David Fernandes
Producer, Director, Writer

Ok, first time

I’m totally a late-comer to this whole blogging thing, but i’m gonna try it out for a bit, mostly because I’m heading to England and Portugal next week and i want an easy way to share thoughts about the trip. It’s an important one for me.

Sometime last fall, my father called me at work looking to chat for a bit. I was way too ‘busy’ to speak with him – having several other things i’d procrastinated on that day. I had also conjured up my favourite explanation for why he ever calls: he wants to guilt-trip me for not calling enough.

I did finally get back to him several days later, on a saturday. Turns out the reason he called me at work, during the day, was not to guilt-trip me about how much i don’t call, but to let me know that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and needed to go for treatment.

Driving back from Toronto that weekend I spent the whole four hour car ride beating myself up for being such a selfish asshole, and realising that the cancer curse in my family had finally hit one of my parents (after taking my brother, 2 cousins, several aunts and uncles, etc…). And the idea of my father with cancer – the guy who at the age of 73 is out in his backyard in the middle of an ontario summer for 8 hours on end, building decks, moving rocks and cleaning up his riverbed – the guy who surely has some mule genes in his blood somewhere (if not for his stubbornness, then for his remarkable stamina); the thought of my Dad being sick with anything other than a little cough – that was pretty fucking shocking.

Fast forward a bit, he opted for radiation treatment over surgery and has just finished his grueling 3-month treatment schedule. And now he’s decided to go home to Madeira Island for a bit, visit some family and collect a well-overdue pension.

He’d asked me if I wanted to go with him earlier in the winter, but that always seemed predicated on an unpredictable and successful completion of his treatment. When he decided to go for sure a couple of weeks ago, I was hesitant mainly because of the speed at which I’ve been burning through my savings – buying new appliances, stuff for the house, computer equipment I need now that I am a freelancer and don’t have a fully flanked studio anymore. I was going to opt out because of money and timing.

And then I spoke to Nrinder, who lost her dad in 2001, and I realised that not-going would become one of the stupider things i do in my life.

So, I’m going. I leave on Monday. Like, 2 days from now.

And I’m taking a video camera and some photo equipment and I’m going to make a short, personal doc about the experience, looking at roots, identity, family and feeling a connection to a place simply through story and lineage without ever having lived there. I’m really excited about this whole trip. I think it’s going to be a pivotal moment for my relationship with my father, who for most of my life I’ve kept pretty arm’s length.

I’m also excited about taking a pit stop in England to visit Bristol, not because I know ANYTHING at all about bristol (but assume there must be a good story about bristol board) but because I am going to see an exhibit at the Arnolfini: the very first time the entire work of the Black Audio Film Collective is on display. It’s a travelling exhibit and it’s currently in Bristol, so, Bristol, here i come.

I was exposed to the work of the BAFC while in Cinema Studies at U of T in the 90′s. I remember seeing Handsworth Songs and being totally touched and moved by the film, which is about ‘riots’ that happened in Birmingham in the 80′s, but is really about race, identity, anger and poetry. The film really breaks a lot of boundaries in documentary film, blurring the lines between poetic reflection and reportage. Anyway, their work is amazing and I am so stoked i get to spend a couple of days soaking it all in. I’ve been looking to buy a couple of their flims for years now and it’s like, no chance. NOTHING is available. (I’m secretly plotting with some mysterious all powerful forces in toronto to get at least the films brought here for a show).

Anyway. Voila. My first, rambling blog post.

2 Responses to “Ok, first time” »

  1. Steve Says:

    Awesome start. I’ll book mark the blog and check for updates periodically. We kept a blog if you are interested. I found the picture loading aspects awful, so we also found it helpful to set up a shared photo album on shutterfly which we linked on our blog.

    It sounds like you are glad your doing this trip with your dad.
    Michelle (signed in as Steve as I don’t have a google account)

  2. aylwin Says:

    Bem-vindo! Look forward to your ramblings… Have bookmarked the RSS :)