In the late summer of 2019, as I was prepping for the first of the 10 films that would comprise, “Ten Films/Ten Countries: A Cinematic Journey,”
I had a few small details that were not resolved. I didn’t have a country, let alone 10 lined up. I also didn’t have any financing per se.
I only had just a notion of a story. But when has that stopped anybody for making any film? That was a rhetorical question.
It all started when I had a stint as a judge for an international talent competition. The talent was top notch and the completion fierce, but what stood out in my mind was the idea that all this wonderful talent travelled thousands of miles to gather together, meet fellow artists and biggest prize of all, to be in the land of dreams. Even though I had played with the idea of filming in different countries, (I had already directed a film and a television show; the film was in England and television show was in Spain) I didn’t have the wherewithal for a unified theme. I decided right there and then, I would travel the world shooting 10 films in 10 countries.
I knew I had to come up with a plan for the project.
Each film would be between 12 and 15 minutes in length and would interconnect to make a feature-length film. An important detail would be that the country, city, town, and or village would be part of the story. I would have to weave in the importance of each location within the script. The location would be a character in the film. Another consideration was the crew. Even though I would have a small number of collaborators accompanying me to certain countries, I would also hire local crew and actors to play the roles in the script and in most cases, use their native accent and language. Finally, a very important, if not vital aspect of this project was the camera. I own several cameras (Canons, Sony) that shoot in HD and I had done a lot of work with them. However, lugging heavy equipment around the world and trying to shoot in public places without money for permits is a challenge. I had to come up with an alternative.
Enter the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s compact, ubiquitous, and it shoots in 4K. With my partners, we purchased gimbals, wireless microphones, a six-channel audio mixer, and some lenses and filters which all fit in a small carry on backpack. We were set to go. I could shoot anywhere without so much as a concern from anyone. Public places, private houses, and different modes of transportation were now all available for me and my crew of iPhone shooters. I was ready to go. I had devised a storyline and several plot points that would connect the film. The characters were rich and relatable. There was only one thing missing. The first country where all this would be possible. I was not deterred, instead, I was inspired.