Monday, January 30, 2006

Another Day Another Update

Winners at the
Sundance Film Festival were announced yesterday, and from what I'd heard I wasn't too surprised by the Grand Jury: Documentary prize. God Grew Tired of Us was by all accounts a really nice piece, and one I can't wait to see. With classes and three jobs, I was just too busy to make it up to Park City very much at all, though I did make it to pre-festival screenings of Good Night, And Good Luck. and angry monk - reflections on tibet, as well as a Thursday-afternoon screening of Christian Frei's The Giant Buddhas. (Here is a link to the film's official website.) Another of Frei's documentaries, War Photographer, was nominated a while back for the Best Documentary Oscar, and it's well worth your time.

I'm currently doing preliminary research for the field study and trying to get through the more logistical details so I can dedicate my thought to research. Talking to some of the folks in charge, I expressed my concern that two-and-a-half months might be pushing it quite a bit if I'm doing research and trying to put together a film of any feeling or meaning. Other groups going to places like Ghana or Guatemala, from what I've gathered, stay for as much as a month and a half longer than we would because we take a world religions tour of India, whereas they stay more in their immediate villages or areas.

I told the student facilitators what I thought about my situation, and they came across much more open to my ideas than I thought they might. Dave, the director (and an awfully nice guy!), was however not there, and the folks I did talk to urged me to speak with him. They insisted that he has a real knack for "crystalizing" the factors in weighing two options, and that he can help me see what I really need. It kind of sounded like they thought Dave would be able to change my mind and were passing me off to him, but I like these kids so much that I just can't believe that's what they were doing. So we'll see.

Finally, I've started in with a little bit of Hindi, and I found out that one of the student facilitators actually has the exact Tibetan-language materials I was hoping to buy on line. (I'll probably still get them for myself, but it's nice to know I'm getting something that someone else has found useful.) What's more, we're all getting excited about plugging in to the Tibetan population in Salt Lake City, where there is either one or two Tibetan restaurants currently in business. I can't wait to get up there and meet them. We'll probably go as a group, me and the other kids going to Dharamsala; tomorrow night we're getting together to play some games and get to know each other better. I have a good feeling, like we're really going to feel like a community by the time this whole thing's over with.

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