children there, never to be heard from again. So they are referred to as 'Doctors Without Trace'. Hmm, there's a great story in there: When the 'first world' comes to help the 'third world' what is really left behind...

'Morning Due,' the next edition.

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