Archive for February, 2008

Day 35 - RIGHT ON TIME!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
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  • german

Halleluja! We got the location for tomorrow’s shooting. Checks is the hero of the day because he got us the poor house. His friend Triste, a rapper from Southmost, has the perfect house. Even the cockroaches are real. I am happy. Then Checks asks me, what else I’m looking for. I mention the crack-mother, one of the side roles in the movie. So he takes me downtown to the streets of the hookers. He picks one. Her name is Crissy. She is shaking and when I ask her if she would be interested to come out in my movie, I feel bad immediatly, because I feel so sorry for her. She looks so sad. She is perfect. However, having met so many poor people the last couple of days, I can hardly be happy, even though we got everything together for the first shooting day tomorrow. Overall, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the people here are so helpful. Thanks Checks, thanks Luis, thanks Carol’s mom and Zuly’s mom and all the others. There are so many.

Something funny… Today’s entry on Constanze’s To-Do-list:

- Fuego -> Lalu number
- pants on Saturday
- people for drug scene
- need couch and drugs -> ask RJ for help

It’s getting absurd. Yep, we should start shooting soon.

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Day 35 - TONI GARZA JR. GOES NUTS

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
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Unbelievable, really unbelievable… I got a phone call from the filmcommission today and they informed me that Toni Garza Jr. had called them totally drunk and cursed them. Now we’ve got proof for our suspicion that he seems to have an alcohol or drug problem… The last phone call I got from him was 2 days ago when I made it clear to him not to call me ever again. After that incident, the filmcommission will now inform the police, just in case he shows up at the hotel again.

Day 34 - IN THE GHETTO: NOT WITHOUT A BRA

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
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  • german

Early in the morning, Haake, Luis and me meet Carol’s Mom to take a look at the poor trailor, she mentioned to us yesterday as a possible location for Thursday’s scenes.
It’s an option if we don’t find anything else until Thursday. But it’s not perfect. I need something poorer than that. When I tell Haake to come with me and search for another location by walking from door to door again, knocking on houses, he just looks at me as if he wanted to kill me. Haake is super-exhausted and, to be honest, I am too. We’ve worked so hard but still come home without any results. The heat is killing us and we are tired, exhausted and would actually need some sleep. We’re also running out of time. Only two more days until we start to shoot. However, I cannot give up and so I convince Haake to come with me for another try.

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So again we walk through the streets of Cameron Park. After knocking on two doors and getting a “No” from the people there, a man comes up to me. He gives me the advice to better not wear string shirts out here in Brownsville, especially when you’re a white blonde female. Also, I should better wear a bra. Yep, he said “bra”. Just to make things clear for everyone: I was wearing a bra. Strapless, indeed. But a bra. But you know what? I don’t give a shit any more. I know Cameron Park is dangerous, but what can I do: I need to find a location until Thursday. And I don’t care anymore about being white or walking around in dangerous streets or people telling me to better wear bras with straps to avoid getting raped or shot or whatever. All I can think of is that I am running out of time.

And so it is getting dark in Brownsville. Haake, Luis and me get back to the hotel. Exhausted and without any results. Our hotel room is packed with people because Constanze is having a meeting with some people who wanna help us out. All of a sudden, somebody knocks on the door. Constanze opens it and an angel enters. No kidding. From now on he is my private angel. And I have good reasons to call him that. His real name is Checks. He comes from the ghetto, knows all the drugdealers and dark places and has a lot of connections to the underground scene. He heard about the movie and wanted to offer his help. When he found out about me desperately looking for a poor house, he just said: „A poor house? – Nothing easier than that!“. He gives me hope again. We make an appointment for tomorrow. The last day to find a location before we shoot.

Day 34 - PICKING UP LIGHTEQUIPMENT IN AUSTIN

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
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Peter and Atanas were sent to Austin by me to pick up light equipment. After they had come back 5 hours too late I found the following pictures on the camera. No more comments on that. See for yourselves.

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Day 33 - THE GHETTO: UNBELIEVABLE DAY IN CAMERON PARK

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
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We’re already shooting our first scene on Thursday and still don’t have the location for it. The problem: We are looking for a poor house. I know, Brownsville is full of poor houses but nobody wants to show that in front of a camera. Besides, people won’t even open their doors. So I get Luis, who speaks Spanish, and Haake as my personal bodyguard (just kidding) and drive to Cameron Park, the ghetto of Brownsville. In devastating heat we walk from house to house, knock on doors, ask for entry. We see scared faces of people who think we are from the government because we look so white. We see families squeezed together with their children, chickens and geese on unbelievably small space. Some share outside toilets with their neighbours. An old lady gets her shots outside in front of her poor housing. It’s unbelievable how poor these people are, living so close to the rich Country Club.

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We meet a young pregnant woman who lives in a little trailor with her husband and three children. I have never seen anything that poor before, yet so friendly and hospitable. She shows us her trailor, shows us the worn out mattress where her family (5 people!) sleep. She shows us the cesspit, next to the chicken cages. Snakes move, coming from the dirty river behind her trailor, across the grass. Never seen anything like that. The woman doesn’t mind us filming in her trailor. “I know, I am poor.”, she says, “Why should I pretend it’s different? I’ve got nothing to hide.” Still, there’s a problem: The trailor belongs to her mother-in-law who is renting it out to her. So she has to ask her for permission first. I respect that. Somehow it seems to me as if her mother-in-law has a lot of power. So I guess, we gotta wait until she gets a hold of her.

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Walking back to our car, we meet Zuly, who lives in Cameron Park as well. She is not surprised to see us. She was already told some hours ago that “some filmmakers” were walking around Cameron Park. It seems as if a lot of people already know. I have this weird feeling that people are watching us.

It’s getting dark when we arrive back at the hotel. We’re just about to get something to eat when I receive a call from Carol’s mom from Cameron Park. It’s a warning: Mother-in-law knows that we walked around Cameron Park. Mother-in-law is very angry. We should rather not show up in Cameron Park anymore. Wow. I think we’re in trouble and I don’t even understand why. I ask Carol’s mom if I could meet the Mother-in-law to sort things out because I think there must be some misunderstanding. Carol’s mom calls back: Mother-in-law wants to meet us in an hour.

Before we get going, we try to overcome our fear of Mother-in-law by joking around. But as soon as Haake, Luis and me are in the car, driving to Cameron Park, there is complete silence in the car. Everyone is nervous. Who is Mother in Law and what is gonna happen?

We drive to Carol’s house in Cameron Park. From there, Carol’s mom leads us to the house of the Mother-in-law. It’s a big, fancy house, Mexican style. Several people are sitting on chairs on the porch. We take a seat as well. Some man is offering us a papaya. They all seem very friendly but I still don’t know which one, out of the many ladies, is the Mother-in-law. Then, all of a sudden, all the men leave and the meeting starts. It gets clear which one the Mother-in-law is: An old Mexican lady. She doesn’t say a word, lets the others talk, listens carefully. A very angry Mexican woman starts to speak angrily, only in Spanish. I don’t understand a word. Luis tries to translate it into English as fast as he can. I soon understand what the problem is: They think we are stuck up white filmmakers who want to film in Cameron Park to drag its people through the mire. She explains that her whole life she had to fight the bad image of the people from Cameron. People think that Cameron Parkers are criminals, lazy illegals and the scum of Brownsville. If her children mention they are from Cameron Park at school, they will be put down by teachers and treated badly. Therefore, the lady wants Zuly and Carol not to come out in the movie and wants to forbid us to film in Cameron Park. We try to sort things out and Carol’s mom and Zuly’s mom are very helpful. Finally the Mother-in-law is making a decision: Without saying a word because she had already decided before we even arrived. We are not allowed to shoot in any of her properties in Cameron Park. What Zuly and Carol do will be up to their parents. Both already said yes, so at least we got that sorted out. However: We lost our location for the first shooting day.

I am disappointed, down and exhausted. A whole day of searching for the right location in unbelievable heat and humidity with no result. Carol’s mom notices how disappointed we are and feels sorry for us. She offers us to shoot in her trailor. It is already late but we take a look at it. She offers us homemade cake and milk. She’s so nice, but her trailor is not poor enough for the movie. So, Carol’s mom thinks of something else: A friend of hers has another trailor, which is kind of poor. We decide to take a look at it tomorrow. Now it’s almost 2 o’clock in the morning. Haake was so tired, he fell asleep right away when we got home. I am ready to do so as well, to be honest.

Day 32 - BIBLES AND GUNS

Monday, February 18th, 2008
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  • german

I never thought it would be so hard to get a fake gun in Brownsville. Real guns – no problem. Fake guns…. wow, a real challenge. Still, I need it for the movie. So, the closest I could get was an air gun without a magazine. It lies in the drawer next to my bed now, underneath the hotel bible.

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Day 32 - DRUGS AND WEAPONS

Monday, February 18th, 2008
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  • german

I start to panic. Not only that Toni keeps stalking me, there are a lot of strange people in the hotel and stry drugdeals, too. Even Haake has made the acquaintance of Jesús and thinks he’s really nice. Additionally, Barbara has a weapon in the box next to her bed. Where will this lead to?!?

Day 31 - PRIVY MATTER

Sunday, February 17th, 2008
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  • german

Well, well, apparently there’s a lot going on in our hotel. While Constanze and me are driven by work and stress, there’s some drug dealing going on outside our hotel room. Seems like one of my leading actors has become the major supplier of grass for several hotel guests.

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Day 31 - TONI GARZA JR. CONTINUES STALKING

Sunday, February 17th, 2008
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  • german

Toni keeps stalking me. Yesterday, after 76 counted calls, I made my position clear to him and told him not to call me anymore and that I abstain from his „help”. In the afternoon I went location scouting and when we came back, a receptionist from the front desk told me that someone had asked for me. He wanted to get our room key, as he was supposed to be part of the crew and wanted to bring equipment. Slowly but steadily I’m becoming scared. Obviously Toni doesn’t understand that he should keep away from us.

Day 30 - HAAKE versus DEODORANT

Saturday, February 16th, 2008
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  • german

3 things I like about Haake: He makes the best ginger-carrot-soup, he makes f****** good pictures… and… well… I know, there was something else….
However, Haake bought himself a deodorant today. The team says „Thank you“. And I give him much credit on that.


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