Jim Drake’s Entertainment Blog: Show me the way? Director talks about movie stars and the inspiration of ‘Walking the Camino’

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that the topic of a major spiritual pilgrimage has made an appearance in my blog for the second time in as many weeks. Last week, classical guitarist Peter Fletcher played a piece called “Diario dun Camino,” based on composer Jeremy Gill’s personal journey along the 500-mile trail, and this week, filmmaker Lydia Smith will be at the Mt. Hood Film Festival with her award-winning documentary “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago.”

Not too long ago, I watched a movie called “The Way,” which is about, you guessed it, the exact thing that everyone’s been talking about lately, the Camino. It’s a great film. And it was even more fun to learn that Smith was responsible for providing the actors in “The Way,” including Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, with footage that trained themselves and others on what the Camino was really about.

My only hope now is that Lydia gets to hear Peter’s music sometime, and somehow, incorporates his version of “Diario” into the background music of her film.

That would be great, and it might finally make me stop humming Peter Frampton’s 70s hit song, “Show Me the Way.”

Interview with Lydia Smith

The first thing I have to ask is, are you familiar with the movie “The Way”?

Oh yes, we did a 20-minute trailer of our film, right after we came back from filming, to try and raise money to do this, and I sent it to Martin (Sheen) and Emilio (Estevez), and they used our trailer to train the actors for that movie, because neither of them or the actors had ever walked the Camino.

So they used our trailer to help people understand what the pilgrimage is really about. Martin really liked our film, which was really sweet.

I understand this is the 13th film festival for your movie.

It is, every time we’ve either won an award or sold out or both. We were at “Heartland” which is a really important festival in Indianapolis for positive, uplifting themed type films — about 900 people saw it.

There’s been a huge surge in the interest in the Camino, so we worked out a deal with the theater where we were supported for over six weeks of showings. In Portland we sold out 7 days in a row at the Hollywood Theater, now we’re going into our 9th week there. It’s pretty exciting. We’ve had people fly in from other states, or driving for five hours to go to our screenings.

One thing people don’t know is film festivals don’t pay filmmakers to show their films, so we spend a lot of time and money for outreach programs. Film festivals sometimes lead to theaters wanting to run our movie, which helps us recover some costs.

What is the name of your film company?

It’s a non-profit called Future Educational Films, which was incorporated in the early ‘80s. I studied film at Berkley, and was inspired by a film I saw on child abuse, “Breaking Silence, ” by Theresa Tollini-Coleman, who became my first boss. I was so impressed with how the message was so transforming. She showed me the incredible positive difference you can make in the world with film. Theresa also helped on “Camino.”

You filmed over 300 hours for this project and edited it to 84 minutes. What do you want people to take away from this film?

The Camino is an amazing thing because I believe people literally get called to go do the pilgrimage. They say, “I have to do this,” and “I need to know everything about it.” When I hiked it, that was my experience, that’s what happened to me personally. The moment you hear about it, you know that is what you’re supposed to do. That was the common sentiment of all the people we followed in our film.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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