Taking a Trip to Tripoli

Tripoli Badge

If you’re following us on Facebook (check us out if not: https://www.facebook.com/aftertomorrowmovie), you’ll have noticed that After Tomorrow has been accepted at the Tripoli Film Festival in Lebanon! It takes place from the 30th of April till the 7 of May.

The organisers have kindly offered us free accommodation, food and transport, so how could we possibly say no. Not to mention that we now have the chance to screen our film in proper theatres, and hopefully lead Q&A sessions and have meetings which might lead to… well, who knows what.

We’ll try to blog a daily report from Tripoli, if we’re not too busy watching films, eating fish and sweets, and visiting some really cool historical sites in this ancient city.

One fascinating aspect of our trip is that this particular film festival seems to be part of the slow regeneration of the city… an attempt to regain its lost, rich artistic heritage. We’ll learn more when we spend time there, but we’re massively grateful to be a part of the story, and can’t wait to attend.

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Ain’t No Wedding like a Bedouin Wedding

Although we left Petra just as the wedding season (June/July) was getting into full swing, we were lucky enough to experience two wedding receptions in one night – both of which turned out to be completely different.

The modern wedding with the DJ

This one was wild. A semi-circle of tents had been set up around what was to become the dance floor.

The wedding started with a feast of goat mansaf, which is essentially a UFO-sized plate piled high with rice, vegetables and meat. The mansaf adorned with the skulls of our dearly departed goats were presented to the guests of honour (not us, thankfully).

After the eating, came the drinking (and not just tea), and then the party got started.

At the appointed time, the DJ whipped a sheet off his music equipment to reveal two giant speakers, a mixing desk and a double CD player. He cranked the amp up to max (and beyond) and let ‘er rip. The men all linked arms (the women partied elsewhere, in private) and swung their legs around like NFL kickers. Even the kids got jiggy in the whirl of delighted excitement.

It seems that what we were witnessing was a highly energetic version of the dabke dance.

It carried on like this for hours, so we decided to go check out another wedding which was going on down the road.

The traditional wedding with the guy dressed like Batman

This was a far more subdued affair, and as such we were surprised to see Johnny Depp there, dressed in traditional thobe and talking seriously with the older men. And that’s pretty much all that was happening – talking. And smoking, but that’s Arabia for you.

To be honest though, it was all rather pleasant, until the dancing began, and then things got weird. The men (yep, no women at this bash either), all linked arms, but instead of a DJ, the guys started singing and chanting.

An older gentleman suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, wearing a black thobe. His party trick was to hold his thobe out and swoop like Batman at the chanting men, who would surge forward as one and chase him away.

Someone told us that it was a humorous dance about the relationships between men and women, and that Batman was flirting with the men and trying to crash the party, and the men were chasing her/him away. Or something. It was hard to hear as our ears had been deadened by DJ Ultra Decibel over at the other wedding.

Anyway, it’s a struggle to find any info about this particular dance, so check out this short clip we shot on the night – apologies for the darkness, but it was, well, dark! Batman makes his appearance at around 5 seconds.

As you can see, these guys know how to party.

(BTW, If anyone can shed some light into the significance of this dance, we’d be most appreciative!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2715l3cn3g&feature=youtu.be

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The great side of making a documentary

So now that After Tomorrow, (our 53-minute documentary about the lives of the Bedouin of Petra, Jordan, in case you didn’t know), is complete and we’re busy trying to get it ‘out there’ in the world, it seems relevant to reflect on the whole experience of making a documentary.

There were good times, there were bad… just like life.

Petra is awesome!

It was an adventure we’ll never forget. Not only do we have the memories of our two months in Petra hanging out with the incredibly accommodating Bedouin, we also have 55 hours of film which we can access for the rest of our lives!

I can just see the Toufic and I, aged 75, sitting around the hologram machine, somehow projecting our ancient .Mov files onto a wall of plasma… laughing and reminiscing about the good times.

Petra will provide

They say that fortune favours the brave, and in terms of filming this documentary, we both found this to be the case, profoundly. As soon as the decision to go to Petra was made, the Universe literally opened doors for us.

If we needed money (and we always needed money), we’d find some. If we wanted to interview someone, they would suddenly show up. After a month in the village, we needed a new place to live. Bam, next day it was sorted by a Bedouin we’d never met before, free of charge.

For the duration of our stay, we were in no doubt that this is where we were supposed to be… jobs, credit, relationships be damned.

Thinking of shooting your own doccie?

So if there’s one piece of advice we could give budding filmmakers, it’d be ‘just do it’ (thanks Nike). Dive right in, ignore the problems until you can’t any longer, and then you’ll find ways to deal with them. Because fortune does indeed favour the brave, in miraculous ways.

But you’ll never find out how until you try.

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The painful part of shooting a documentary

After living the dream, returning to reality proved to be a real pain in the ass…

Money, money, money

As soon as we returned to our normal lives, the Universe abandoned us to our fates. Suddenly everything became a struggle. Especially cash. Back in London, we had to find jobs ASAP to pay rent, catch up on credit card debt, eat. And then once we were sucked back into the rat race, it was hard to find time to finish what we’d started.

The more you shoot, the more you pay!

It took us about a year to catalogue the 55 hours of footage. We found an awesome editor, but she cost money which we didn’t have. So we had to go around, cap-in-hand and beg (a horrible experience).

Ain’t too proud to beg

If you’re in a similar position, here are some ways we tried to raise completion funds:

  • Toufic is an excellent photographer, so we put on a photo exhibit in South London. It was fun, and a mild success… but after paying for booze, food, studio rental and printing costs, we only managed to raise £500. Enough for one day’s editing.
  • Toufic was in Dubai and somehow ended up giving a talk to people interested in film. This didn’t raise a cent at the time, but helped us when it came to…
  • … the hellishly embarrassing Crowdfunding video we made. This helped us scrape together some decent funds, and was by far the most successful way of raising money. We were, however, blessed to have some very generous friends.

So, it took us a while, but we managed. And after a final post-production stint in South Africa, ‘After Tomorrow’ was finally finished, four and a half years after the process began.

Selling the dream

But now another journey has begun. Film Festivals. Hustling to get Sales Agents to look at the doc. Hassling broadcasters. All of this is new to us, and we’re struggling to figure it out. But we’ll get there. Eventually.

Because the one thing this experience has taught us is that where there’s a will, there’s a way (and yet another cliché). And we’ve got plenty of will. The only thing is… when will we make our next doc?

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Watch our new trailer

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We’re Jumping for Joy!

The Guys

Why? Because it’s finished. It’s over. The footage has been graded. The sound has been mixed. The changes have been changed and the tweaks tweaked.

We’re finally ready to go.

Best news of all? It looks great! So now we’re on the hunt for film festivals, scratching through our contacts in broadcasting -generally embarking on a mission to get it seen.

Many thanks to everyone who has supported us (patiently) over the years. After Tomorrow started in Jordan, was built in London and finally finished in Johannesburg. Now it’s time to be shown to the world.

So wish us luck as we enter the final phase of this long journey. We look forward to bringing you good news soon.

And we will be sharing the film with all our crowdfunders as soon as we have submitted to all the festivals.

Touf and Carl

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Editing is done!

Editing is done!

“After Tomorrow” & Carl Gough have moved to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The editing is now officially done.
The grading and the sound design will be done by two very talented guys in Joburg.
It’ll be finished soon, promise!

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March 8, 2014 · 3:07 pm