The Kashmir Project

Yesterday I booked a ticket to New Delhi departing Vancouver on the 30th Dec 2009. I am going to Kashmir to make a film. I am still coming to terms with what I am setting out to do here, but I am excited and more than a little nervous.

The project has been launched under the banner of is a concept I have had with a friend, Richard Brown whom I lived with in Chamonix a few years ago. We hatched the idea to create a fund, or put some money aside to be able to travel to places where something significant to the times in which we live is taking place; the Iran elections, the recent tsunami in Indonesia, the coup in Honduras. The idea is to travel to destinations such as these and first and foremost personally experience what is happening, and secondly, either try and document what is happening or volunteer to assist wherever possible. Yes it is under the banner of adventure, but in the spirit of understanding what others live with everyday and contributing in some way if at all possible.

Hence, b4apres was born and an idea I had for making a film in Kashmir seemed like a good platform to launch b4apres from. Coming to the decision to make a film stretched over the summer and in reality was Plan A from the beginning. Having taken some time for myself after finishing up at, I was exploring my options for the future over the past summer. Applying for a job and building on my experience and resume seemed the responsible thing to do. As it turned out, none of those came through or seemed right. I felt as though my future was in someone else's hands, waiting for someone to decide whether I would get this job or that. When I didn't get the job I applied for at the Canadian Avalanche Association, I decided to take my immediate future into my own hands.

If I don't go to Kashmir to make this film it is because I wussed out. It won't be because I didn't get the job or there was no budget. I am funding the project and will simply go and see how things turn out.

It feels really good, but I won't deny that I am not extremely nervous about the whole concept. Having never made a film before, I have been racing to come up to speed on the technical side of things in acquiring a camera, some solid sound equipment and developing a workflow. There are a lot of parallels to still photography, but also an immense amount that is new. Rather than trying to develop the technical skills for an artistic film, I am trying to focus on creating a compelling story and characters that will bring Kashmir to life. This in itself is a huge challenge, and coupled with logistics, managing a team, and researching the politics, history and current temperament of Kashmir, I have found myself in over my head. In over my head is where I like to be most, however, and I am confident that I am getting through the work that I need to before taking off for Kashmir.

The crew that has assembled is a huge encouragement to the project. I am delighted to be working with the group of people that have committed to travel and give their time. They are all good friends, or people that have been on the lookout for a simple project like this and everybody has an immense amount of energy to contribute. Good times with good people—you can't beat it.

Another motive for embarking on this project is to simply devote some time to a creative endeavor—something I have never really done before. I am certain I will learn an incredible amount about a lot of things and having a product—in this case a film—at the end of the toil, I hope is a tangible manifestation of all that.

So, here we go. Nervous but super pumped. Let's see what comes out. To get the low down on the film project, check out the website. It is all there.