Thursday, 1 March 2012

Tuesday 28th February 2012

Tuesday 28th February 2012

Perth: Tuesday night. It’s a great flight to Australia – but I did feel odd flying over the top of Afghanistan knowing the characters of my film THE BOY MIR were down there fighting the cold and uncertainty of an Afghan winter. I miss being in that extraordinary country and, of course, I don’t miss it at all. Life can seem very cheap there. On we fly…

I have 45 minutes in Singapore to change planes but it’s enough to smell the humid air and let one’s mind wander to exotic adventures one could have in this part of the world. I love it here, I have to say. But no time to wax lyrical before boarding another plan for the flight to Perth…a mix of TV magazines and Family Guy videos gets me there in no time.

I might love Asia but I love Australia more and I’m delighted to be back. A cab ride into central Perth and my routine kicks in. In to the hotel room, unpack, charge computers, check emails, read notes, pack a small bag of DVDs and head for the cinema. It is the Australian premiere of In Search of Haydn and I’ve really no idea if people will come. Both my previous Mozart and Beethoven films did do well – with a lot of effort involved in pushing them. But how much of that was the name and how much the approach? Will Haydn attract people?

A few press interviews first and then with half an hour before the film starts, people start to trickle in – and trickle and trickle. It’s almost a sell-out. I am relieved and pleased. Even better: they love the film. The Q&A afterwards is a long one: how do I select the musical extracts? Why so many shots of nature? Is it hard to get permission to film musicians? Who’s next? What moment most made my hair stand on end? Who funds it? What’s your favourite bit of his music? How do you choose the interviewees?

A good crowd in Perth

So, a good start. The film actually opens (with a 2 week booking to begin with) in a few days. I didn’t tonight but I’m glad to say that directors are now able to insist on ‘appearance’ fees & expenses for such Q&As – and we should. It’s not yet the standard everywhere but it’s coming. We should be able to, of course – any other industry would charge for hours of one’s time like this. Again, film-makers have done it for free for too long. As I mentioned in a blog a few months ago, you can find yourself on a train for five hours to get to a screening and the cinema will still charge you for a cup of tea. That’s just plain mean. We have bills to pay too. Back to the hotel for the nightly stream of emails. I hope I get a good night’s sleep and slip into the timezone easily. 8 hours ahead at the moment.

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