In August 2008 I travelled to Bulembu, my second trip to this small town in Swaziland, Africa. I had been a few months previously, on a photography assignment (you can see some here and here). This time, I was directing a film of the Canadian Tenors as part of the Voices for Bulembu campaign. The eventual result was this promotional video, and a mini-documentary of the Tenor’s experiences (see it here). Both films were shown as part of a series of gala events to raise money for the work of the Bulembu Foundation. It was a great success, with almost one million dollars raised over a single weekend.
Through my involvement in Bulembu I’ve gained many lifelong friends, and become part of a significant effort to transform this struggling nation. It has been a great privilege.
Many thanks to those involved. Post-production on the videos was by Jon at EXE Productions. Cinematography was by the talented Jonny Beecher. Special thanks to Kelly Walker for producing both trips and to the team at the Bulembu Foundation for their transformative work.
To mark the launch of the Voices for Bulembu campaign, Craig, Jesse and I put together this trailer. It was made with footage from my trip to Bulembu, Swaziland with the Canadian Tenors in August. Click the pic above to view the trailer in web-size (or download from the links below) then go check out their site.
I seem to be a fan of these double-ender trips. This spring I went to Rwanda filming a documentary, then travelled on to Swaziland for a photo assignment. This time around, filming in Bulembu wrapped two days ago and I’m now in Tel Aviv ready to shoot another documentary.
The shoot in Bulembu was fantastic. Many memorable moments with the Tenors, and I feel like I was able to capture the beauty, memory and emotion of the place. It’ll be a fun edit – 2TB worth of footage – and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.
I’m now on to directing 2nd unit for a doc here in Israel. Main unit arrives in a couple days; I’ll be spending the first few days collecting “GV’s” (as the Brits say – General Views) around Tel Aviv.
That’s how long it took to pack my bags & camera carry-on.
Incidentally, it took 23 minutes because that’s all I had before the taxi arrived.
A string of nights with 3 hours sleep then attempting an all nighter don’t lead to efficient work. Around 4AM I found myself nodding uncontrollably, so I settled in for a short “nap”.
But… I’ve done this a few times now. I only managed to forget a few Clif bars and my book to read. Everything else came out in a flurry, and habit landed most of what I need in my bags in a few minutes.
And with that we’re off to Bulembu. The equipment left yesterday with my DP, Jonny – 9 cases plus a carnet. So I’m travelling nice & light, just a carry-on and a backpack for clothes. It’s three days of transit to Bulembu… I hope to update with some pictures or video once we’re settled on the ground.
That’s the itinerary I just booked, leaving August 22nd and returning September 29th. After Bulembu, I’ll be heading to Israel to shoot 2nd unit for a production there with Jim van Dijk. I’ll be (happily) using the Red camera again, and working with a bigger crew & budget.
Got confirmation an hour ago of another project in Bulembu, Swaziland, this time with moving pictures. I’ll be departing with a crew on August 22nd, just a few weeks away.
We’ll be shooting on the Red, filming the Canadian Tenors as part of a storytelling package for a benefit concert at the Orpheum. I’m excited to visit Bulembu again, to share its beauty, see its evolution and renew friendships.
This is the first project of a new venture, Cinesketch. And tomorrow I’ll have some news on where I’m heading after Bulembu…
This February I travelled to Swaziland after filming in Rwanda. I was on assignment with the Teldon Community Foundation, photographing the town of Bulembu. A former mining town, Bulembu is now being transformed into a centre of job-creation, commerce and orphan care.
The images were destined for a fundraising calendar, which you can now get your hands on here. The final product is excellent, and I’m excited to see the photographs used for a good cause. Head to Bulembu.org for more info and to purchase your copy of the calendar. 100% of the purchase goes to Bulembu Compassion.
My photography is featured in the July edition of Alive Magazine, as part of an article about Stephen Lewis and the AIDS crisis in Africa. It was an honour to share the page: Stephen is one of my heros for his articulate speech and tireless effort to bring attention and real progress in Africa.
Click here for a PDF of the first two pages of the article… or you can pick up a copy wherever health & wellness magazines are sold.
Bulembu went from a sleepy hollow of Swazi homesteads to a major mining operation – producing one-third of Swaziland’s GDP – to a near-ghost town in the space of several decades. Now it’s in the midst of another transformation. To tell the story, I’ve put together a photo essay from my recent assignment: “The Bulembu Story” (There are a few dozen photos, so it may take a minute or two to load).