expect a miracle (hill)

i’m feeling nostalgic. this week last year, i was on my way to france and spain to work on a movie. i wasn’t the cinematographer, nor the director, nor the writer … though i did have a tiny part as the lady in the tourist bureau until the actual lady got her courage up to be on camera. a star was NOT born. no, my main job as “scripty” was to sit on on a little stool in the prime real estate between the director and the cinematographer and tell the actors when they fluffed a line. (the mostly english cast and crew say “fluffed” instead of “flubbed” … so much nicer to the ear … and to the ego of the actor, i imagine!)

i was also the “continuity girl”, making sure each actor spoke and gestured exactly the same way during each take in a scene … a very tricky job requiring keen concentration. no being distracted by the handsome spanish farmer or the hot spanish sun. or … the hot spanish farmer or the handsome spanish son!

oh, and i also did the still photography for the film’s advertising.

it’s a herculean effort, making a movie. i worked so hard, such long hours, and yet i still feel that i didn’t work hard enough. i was jetlagged, then exhausted. but i didn’t work nearly as hard as the folks who made this movie happen.

these english people, the atkins family, worked their fannies off (they definitely wouldn’t say “fannies”) making a film, as a family! the dad joe directed. the mom manny produced and was the lead actor. the youngest children beth and arthur also acted. the older sons harry and luc did the sound and music. these are some mighty talented and hardworking folks. their actor friends came to round out the cast and two french interns filled out the crew.

the film takes place along the chemin de st jacques in france and the camino de santiago in spain. the coolest thing for me was that i walked with miss daisey along the french part of this pilgrimage trail last april … then in july i got to actually go to the pilgrimage end point of santiago with the film! pilgrims expect miracles …

six months earlier while surfing the net one evening, i had bumped into the atkins blog about their travels in a bus around europe and left a comment. manny wrote me back. we became friends via email, she invited me to stay with them on the way to my pilgrimage. and i offered to help with the film, and so i did. a miracle if you ask me!

one of the biggest blessings of working on this film was to meet the atkins and their friends. who just decides to make a movie and then goes and does it? the atkins do! they reminded me that anything is possible, absolutely anything, if you put enough head, heart and will into it.

the next biggest blessing was that i reignited my love affair with photography. not in the job description, i found myself making lots of behind the scenes photographs. so many beautiful places, and beautiful people to photograph! when i returned home, i decided not to go to grad school in psychology as i had planned, but to start a greeting card company using my photos, which will branch out into photos on canvas this fall.

another miracle, really. i found  myself on that pilgrimage trail. not while hiking, but while filming “heaven”.

the greatest miracle of all is that the film if you ever get to heaven is complete! and will be screened in england july 20. i will be here in the usa road tripping with my aussie friend around the western states … so i’ll have to catch the next screening, perhaps at the mill valley film festival! if you’re lucky, it will be coming to a theater near you, too.


About hillarah

my dad gave me my first camera in high school, a sturdy black minolta. i found my gift, my voice, my way to be with the world. after journalism school, i swashbuckled as a photojournalist for over a decade. moved home to norcal to be near family and started a boutique stock photography agency, see jane run. life had other plans. my camera lived mostly in the closet for nine years. last summer working on a film in france and spain, my camera became my friend again. and now, it's like rekindling a long-lost love. now with more wisdom, more freedom. pure joy.
This entry was posted in family, friends, movies, spirituality, travel, walking miss daisey. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to expect a miracle (hill)

  1. Laura says:

    so… my son says “fluffing” (when he is feeling polite) instead of “farting” – so much nicer to the ear.

  2. Joe Atkins says:

    … And Hills, you know one of the miracles for us was in finding, meeting and loving someone as beautiful as you…You are quite simply, Hills; she who does, she who can, she who will. Thank you for being you, and for sharing that with us on that unforgettable adventure. We miss you X

  3. Sophie Key says:

    Hi Hills have heard lots about you… I am Manny’s little sister and aunty/sister-in-law to the talented Atkins crew. Sounds like you had an amazing life changing adventure last summer… It’s lovely to hear about it from another perspective. I can’t wait for the screening on the 20th, and to catch up with thegang. What a shame I won’t get to meet you too!

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