Amsterdam Diary

8 10 2008

ha ha ha! …

well, here’s the edited diary I have when I went to Amsterdam…

Thank goodness it was edited…

the actual text really looked and sounded crap…

Well, folks here it is …

(hope we finish the report! … 😉 )

from the KNN WEBSITE:

Kirk’s Amsterdam Diary

An account of Kirk Anthony Balmonte’s trip to Amsterdam to attend the Stranger Festival last July 3-5, 2008.

July 2, 2008

I’m already here in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and guess what, even at 10 in the evening, it’s still looks like the sun’s not yet ready to call it a day! The Dutch must really have LONG days, literally.

The flight from Manila to Amsterdam took more than 13 hours, and my butt really hurts. But the ride was exciting, and for someone who rode a plane for the first time it was also nerve-racking. When I finally arrived at the Schiphol Airport, I kind of got lost. Fortunately, a young man from the Stranger Festival staff saw me and led me to a nice group of Swedish teens.

July 3, 2008

My roommates were two Romanians who are also teenagers, a Lebanese and a Belgian adult. Most of the time, I hanged out with the Egyptian, whose name by the way is Karim. We’re the only guys who are with UNICEF who did the OneMinutes workshop in our home countries.

After having a big Dutch breakfast, we headed out to explore the festival area and a bit of Amsterdam. Karim and I walked along the city’s main thoroughfares. Amsterdam is a beautiful city for many reasons. For one, it’s clean. There isn’t really much pollution because they mostly use bicycles instead of cars. Their public transportation are trams and buses, adding to a clean environment. Second, is because of the preservation of its traditional buildings. In almost every corner, you will see buildings in their natural yet stunning appeal, reflecting beauty that comes with old age. We also saw coffee shops selling marijuana, and prostitution shops were prominent in a section of Amsterdam.\

At dinner time we headed out to Westergasfabriek, where the Strangers Festival’s main events took place. The opening program was held in an arena with video projections all around. Dutch artist “Ego-man”, who can edit music and videos with just the use of his joints and techno-suit, showed some of this work that added to the night’s flair of teenage-techno-party. After the program, we all headed back to our hotels, excited for what the following days still had to offer.

July 4, 2008

Fun-filled activities, here we come!

After our usual morning routines, Karim and I headed to Westergasfabriek via 2 trams, which took one hour from our hotel. We visited the Gashouder building, where the Strangers Exhibition was. This is an area where all the videos nominated and cited were shown for the public to watch. Then all of a sudden, our video “Breath of Freedom” which was nominated in the Inside-out category, was being played as the background of a Wii game.

For dinner, we travelled to Rotterdam, a city beside Amsterdam, to dine in a Japanese restaurant. This is immediately followed by a party featuring famous Dutch rappers.

July 5, 2008

The final day of the Strangers Festival was loaded with workshops. Prior to flying to The Netherlands, UNICEF enlisted me to two of the numerous workshops in the festival. One was “Reality Check” – a workshop where a panel of video professionals view and critique films, and another was “Making the Video, Making the Money” – a workshop focusing on how creative videos earn revenue.

The first workshop was, in a way, terrifying. It’s not always easy to be in front of a lot of people with comments incessantly being thrown at you. It made me feel like a reality show contestant. But thank God, aside from some minor flaws they noticed, they were impressed by the video. A judge from the Netherlands’ MTV awards seven said that “Breath of Freedom” was also short listed in the top 10 of the MTV awards.

In the afternoon, I hurried to “Making the Video, Making the Money” workshop spearheaded by John Nota of Zideo.com. Popular videos uploaded online or Viral Videos were shown, together with analysis of how these videos became so famous. He even discussed marketing your own personal videos as well as the revenue-generating potential of these videos.

Evening came, and as we settled in our seats, loud music filled the air. I was very uneasy, partly due to whether “Breath of Freedom” will or not. The short movie, which Guill (fellow Baguio reporter and friend) and I co-created, was nominate in the Inside-Out Category, which is about the fine line between being included or excluded. It’s about stereotypes and prejudices and ways to overcome these. After names of the winners were announced from the other categories and winners paraded the stage one-by-one, I was so cold and petrified that the camera I was holding was taking really shaky shots. And before I knew it, they were already flashing the nominees for the Inside-Out category.

Round of applause… Judges explaining why the winner won … Hosts declaring “And he winner is” … Zarina Pashtova with her movie “Unitled”!

Awww … well congratulations Zarina! After some new acquaintances and farewells, the night comes to an end.

There are still a lot of things I needed to do, like packing my bags for it will be a long trip for me tomorrow afternoon. But for now, the night is still young and all we have to do is have fun and enjoy our youth.

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