The Last Drop

الأربعاء 03 أيلول 2008

Editing of the film

Editing of the film

Written By: Susan Miller-Coulter

Cast of characters:  Fourteen young ladies, two mini-video cameras, two teachers, a film-maker, and a volunteer climbed into a commuter bus on a blazingly hot morning.

Checklist: Release forms for interviewing “people on the street,” spare tapes for the mini-cams, permission from police for filming in public locations, and water; except only two girls brought water. Nonetheless, we roared off for half a kilometer and pulled up at the souq, on Shar’a Iraiisi, the main street of our town.

The girls hit the ground running. We hadn’t considered the impact of fourteen adolescent girls wandering up to strangers – all of them men – who beamed with pleasure and practically lined up to be interviewed. Then some girls entered a fruit and vegetable market.  Heba, who shows remarkable aptitude for filming, started panning on the produce while the permission form was being signed.

What do you know about the water problems in Jordan?” Amal asked the proprietor.  We went to a local supermarket.  Because we couldn’t find the owner, we interviewed the janitor making his day, and possibly his week.

Last, we went to the district office of the Water Authority of Jordan for the Governate of Al Koura.  The director was in.  He wasn’t exactly expecting us, because no one had been able to get the office phone number. But he was great, if a bit flustered.  A sub-group of filmmakers cleared his desk of clutter in a business-like fashion while he endured an angry barrage of citizens complaining about the weekly water being too late, insufficient, or being billed incorrectly. Just when we thought people would stop coming, and the interview could proceed, more arrived. Heba put a table on top of another coffee table, propped the mini cam for a better angle, readjusted signs and pen jars on the desk.  The last angry water customer left. I leaned against the door so no one else could come in.  We closed the windows and turned off the fan for better sound, inducing an instant wet heat wave.

By 11 am on this sunny mid-July morning, the temp was already in the low 90s in this airless room, but the director answered the questions, and offered to take us around to see the springs where our water comes from, and the pumping station. I hope we will do that, but not for this film. Due to budget and time constraints, this was our last day of filming.

Editing the film, The Last Drop

Editing the film, The Last Drop

The next stop was my house, more particularly, my kitchen sink. Part of the narrative of the film is a woman washing dishes who answers her cell phone and leaves the water running while she talks. I watched anxiously as the girls filmed and re-filmed and more and more water pouring uselessly away.  It was Sunday, two days until the weekly water delivery, and I wondered if I’d make it. The filmmaker is my houseguest, and in all the heat we both need at least one shower a day.  Last year I ran out of water one hot summer weekend. It was not pretty.

The plan had always been to have the girls edit the film, and the three girls who signed up for this, Amnah, Sujood, and Nancy, were totally unflappable: they kept working while Nadia struggled with the technical issues. I brought water, juice, sandwiches, and desperate jokes in an attempt to comfort. After all the technical issues of downloading the footage, then the program crashed.  It was devastating. In the end, we took the whole computer and the footage to Amman, to the office of the Royal Film Commission. The resident technical geniuses will salvage our footage.

Happy ending? Not quite yet. The editorial group asked to be included. The following morning three 16 year-old editors, a filmmaker, a volunteer, and a computer with its own paid seat set out for Amman.

Susan is a US Peace Corp Volunteer in Jordan from 2006-2008.

  • Very interesting. Would love to see the final product.

    Just to let you know guys, 7iber keeps evolving and has great articles.

    Keep up the good work 😀 .

  • Very interesting. Would love to see the final product.

    Just to let you know guys, 7iber keeps evolving and has great articles.

    Keep up the good work 😀 .

  • SUSAN! I’m Asma-the arabamerican girl that bumped into you twice in irbid this summer, once at Via Via and once right before I left Jordan at safeway……do you remember me? We discussed the film that you were working on and exchanged numbers. What a small world!

    I’m sorry to hear about the obstruction, hopefully there’s good news and that it was all salvageable. Keep us updated on the progress!

  • SUSAN! I’m Asma-the arabamerican girl that bumped into you twice in irbid this summer, once at Via Via and once right before I left Jordan at safeway……do you remember me? We discussed the film that you were working on and exchanged numbers. What a small world!

    I’m sorry to hear about the obstruction, hopefully there’s good news and that it was all salvageable. Keep us updated on the progress!

  • Ola

    Good luck and hope everything goes well, waiting for the movie

  • Ola

    Good luck and hope everything goes well, waiting for the movie

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