Monday, 5 September 2011

Phil Grabsky's Blog - Milan - The Boy Mir, In Search of Haydn, Leonardo Live.

Milan 28 August 2011: well, I know I moan about funding and stuff but some days are really worth all the headaches. Today was one. I started before dawn to drive up to Heathrow airport to catch the early flight to Milan. I know they take a lot of stick but I really enjoy flying BA (most of the time) and this was, again, a nice comfortable flight. Then, after the long train ride into Milano Centrale (one of the greatest train terminals in the world), I was at my hotel by midday. Then began a typical day of working on three projects at once. To begin with I did 2 hours of emails concerning the Boy Mir film. The recent screenings in NY, LA and Chicago were, overall, very successful in terms of generating reviews and interest. The actual screenings were poorly attended (but so were the other docs I saw) but many of those who did see the film have become very active in supporting it and spreading the word. Ultimately, I think it's word-of-mouth that makes a film gain traction so that's hopeful. On the other hand, we lost our extra bookings in NY & LA because, almost bizarrely, we got too much press attention. I certainly can not tell cinema managers how to do their jobs; they know best. BUT I'd have thought having a great line from the LA Times or Village Voice would help sell tickets - I'm not convinced documentary film-goers are that concerned about seeing something the week it comes out. But, hey, I can't really be sure. Anyway, since my trip to the USA, I've been getting a stack of emails and facebook messages which take time to deal with. At 2.30pm I switched to project 2: Leonardo Live. It was 30 degrees and my shoulders are now a mess but for three hours I traipsed with HD camera and tripod the wonderful city of Milan from one Leonardo location to the next - gathering up some GVs (general views) that we need as background for our live show on the 8th November (Leonardo Live will go to cinemas and TV at 7pm UK time on the 8th November - a first-ever live event from the opening of an art exhibition and not any old exhibition but the biggest worldwide exhibition of this year).

I could have used an assistant today or someone to carry the tripod at least but the budget doesn't allow for it - broadcasters, when they insist we work for smaller and smaller budgets, should come on a shoot sometime. I bet none of them could carry a tripod - never mind camera, tripod and rucksack - for more than 2 minutes. Funnily enough, the last Leonardo shot was a great statue outside La Scala. And there I changed to project no 3: In Search of Haydn. Today's search took me to another super interview with Gianandrea Noseda who is rapidly shooting up my charts as one of my favourite people.. Not only did he give me an excellent interview but then I attended his rehearsal (with La Scala's orchestra) of Dvozak's Symphony no 8 in G major and a piece by Weber. Both were great: for 2 and a half hours I was utterly engrossed by both the music and Gianandrea's attention to detail, energy, control and, well, sheer artistry. I was privileged to be there. Things got even better when - and I will now be accused of name-dropping, I know - I then went to dinner with Gianandrea and one of the world's best pianists Leif Ove Andsnes. I tried my best to contribute but really I just wanted to ask questions and hear them talk! The food was fabulous too - thank you Milan! Thank you Italy! You may have Berlusconi but he will pass and the food, the architecture, the music and so much more will go on for ever. It's now 1am - my feet are killing me, my shoulders wrecked, my belly bigger, my brain scrambled, my nose sunburnt but it's been a good day - oh, one extra treat: Man City won away to Spurs 5-1. OK, early flight tomorrow. Must go. Ciao.

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