Once Upon a Time...
was a Nadagirl who went to New York City for the Streaming Media East 2000
Convention, June 12-15. A
galant Boston-based Frenchman named Jean-Francois Formela of Atlas
Venture invited her after she was introduced to him via e-mail by a
lovely Barcelona-based half-French/half-English lass named Abigail
Boisot. Nadagirl mixed and mingled with dot-communist glitterati like
Marc Scarpa of Jumpcut,
documentary director Mark Mitchell and
Xceed producer Ned Davis, and the whole
staff of IBM-Bahamas, among
others from Brazil, Germany, Japan and even Cuba.
a dream-fortifyingly net-ricious bite of the Big Apple, it was time to
cross the Atlantic to conquer another kingdom: Paços de Brandao,
16th, 6:30am: I'm met at the Lisbon airport by King Fernando Rocha
(director of Numérica Multimédia
and his Knight Errant-Caballero Andante, Sound Engineer &
Guitarist Nuno Monteiro. ( I photographed them days later in their natural
habitat...It seemed too cruel to whip out the camera at such an
ungodly hour.) Nuno drives us the THREE hours north to Paços, in the
Oporto area. During the whole car ride, I'm thinking: "Who do I know
who would drive three hours south to get me in the middle of the night,
and then turn around and take me the three hours back?" I'm already
deeply affected by the hospitality of these people, but will we be able to
work together? (The answer is soon apparent.)
17th: More driving...to Bragança,
forty kilometres from Spain, where we are attending the wedding of
Alexander Couto and Alexandra Neves in the little valley town of Gimonde. Here
we stand with the happy couple, and the dazzlingly beautiful woman at the
left is Queen Paula Relvas, Fernando's wife. We eat a five-course
dinner at 7pm, Macarena under a
full moon until 1am, and then eat all over again. I am completely amazed
at how much fun I'm having, and am overwhelmed that Fernando and Paula
would include me in this family affair. (Check out this Brazilian cousin
of Fernando: Lady Carol of Sao Paulo.
Tudo bem!) I know no one, yet I fall into conversations mixed with
English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, and feel an understanding with
these people like I've never felt before. Viva
18th: We check out O Castelo do Bragança
and its environs. I die,
go to Heaven, and come back Portuguese!
Good thing, too, because pre-production on my short (curtametragen), "Mini
Driver Project" is about to begin!
19th-June 29th: Let's meet the royally wonderful Numérica/Aurastudio
Team! Besides Nuno, King Fernando´s Round Table is comprised of Knights
Toni Silva, Vitor Fereira,
Ilidio Moreira, Jorge Fidalgo
and Dame María do Carme. Director of
Photography is Duque Jorge Santos
(seen here with Duquesa Carmen Mamblona, recently mandated by her heart to
move from Madrid to Northern Portugal...).
as Mini's friends are the hot new band FEED.
I tried to keep the casting session professional by asking questions like,
"What bands influence you?" (Parliament
Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam was the consensus.),
but DAMN! I was mostly looking around thinking, "Who's cuter?" Mario
Leite (rhythm guitar), Tó
(bass), Bruno Aires (drums), Paulo
Teixeira (solo guitar), or Orlando
Pona (lead vocals, trumpet, keyboards)? (Orlando seems to have the
devil in him...) Okay, if you're under 25, write me back and cast your
vote! And yes, girls, they speak English perfectly and have impeccable
Or, write to them
Or, write to them yourselves!
between scouting, casting, paperwork, etc. we managed to have plenty of
time for family and fun. The way the Europeans balance their lives is
truly enviable. Every Thursday, Fernando and Paula lunch with his family.
That day these regal Rochas were in
attendance: Brother Alberto, his daughter Marta, Sister Isabel, Fernando,
Sr., Queen Mum Rosa, Fernando, Jr., Aunt Ligia, Paula Relvas, Aunt Iva. On
another day, José
Alberto and Sara (Marta's younger brother and sister) joined us. And look
closer at the sisters Ligia, Rosa and Iva...They´re
only missing Elizabeth! (See why I was motivated to do a royal theme this
that was family...what was fun?
in enchanted gardens...paella at
Nuno's with his Aunt Regina...staying
up past sunrise on Sao Joao and starting all over at sunset...Disco
time!...dinner with Alberto...partying
with Jorge & Carmen and seeing
tremendous photos of Morocco...listening to a "groovy"
bar band on the shores of the Atlantic...eating Pop Rocks and blowing
29th: Our work completed, with great emotional difficulty, I returned to
Lisbon for my flight home. My friend Megan Jones from Orad
NY happened to be flying in, so I wanted to meet up with her before
she went on to Madrid. We both gasped at the beauty of 'typical
Lisbon', visited the sites (like the Elevador
Santa Justa, designed by Eiffel), drank at the smallest
bar in the free world, and were given a grand tour of the Bairro Alto
by night by Diego Palacios,
grandson of my favorite author, Carmen Laforet.
30th: We buy some art from
German Mario Froliche in
the Rua Augusta area and then Megan
and I run to a quiet, green place
in Lisbon, O Jardim Botanico, before she has to tear off to Madrid. Tránsito Local, you can't beat it. Then, I'm treated to one last
party by a true prince of a friend, Eddy
Quintela, his girlfriend Elena, and his boyhood friend Pedro Baltazar.
July 1st: I return home. The movie on the flight between NY and LA is "Return to Me", starring Minnie Driver. HA! I take it as a very good omen. I'll be back...yes, indeed. And, in the meantime? Intensive Portuguese classes for this "Doninha", a Nadarapariga!
Fade to July...