I’ve always enjoyed a little hot and humid weather and it’s a good thing too, that’s all they have in Mandalay, Myanmar during monsoon season.
Yesterday, Ketty, my VisionFund rep, and I landed in Myanmar. We were picked up by Saw John and Saw Sah Lae Bwe, our VFI contacts in country. Once we were checked in to the Great Wall Hotel, they made me feel right at home with a typical Hollywood afternoon schedule – we did lunch, went on a location scout, and had a production meeting with our local crew.
I know that “doing lunch” sounds pretentious, but I promise, it isn’t – it is just a fancy way of saying that we are going to work while we eat. Plus there is no better way to meet new people than over food. John and Sah Lae Bwe had arranged for Nwet, the microloan client who I will be working with, to join us so we could talk about our schedule while we are here. Nwet makes gold embroidered clothing for several of the biggest name designers in Myanmar (I could tell you who they are, but really, how Hollywood do you want me to be – if they agree to be on camera, I will tell you who they are). Sufficed to say, Nwet does really good work, and because of VisionFund’s microloan program, she has created a business that can keep up with the quality and demand of top designers.
On our tour of the city, saw the Ze Cho Market and several other markets where Nwet buys her materials to make her clothing. We looked at several locations where we may do a fashion shoot to showcase Nwet’s clothes. The highlight of the afternoon was walking across U Bein Bridge, an over 100-year old teak wood bridge built across Lake Thaungthaman.
Then we returned back to the hotel and met with Thant and Stephen, our crew from Miracle Post, to go over our gear package and shooting schedule for the week. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to work with these guys! It always warms my heart when the first question a DP asks me is, “How long do we have to light?”
After that we made a quick trip to City Market for Digestives and Peanut Butter and called it a wrap for the night.