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About Jenna Cato Bass

I'm a director, writer, photographer, aspiring explorer and retired magician living in Cape Town, South Africa

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Day 2

Posted November 02, 2008

I am standing in the offices of Focus Features with tears in my eyes. Right there are the posters for the Coen's and Gus Van Sant's new films. This is the place where these things happen. What more can I say? Here are photos:








Mel width=



Kisha again:

Kisha again

Kieth again:

Kieth again


Halloween! These photos don't come close to doing it justice:


Halloween 2

Halloween 3

Halloween 4

Towards the end of the day:

Towards the end of the day

This bothered me a bit:

This bothered me a bit

An example of bad retail signage? or a massive bolt of happily optimistic profundity has struck:

Bad retail signage?

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NY Day 1

Updated November 02, 2008

NY Day 1
NY Day 1
NY Day 1
NY Day 1
NY Day 1
NY Day 1

NY Day 1




Africa First Day 1

Posted November 02, 2008

So, we're in NY for the Focus Africa First Short Film Program.... Herewith begins a rambling chronicle of bewilderment, joy and excitement:

New York is far quieter than I had imagined. It could be the result of combined jetlag and the 3 sleep-devoid nights prior to my departure, but none of this seems real. This daze may be down to the fact that in my experience, after being conditioned as filmmakers (let alone African ones) to expect ironic misfortune and disaster of Biblical proportions when it comes to our work, such an honor as has been granted to us by the Africa First program is still relatively difficult to absorb. 

Or it may be down to that special New York magic we have heard so much about. Overwhelmed by the presence of real NYPD cars, real steam rising from underground, real Taxi's, and big fire engines (just a warning to anyone I speak to whilst in NY- this novelty will not wear off. Beware), I walk the streets in wonderment. Did Robert De Niro stand here? Or perhaps here? Did the crumbs of Woody Allen's bagel fall  (self-consciously) there? Those reddening trees we passed over in the plane, those wide streets, did child actors ride their bikes down there in the glorious family films of the late 80s? Who knows, but oh, the joy! The great wonderment of cinema, which is what has brought us all here I like to think, that ability to transcend the fictional, into reality and onwards into the mythic. 

Tomorrow I find Royal Tenenbaum's mansion. 

But asides from this, the real reason for our being here, of far more serious proportions:  I am so pleased to be so excited by the varying degrees of information I have heard about the other four films selected by the Africa First board.  

My short, The Tunnel, must still be shot, so everything is far from over. Set just after independence in early 80s Zimbabwe, it follows Elizabeth, a 9 year old in a rural Matabeleland village as she tries to make sense of the disappearance of her father, believing he has dug a tunnel to the big city to speak to Robert Mugabe. I'll write more about it, or hope to, soon, as I feel changes are afoot. But essentially what fascinates me is no matter who we are, Africa seems to have the ability to, for better or worse, make children of us all.We are always discovering something we never knew. 

Today, after gawking quite unashamedly and  covetously outside NYU film school, a man comes up to me in the park and asks me where is the 21. I say I don't know, unless he possibly means me, because I'm 21. We talk a while. He's from Brazzaville. I've just been in a Congo obsession for the past few months and I tell him this. He says I must like Africa a lot. I try explain what I mean and I tell him that it is mostly because Africa is so full of stories. It is so so wealthy in that way that I am completely awestruck. i could just keel over right there, thinking about it (no really, I mean this). It is so untapped, so unexplored, like the Congo jungle, we fear it, we do not know it, and thus we are fascinated and want to know. As a filmmaker, what more can one ask for, I ask him? His name is Lin, named after a Chinese man his father used to work for a long time ago. There, I say, that's a great story already.

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Jenna Bass's Photos

Updated November 02, 2008

Obie Oberholtzer
Flat Land intro
Photo References by Dominic Nahr
German Expressionist Refs
Location Scout 1
5th Brigade
Sibu aka Elizabeth
Guerillas 1
Sibu & Ntlantla
5th Brigade
On set intensity
More digging
Day 5
Tunnel 1
Fake Tears
Tunnel 2
Tunnel 3
Tunnel 4
mud & huts
Hillary & Leonard
Maike in hut
Abyss Boys 1
Abyss Boys 2
Abyss Boys 3
Abyss Boys 4
Abyss Boys 5
Screening Invite 1
Screening Invite 2
The Tunnel in the Berlinale Catalogue
Team TT