Added on Monday 24 Mar 2008
For once I am happy to inform you all of a couple of success stories that we have had at The Salignac Foundation. Last month we had a disabled dancer from France, who incidentally lives in London, for a course in filmmaking, editing and dance. Christian is a highly intelligent man and a very quick learner which was great for us and we very quickly got down to business, taking a piece that Fiona had originally choreographed some twenty years ago for The Edinburgh Festival. With some changes and Christian's input we managed to put a dance piece together with Fiona as the performer and Christian as director we managed to shoot it all in one day! I think that is a first for us.
Fortunately the weather was kind with very flat lighting making life a bit easier for me as I was acting as director of photography for this shoot. Coming to the edit we also managed to put it all together within a couple of days, one version Christian edited it and another I did it my way. The only fly in the ointment was the camera that he had just bought was all electronic, no tape involved and it was the first time that I had seen or used such kit which caused us a few headaches as we tried to figure out how we downloaded the footage! Christian had forgotten to bring some of the connecting cables with him and despite trawling through my store of cables none of them would fit any of the sockets on the camera. However, with a bit of a workaround we eventually managed to do it, it did cause us a bit of head scratching 'though! I have managed to finally edit all, with music, and have uploaded it to a site called vineo.com which provides a better quality than you tube. The title of the piece is called La Lettre under the dance category.
The second success story involves a couple that came out to us on a filming course last summer. Graham and Liz run an arts shop in Lincolnshire at the Forge Arts Centre, located in an old forge in Hackthorn, and decided to do a sort of travelogue type film about Salignac. After running through the technical bits on the first day and a bit of sightseeing in the area they set of to do some filming, with me in tow as a technical advisor! As they were also here on holiday I sort of left them on there own for part of the week, only viewing and commenting on the rushes that they had shot at the end of each day. I was impressed with the quality that they were achieving, with one or two reservations of course. At the end of the week they had shot quite a lot of footage but not enough time was available for any editing, this however was not a problem as Graham had his own editing system back home. Imagine my surprise when the other day a DVD arrived with his completed 12 minute video and even more surprised when I viewed it. While obviously not perfect it was remarkably good for two people that did not have a background in filmmaking, to say the least I was well chuffed at what they had achieved with my assistance. I immediately e-mailed them to ask for a few more copies to give to our mayor and the local tourist office and I am pleased to say that the reaction to the copies I have given out have been very warmly received. I think a big pat on my back is really due!
With the new managers installed, the local cafe opened it's doors in mid February and although the bar area has not changed very much, the restaurant area has changed quite considerably with new tables, decor and fittings etc. and it looks very pleasant. Gone are the pizzas and in has come more of restaurant style of catering without it being "posh" if you know what I mean. Fiona and I have yet to have a meal there yet as I believe that one shouldn't go into a place too soon after it opens, let it settle down for a few weeks to really see what it is all about. Maybe in the next few weeks we will venture in and see what it is really like. Thierry, the manager, has kept the bar prices the same but there is the inevitable price hike in the restaurant but that is fair enough as his wife was the second chef at a local very highly rated restaurant. They are certainly a very pleasant couple and seem to run the place in a very relaxed but highly efficient manner, which we are very glad to see after the somewhat haphazard way it was run before. I am glad to say that the place is much warmer than it used to be but that has maybe to do with new doors that have been fitted and also the doors are kept closed when smokers go outside, unlike the other cafe where the front and rear doors are left open for the smokers to go in and out, even though it has an equally pleasant atmosphere. Mind you with the sudden cold snap over the Easter weekend that seems to have come to Europe, anywhere that is warm has got to be good!
Rural France, I love it!
(c) Barry Paton, March 2008.