|Pietra speaking in our living room|
Her current projects include Maori Boy Genius, about a 16-year-old Maori boy's journey to Yale and The Park, a walled garden in Afghanistan (recently named the most dangerous country in the world to be born a woman) where woman can strip off the burqa and - she hopes - will reveal to camera their thoughts and dreams. And What To Do After Winning Two Oscars (a working title) about Indian composer AR Rahman who won two Academy Awards for his soundtrack in Slumdog Millionaire. He is setting up a music conservatorium and insisting that students from the very poor areas of his home town Chennai come for free.
She talked about traveling to Libya for her Beauty Will Save The World, in which Gadaffi tried to soften the world's view of him by staging a beauty pageant. And how she arranged the permission of a local warlord to hire all the males in a village in Northern Afghanistan to clear the side of a mountain and create an airstrip so she and her crew could get out.
|Gadaffi and the contestants in Beauty Will Save The World|
She has met amazing people and has incredible experiences - she has been fly-fishing in Ponoi, Russia, rode horses for five days in thigh-deep snow in the Afghanistan mountains and run the gauntlet of guns in an African airport whilst hiding her tapes. "Scary stuff" whispered one of my friends: "but not as scary as driving a minivan of kids on a field trip."
But I can see it's a tough life. The travel is constant and often rough and dangerous and a lot of time is spent looking for funds rather than the core job of researching, filming and editing. Each film costs up to $400,000 and she must mostly fund herself, going into double mortgage and credit card debt before hopefully grants and investors come through...
More scary stuff the next night when we played broom-ball, a sort of hockey on ice. Don't raise your broomsticks we were warned ...and what was the first thing the men did? (And for the women: wear your high-waisted trousers or risk major whale-tail reveal.)
|Kevin, Me and Greg|
|Me: I got it! I got it! whaaaaaaHH!|
Pietra was back behind the camera the next morning - taking snaps of a surprise birthday brunch for my friend Lesley. Most everyone wore one of their Lesley dresses.
|Surprise birthday for Lesley, centre. Me at far right|
But in the end, Pietra found herself sharing the weekend also with The Simpsons.
Tallulah, 10, asked Pietra about what she was currently filming and Pietra told her about the Indian composer AR Rahman who most recently wrote the music for 127 Hours, the true story of a climber who fell into a ravine and had to slice off his own arm.
Tallulah's face brightened with recognition: "Oh yes, that was on the The Simpsons - except Homer chopped off the wrong arm."
Later in the day Tallulah heard Pietra talking about The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, the true story of a paralysed journalist who could communicate only by blinking.
"Oh yes" said Tallulah, "That was on The Simpsons too. But instead of blinking, Homer farted."
Pietra has travelled to the four corners of the earth. Had Tallulah absorbed all the same cultural references by simply watching a wacky, albeit brilliant, cartoon show? Thankfully Pietra was able to introduce Tallulah to a cultural phenom she'd never heard of: Monty Python's The Ministry of Silly Walks. Thank you lovely.
|Pietra shows Tallulah one of her silly walks|
So funny. Sooo, maybe there is true value in all of those HOURS of simpson-watching!ReplyDelete
I'm going to ask Jacob if he's seen those episodes :).
Your sister sounds amazing, and incredibly talented. How nice that she was able to speak to so many of your friends (Have I mentioned I wish I lived closer??)!
I LOVE that you all (or most of you) wore Lesley's dresses (I noticed right when I saw the picture, as her dresses are so unique & have such beautiful patterns). Very cute :).
My youngest son is a Simpsons nut too.ReplyDelete
Sounds a fab visit from your sister. What an amazing woman she is. :)
There's so much I could comment on here: the fascinating life of your sister, your gorgeous living room, all you beautiful ladies in your dresses and, of course, the Simpsons references - my son has done this all his life: I find it quite incredible the things he knows through that show.ReplyDelete
Your sister sounds amazing! I bet the kids love having her visit! Love all the photos:)ReplyDelete
You have quite the sister, although I don't think I could live her life. Your friend was right: we have our own domestic dangers here, but in my case a 5 yr old at the skating rink seems to outdo a minivan full of kids on a field trip. Hmmm.... Maybe I do want a go at her job after all.... ;)ReplyDelete
What an amazing weekend!ReplyDelete
Husband used to watch the Simpsons...and still does the same thing when I bring up something interesting. Hmmmm
Tallulah's responses crack me up! But what exciting adventures you sister has had!ReplyDelete
Wow, you're a talented lot!ReplyDelete
Hubs is trying to make one just now, who knows if it will get off the ground, my eyes are glazing over from it all.
I would love to see some of her work. the AR Rahman film sounds particularly interesting. What an extraordinary life she's led!ReplyDelete
Amazing weekend! happy for this :D always is a pleasure read your blogReplyDelete
your sister, to put it simply, is super woman.ReplyDelete
would love to have spent a day in your house when you were kids under one roof. Never a dull moment I'm sure.ReplyDelete
Wow! Have you noticed you've got an amazing living room??ReplyDelete
And an amazing sister....
And an amazing collection of friends
sighs and shuffles off
Firstly thank you so much for your oh so flattering comment - i was pretty chuffed to get it and secondly how inspiring is your sister - there is obviously something good going on in your family genes - another entertaining and interesting post xReplyDelete
Your sister sounds incredible! And I'm not surprised in the slightest. You come from good stock :)ReplyDelete
Oh and broom-ball sounds intriguing. You've definitely sparked my interest :) xoxo
Oh my goodness...now I want to meet her. What a talent!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful and interesting post, Jody! Your sister is such an inspiring person! xoReplyDelete
reading all about your adventures, and now your sister's, really inspires me to go out there and make my own adventures (even though i probably can't handle riding horses in thigh-deep snow, haha!). ;)ReplyDelete
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ok, i am still chuckling from the simpsons comments....ReplyDelete
as a rookie documentary producer, currently producing a film called SOLE SURVIVOR, i am inspired and impressed with your sister's dedication and enthusiasm!! i can't wait to research her further to see if i can view some of her work!!! the film about vanessa sounds so interesting. thx for sharing your sister's lovely passion.
You truly have such wonderful friends and experiences! :)ReplyDelete
Wonderful post and experiences, honey!ReplyDelete
What an amazing time! I feel downright boring when I read of the amazing family and friends that you keep in your company. How funny that the kids relate everything to the Simpsons. The exact same thing has happened in our house.ReplyDelete
wow Pietra and you are in open amazing family... I'm impressed! I love that first photo too, beautiful!!!ReplyDelete
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Wow, what an amazing family you have! surrounded by interesting and wonderful people! inspiring thanks . . . .oh and you looked FAB in that dress at the brunch!ReplyDelete
Your sister sounds amazing and certainly leads a fascinating and inspiring life! And Tallulah cracks me up! I love it. Also, as mentioned a few times above, your living room is gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Wow your sister sounds amazing. How awesome that she has been blessed to get see and do so many wonderful things!!ReplyDelete
Wow, you sister has done some amazing things and visited some interesting places. I'm going to check out some of the titles you mentioned.ReplyDelete
whew, has life been busy for you! so much to comment on. i couldn't imagine being a documentarian, much less living the subject of one.ReplyDelete
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I can't believe you got 60 people in your living room! I can get about 10. XxReplyDelete
Oh... I want to see 127hours.ReplyDelete
Your sister must be hugely motivated by her passions and I am left wondering how The Simpsons will translate Monty Python!
wooowww your life is so busy!!!ReplyDelete
I really like this post!
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Is your entire family talented? Pietra must be very fearless.ReplyDelete
was great to finally meet the lovely and talented Pietra! she is ALL THAT, but funny and nice, too. She has my dream job/life back in the day, but as your other posts noted, the life of an Oaktown mom is not all that boring:-) remind me to tell you about last night...when we crashed a lavish corporate party at Harry Denton's Starlight Lounge. hysterically fun & ballsy & immature. xoReplyDelete
I need a cool sister like that -- how amazingly talented and inspiring! And it's always fun to have the child that brings everyone back to the least common denominator. That being The Simpsons.ReplyDelete
Every thing that you have written about what Pietra is working on is so beautiful it makes me want to burst into tears. Ok, now that that's out of the way--how fun it must've been to have her and the guy in the 2nd photo looks like Harrison Ford. Also how great that Tallulah can converse on deep and meaningful subjects all the while referring to the Simpsons. I mean that in a deep and meaningfully good way!ReplyDelete
xo Mary Jo