expect a miracle (hill)

i'm feeling nostalgic. this week last year, i was on my way to france and spain to work on a movie. i wasn't the cinematographer, nor the director, nor the writer ... though i did have a tiny part as the lady in the tourist bureau until the actual lady got her courage up to be on camera. a star was NOT born. no, my main job as "scripty" was to sit on on a little stool in the prime real estate between the director and the cinematographer and tell the actors when they fluffed a line. (the mostly english cast and crew say "fluffed" instead of "flubbed" ... so much nicer to the ear ... and to the ego of the actor, i imagine!)

i was also the "continuity girl", making sure each actor spoke and gestured exactly the same way during each take in a scene ... a very tricky job requiring keen concentration. no being distracted by the handsome spanish farmer or the hot spanish sun. or ... the hot spanish farmer or the handsome spanish son!

oh, and i also did the still photography for the film's advertising.

it's a herculean effort, making a movie. i worked so hard, such long hours, and yet i still feel that i didn't work hard enough. i was jetlagged, then exhausted. but i didn't work nearly as hard as the folks who made this movie happen.

these english people, the atkins family, worked their fannies off (they definitely wouldn't say "fannies") making a film, as a family! the dad joe directed. the mom manny produced and was the lead actor. the youngest children beth and arthur also acted. the older sons harry and luc did the sound and music. these are some mighty talented and hardworking folks. their actor friends came to round out the cast and two french interns filled out the crew.

the film takes place along the chemin de st jacques in france and the camino de santiago in spain. the coolest thing for me was that i walked with miss daisey along the french part of this pilgrimage trail last april ... then in july i got to actually go to the pilgrimage end point of santiago with the film! pilgrims expect miracles ...

six months earlier while surfing the internet one evening, i had bumped into the atkins blog about their travels in a bus around europe and left a comment. manny wrote me back. we became friends via email, she invited me to stay with them on the way to my pilgrimage. and i offered to help with the film, and so i did. a miracle if you ask me!

one of the biggest blessings of working on this film was to meet the atkins and their friends. who just decides to make a movie and then goes and does it? the atkins do! they reminded me that anything is possible, absolutely anything, if you put enough head, heart and will into it.


the next biggest blessing was that i reignited my love affair with photography. not in the job description, i found myself making lots of behind the scenes photographs. so many beautiful places, and beautiful people to photograph! when i returned home, i decided not to go to grad school in psychology as i had planned, but to start a greeting card company using my photos, which will branch out into photos on canvas this fall.

another miracle, really. i found myself on that pilgrimage trail. not while hiking, but while filming "heaven."

the greatest miracle of all is that the film if you ever get to heaven is complete! and will be screened in england july 20. i will be here in the usa road tripping with my aussie friend around the western states ... so i'll have to catch the next screening, perhaps at the mill valley film festival! if you're lucky, it will be coming to a theater near you, too.