An Ordinary Miracle (originally written 6th July 2015)

Those who know me have come to accept a lot of my more endearing quirks, or at least they have stopped complaining about them as much as they used to. But one that never fails to frustrate some of the less time-conscious friends of mine, is my OCD level NEED to be early for everything, to the point where I get frustrated if I’m only going to be five minutes early to an appointment. I used to get to school at 7am every morning; probably stupid seeing as how much I despise institutional learning facilities, but that has very little to do with this story. One time, this Rambo-level punctuality lead me to meet one of the most interesting human beings I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. It’s also probably good to mention here that I hate Apple computers. This point seems superfluous, but I promise it’s important to note.

My entire video editing life up to my mid twenties was done on PC with Premiere Pro, until I was offered a decent job, but it had to be done in Final Cut Pro, so I had to bite that bullet and join the dark side of the force. If I had the time, I just would have taught myself, however the timeline for the job was tight,  andso I enrolled in a six-class crash course in FCP. On the last of the six weeks, I arrived a solid 35 minutes early, even had time to stop and get some Lord Of The Fries. Was quite pleased with that effort really. Waiting as well was another student, who I had only seen in the first class, and none of the subsequent ones. He politely introduced himself and we began to talk. As it turns out this unassuming well-spoken man named David was a cranio-facial plastic surgeon, who in his spare time volunteered for a charity called Operation Smile. A charity that flies doctors to countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Vietnam to operate on people born with cleft palates. He made a short video just on his camera about a girl named Talita that had gone viral (that video can be found here, and had since gone back with a proper film crew for her follow up and second operation. The class had made him realise he didn’t have the time to do the video it’s proper justice and asked if I would be interested in helping him out. The end result of months of editing is this video that I am truly proud of (and can be seen here

During this process, David told me about another piece of footage was captured and he wanted to do something with it. The Director of Photography had attached a DSLR to an operating light above the surgery table and filmed a single cleft lip operation. It was a beautiful, and yet confronting ninety minutes worth of footage to watch, and yet there was something so powerful there, something that we both felt needed to be shown. There was months of back and forward, fine tuning, and getting to a place where we could watch it time and time again, and still be haunted by what we had created. The final result was a 4 minute time-lapse of the surgery taking place, we contacted a young Australian artist called Emma Louise to ask if we could use her song Jungle, it is a haunting and captivating song, really setting a beautiful tone for the video.

Around the same time Tropfest was on in Melbourne. I sat at home watching it, not so silently judging the entrants, and as always, at the end of the show they announced the item or theme that must be present in next year’s Tropfest entries, this time they announced “change”. I called David straight away, it was perfect, that was the theme of our time-lapse, it felt like it was meant to be. So we entered, and somehow we got shortlisted. I knew our video would be a contentious one, I told David that the judges at Tropfest would have never seen anything like this, and it was either going to be the whole reason they said yes, or the whole reason they said no. Unfortunately didn’t make the final 16 videos, but because we were shortlisted, Tropfest held the rights for the short for the next 12 months.  Twelve months passed and we were tossing up about what the next move should be. Around the same time, David had the fortune to meet the manager for a little band called Sigur Ros, and while talking about the time-lapse and how soon we would be able to release it to the world, the manager suggested using a Sigur Ros song for the video. We chose the song Se Lest, and it was just perfect. Sigur Ros loved the video and signed off, and here we are, close to three years after beginning this journey together, it almost seems surreal that it has finally come to an end and we can share this with the world.  I can’t express the feeling of elation knowing that it’s out there in the world… And I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do.