Monday, May 31, 2010


Well, a lazy post today. Here are official production stills from LIFE ABOVE ALL, based on my novel CHANDA'S SECRETS. If you're interested in seeing the reviews or trailer, or shots from Cannes, just scroll back a few posts! :)

Tomorrow I promise to return to our tour of Vietnam and Cambodia which got interrupted what with all the excitement of last week. After that, a tour of Nice and Venice!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Well I'm back from Cannes via Nice and Venice and am still on a cloud. Here's some pix of my time there, including the red carpet, the onstage bow, the standing ovation, pandemonium outside, meeting Roger Ebert, and our young star putting everything in perspective! (For newcomers, this is about the premiere of LIFE, ABOVE ALL, the film adaptation of my nobel CHANDA'S SECRETS published by Annick Press.)

First I gotta say that Cannes is pretty chic. (Although these shots don't quite capture how frenetic it is around the Palais where Official Selections are screened.) The pix are from balconies inside the Palais that I accessed thanks to my magic badge which opened the most amazing doors.

First we were taken for official photographs. Left to right, the women: Harriet Manamela (Mrs. Tafa), our star Khomotso Manyake (Chanda) and Lerato Mvelase (Mama). the men: Greg Buckle (S.A. producer), Oliver Stoltz (German producer) me, Dennis Foon (good friend and screenwriter) and Oliver Schmitz (director)...

Then up the red carpet...

Then paraded on stage for a pre-screening bow...

After the film, pandemonium. A standing ovation...

Things got a little teary at the ten minute mark...

Outside, more pandemonium...

Meeting Roger Ebert, a major fan. Wow!...

At a chi-chi lunch with the team...

Dennis and I catch a breather by the Cannes poster...

At the team dinner dinner that night, thirteen-year-old Khomotso put everything in perspective...

Monday, May 24, 2010


SA movie scoops coveted Cannes award
Nadia Neophytou

"The local movie Life Above All scooped a prestigious award at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday night.

"The film created a buzz at the event earlier this week when it received a 10 minute standing ovation following its premiere.
The buzz around the film is still growing. The film was awarded with the esteemed Prix Francois Chalais Award.

"Producer Greig Buckle said: “[The award is] about the film that reflects the world we live in at the moment. So for me that’s quite an achievement. Our film has been recognised as reflecting the real world we live in.”
Gerdard Carreyrou was part of the panel that decides who wins the award. The panel said the film showed humanity and was inspirational."

Monday, May 17, 2010


Sorry to take time away from the Vietnam/Cambodia tour, but hey, I've had kind of a busy weekend I thought you'd like to know about -- namely a trip to Chicago and then off to Cannes!

First off, I flew down to Chicago, Friday -- like you couldn't tell from the photo of The Bean -- where I was put up at the Marriott Hotel to be keynote speaker to 1,500 fans of my novel CHANDA'S WARS. It was on Mayor Daley's Book Club that goes all across the Chicago school board -- the third largest in America. An honour and a thrill.

I love Chicago -- especially Millennium Park. More Bean please...

...the Gehry amphitheater...

... and that totally cool glass block statue with the changing faces of locals who spit jets of water out of their mouths. (In the heat of the summer, kids run through the water jets squealing with laughter.)

But more than anything, I love public speaking. I'm great with people if either (a) they're a small group of friends, or (b) if I'm on a stage in front of a crowd. I mean what's the big deal in talking to a few hundred fans? It's fun. But put me in a cocktail party and in five seconds I want to bolt. Honestly, who invented cocktail parties? -- "Minglers" where total strangers breathe cheap wine and brie in each others faces and talk about the weather. CHEQUE PLEASE! Getting through one of those suckers sober is a total drag!

BUT ANYWAY, MAYOR DALEY'S BOOK CLUB WAS FANTASTIC!. 1,500 STUDENTS WHO HAD READ MY BOOK AND WERE DEVOTING A SATURDAY MORNING TO THE BOOK CLUB EVENT. AUTHOR HEAVEN! And meeting Mayor Daley was terrific too. what he's done to beautify Chicago is truly amazing.

I also love Chicago's architecture, the cityscapes, street life...

And the cool public art. "Me see buildings. Yum."

After the event -- Saturday --I flew back to Toronto and packed for Cannes where LIFE, ABOVE ALL, the film adaptation of my novel CHANDA'S SECRETS, is premiering on the 18th. Daniel and I flew out yesterday -- Sunday -- so today we're either arrived or en route, heading from Rome to Nice and then a shuttle to the film festival. Then after that a few days in Venice to research my next book, and then home where I'll tell you all about it!

If you want to see some cool photos before I get back, I've pre-scheduled a post for May 20 of random shots of new stuff from Vietnam and Cambodia, to give you a taste of where I'll be taking you after Cannes and Venice. I think you'll especially like a preview of Angor Watt... :)

A bientot,


Thursday, May 13, 2010


Welcome to a Tim Burton movie set in real life! Dalat's Crazy House may not follow socialist architectural principles, but luckily it was designed by a daughter of a local Communist head honcho so it's Wacadoo Wackadoo all the way to the land of multi-coloured birds. The architect is a Paris trained PhD, actually, and certainly one of a kind -- even in the circus that is Dalat her building stands out. and yes, people can actually stay here -- it's not just a ride.

This is a dining area a.k.a. shrine to her dad and the Party.

May I take you to your room?

Careful on the stairs.

And don't fall off a corridor.

Enjoy the skylight.

Look out from a corridor at the west wing.

And here we are. A tad cozy, but a fab mirror, don't you think?

Want something a bit bigger? O.K.

And say hello to the security guard. Mr. G. Raffe.

All in all a really fun place, and a great spot to interrupt our tour of Vietnam. Over the next few posts I'm going to try blogging from a couple of current trips. May 15th I'm addressing 1,500 students in Chicago from Mayor Daley's Book Club. CHANDA'S WARS was a selection across the board. Then on the 16th, Daniel and I head to France to the Cannes International Film Festival where CHANDA'S SECRETS is premiering as an Official Selection. We'll be there May 17, 18 and 19, then on to Nice and Venice where I'm researching my next novel. So.... if I get a chance to blog on the road that'd be fun. (Otherwise -- like if my days are just too packed, which may well be the case -- I'll show you some more of Vietnam and fill you in on Cannes when I get back.



Monday, May 10, 2010


After the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, a trip to the Buddhist monastery/teaching complex in the hills surrounding Dalat was just what the doctor ordered. What a joy to wander/wonder the grounds, free of our "guide" who happily texted his way through our visit.

The complex was sooooooo tranquil. There were larger shrines for prayer...

And smaller. All filled with incense.

And a place for the monks to sleep.

We loved the wander down to the lake...

In the morning haze, the lake was ethereal as a silk embroidered painting.

And being Buddhist and Vietnamese, the complex gardens were filled with whimsy and joy.



Hey -- any questions you have, feel free to ask. If I don't see them immediately because of travel, I'll be sure to answer immediately on my return.