I am in Colombia at the invitation of Babilla Cine who are one of the three main independent distributors in Colombia. Their most recent release is Match Point which came out last week and so far has achieved around 70,000 admissions and made around 400 million pesos at the box office which is roughly 160,000 dollars. They have been going 8 years and their first release was Festen – as well as distributing films they also have a one screen art house cinema in Bogot which is where I am going to be teaching later I think.
There is a network of independent cinematheques and what are called cine clubs (like a cross between a part-time venue and a film society for us) in Colombia. In general they have some of the same problems as us – trying to get more people to see a greater range of world cinema.
Babilla Cine have obtained some money from UNESCO which funds training and development in the creative industries and they are running a course this week in Bogot for 21 or so managers and programmers from cinemas, cinematheque’s and cineclub’s across Colombia and this is where I come in….! Obviously it’s quite daunting thinking about teaching people in a country where you have no knowledge about the business locally but apparently (!) everything we do in the ICO courses will be relevant here as the principles are the same (so Federico from Babilla Cine tells me anyway). Anyway! It’s a great opportunity to meet people trying to do the same work in other countries and who have the same goals.
Colombia is 6 hours behind the UK and so its 6.40 am – I have been up since 4.00 in a jet lag kind of way after a 13 hour flight over here. There are no direct flights from the UK so you have to go via Paris. It’s still 3 hours to go till I start teaching so I hope I can maintain some bounciness till then.
There’s a timetable of world cup matches in the lift but it only goes up till Tuesday so I got a bit anxious – I think the next game will be 2pm here so I’m going to have to catch it somewhere somehow later…
I spent an hour with the translator yesterday – I can’t speak Spanish and not all of the participants on the courses can speak English – so everything has to be translated simultaneously. It’s quite strange having to explain the terms you take for granted as well as what you do which also seems quite strange often to someone who maybe only goes to the cinema a couple of times a year. Anyway, am very glad to be here, and hopefully things may go okay today….