19 Dec

Fast, furious – and female

first_imgFleur van Eeden and Ruan Burger falling five stories down a ventilation shaft in The Flood. Van Eeden on the set of Doomsday. Not much fun: Van Eeden being burned at the stake as a witch in The Devil’s Whore. (Images courtesy Fleur van Eeden) Taking on someone a lot bigger on the set of Doomsday. (Image: Greg King)Jennifer SternFighting on top of a moving train, battling huge futuristic armoured warriors, falling off buildings and getting burned at the stake – it’s all in a day’s work for South African stuntwoman Fleur van Eeden.When she left school in 2002, Van Eeden did the sensible thing and studied public relations. But she was far more interested in her part-time job as a river guide, taking people on scenic adventures on the Breede and Orange Rivers.Van Eeden grew up in the small country town of Swellendam, some 230 kilometres from Cape Town. There she was always outdoors and always active – mountain biking, paddling, horse riding or running. She was never good at sitting still. So there was no looking back when a fellow river guide introduced her to his brother, Franz Spilhaus – one of the partners in Pyranha Stunts.She sent him a CV and photos and, as luck would have it, she looked exactly like one of the actresses on The Triangle, a US miniseries being filmed in Cape Town. She was asked to double for her on a relatively simple stunt – being a passenger on an inflatable boat, but with some spectacular water sequences. That was a breeze so, on the same movie, she was asked if she’d like to do plane crash scene. Ever game, she said yes.“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “We were in this plane – a fake plane – and they tied a cable round me, and then there was someone on the outside attached to the same cable. He jumped, and I was pulled up to the top of the plane.”Her stillborn career in public relations forgotten, Van Eeden divided her time between river guiding and stunts, but the stunts soon took over.Six movies in a yearCape Town is the perfect place for a budding stuntwoman to be. The city has become South Africa’s version of Hollywood, with its varied and beautiful locations, favourable exchange rate and strong government support making it a favourite among international filmmakers.In the five years from 2003 to 2007 over 50 major films and TV series were shot in Cape Town, including the 2006 hit Blood Diamond and 2007’s Rendition and 10 000 BC. In 2009 the city will be the location of a major film starring Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.“After The Triangle, I didn’t hear from Pyranha for quite a while,” says Van Eeden. “Then, suddenly, I did a commercial, and then did six movies in one year.”These were Primeval, The Flood, Rainbow Warriors, The Bird Can’t Fly, Bible Code (a German movie) and Drona (a Bollywood movie).By international standards, Van Eeden considers herself to have broken in to the field.“I had no training, so I was really lucky,” she says. “For example, in the UK, you can’t even get onto the books unless you have lots of qualifications.“So, once I started, I started to train. Because I’m a girl, I get lots of chances and training. Before a movie, say I look like the actress, they’ll take me for two months and train me.“Like Doomsday. I’m not a fighter, so they trained me to fight. “As a stunt double her job is to make the actress look good, but she doesn’t necessarily look that good while doing it.“Sometimes you look great, and other times you look awful. In Doomsday, they cut my hair short with these two long bits in the front, and dyed it black. So I walked around for five months with this weird hairstyle.“In Droma, the main actress was this beautiful Indian woman, so I wore this long black wig and they painted my face dark. I was in make-up every day for three weeks and, after a while, it didn’t come off. I looked like a raccoon.”Feel the fear, and do it anywayDroma also gave Van Eeden her scariest stunts so far.“We had to do fights on top of a train while it was moving.  They built these two towers on either side of the train, with cables running from one end to the other, and we were tied to the cables. There were about 12 of us fighting. I was the only woman.“The last day they wanted three stunt guys to fall off the train. A lot of the stuntmen had got hurt in the fighting, so they asked me if I wanted to do it.“I practiced it with the train static. I was really worried, not sure how my body would react when I did it at 45 kilometres and hour. That doesn’t sound fast, but it is. And then, when I jumped, I did it exactly as I had trained. It was very rewarding.”She had a good time working on Droma.“Working with Indian productions is the most fun things. The director will do your makeup if he has to. Everyone does everything. They’re not precious.”Another challenging stunt was the full body burn she did for The Devil’s Whore. In this British TV series she doubled for Andrea Riseborough, who played the unfortunate Angelica Fanshawe, who comes to a rather fiery end.The series is set in the 17th century, during the English Civil War. When the producers were criticised for choosing to shoot in South Africa, they countered that they had been unable to find suitably “old English” locations in England.Being burned at the stake is no mean feat, Van Eeden says.“It’s the one stunt you have to do. But if something went wrong, it would be major.”As it turned out, the preparation was worse than the burning.“They painted me,” she says. “They cover your whole body with gel – straight from a freezer – and then two layers of special clothing.“It’s a layer of water gel, then a layer of gel-impregnated clothing, then more gel, then an overall. And then your wardrobe on top of that.  With the special gel, you get so cold. And then suddenly this heat. They have to have a paramedic standing by in case you get hypothermia.“And then the actual burn, they explain you should preferably not breathe – it’s only 10 seconds. But if you have to, you must just take a tiny breath. If you gasp in air, you can burn your lungs.“First you practice it and then, on the day we did it five times. So I burned five times.“You know what’s weird – you really get into the whole thing. There I was tied to the stake. (I wasn’t really tied, of course.)  And everyone was shouting, ‘Burn the witch, burn the witch!’”Fantasy worldSometimes she will just get called on to do a single stunt for a movie but, often, as a stunt double, she’ll be involved in the same movie for months.One of these was Doomsday, a 2008 British science fiction film starring Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell.“With Doomsday, we did two months of training and then five months of filming,” she says. “We finished that up in Scotland, which was amazing.”“You start getting involved in the character. You watch the actress, see how she moves, how she sits, and you try to be her.“You spend months and months living in this fantasy world. You don’t even know what’s going on in the real world.“And then, it’s a bit depressing when it all ends.”Reality checkThere is always the chance that something can go wrong, and Van Eeden has had a few minor mishaps.“I’ve got a scar on my stomach from flying glass,” she says.“And my neck got a bit scorched when I did the full body burn, but that’s not a big deal.“And in Primeval – this guy was holding me by the throat and burning my arm with a cigar. I had a flesh-coloured plaster on, but it slipped and he was actually burning me. But I couldn’t ruin the shot,” she says, showing a small scar on her arm. And she hurt her knee when a door fell on her in an explosion.“But it’s not usually serious – a couple of stitches. A lot of people break collar bones.“On Doomsday, one of the actors broke a stuntman’s nose. That’s the worse, when you have to fight against the actors, because they’re not trained.A recent injury – from wakeboarding this time, not stunt work – has made Van Eeden slow down a bit. Unable to keep still, she started a small DVD-based TV show called SWDTV – Swellendam TV.“It’s a monthly DVD that goes out to the community – mostly tourist stuff. Especially after my injury, I thought – what if I hurt myself again?”So she’s making sure she can still work even with an injury.“I’m getting more into editing.  And, a week ago, I did a winch job where I operated the winch, because of my foot. They’ve been very nice about it.“When I don’t do stunts I rig sometimes. I have an abseil supervisor’s ticket. It’s very technical.”Van Eeden’s back at work, doing a scuba diving scene, but she’s careful not to take on anything that may worsen her ankle injury. She seems pretty sure where she wants to go in the foreseeable future. Even though she is making sure she has something to fall back on, she can’t imagine not doing stunts. And she has no intention of heading for the bright lights. “People ask me why I don’t go overseas. But there’s so much work here. Here, I’m a big fish in a small pond. In Scotland we worked with 12 UK stunt people, and they do one movie in a year.“Here we do a lot more – and a lot of commercials. Maybe I’d go for a while, for experience, but I want to work in South Africa.“And carry on living in Swellendam. If I have two days off I go home. I’ve got two horses and I mountain bike. I love it there.”So it looks like the burgeoning South African film industry is going to have this restless young stuntwoman to call on for quite a while.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesRough Aunties to the rescue 2010 opportunities for SA film Terry Pheto is worth it Global acclaim for SA film South Africa: a top film location Rebate boost for SA film More Oscar glory for SA Boost for SA film studio Useful linksFleur van EedenPyranha Stunts Cape Town Film Studios Cape Film Commissionlast_img read more

17 Dec

Timetric Makes Web Data Useful with Time Series Analysis

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… jolie odell Tags:#start#startups A winner at this year’s mini-Seedcamp in London, Timetric is an app from Inkling Software, a three-principal shop composed of chemistry and physics PhDs.The premise is fairly simple: Timetric was created to store, share, and analyze data over time. For predicting trends, proving assertions, and recommending actions, time series analysis is a highly valuable tool. It’s Facebook’s Lexicon all grown up and actually useful, pulling data from all over the web and querying this huge database to serve significant results.Calling to mind truly hot topics such as Facebook’s rumored sentiment analysis engine, the parsing of real-time data, and the need for data over facts in modern journalism, Timetric addresses one facet of a growing gap between what information is now available online and how much we actually know about what that information means.Here, one of the principals of Inkling, Andrew Walkingshaw, talks about how time series analysis works. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts In our recent post on data in journalism, we wrote: “The voracious appetite for data… has been apparent for months. It is less about turning good ideas into stories and more about seeing how data informs our understanding of events happening right now. Each new initiative is another piece of low-hanging fruit picked.”Timetric is one of those low-hanging fruits, gathered with a minimal amount of patience over a period of time and put to great use by any number of entities. With regard to journalism, the Guardian’s Data Blog uses Timetric to report on anything from long-term inflation trends to the relative purity of cocaine seized by police.We ourselves were able to pull in data from a time series library to create charts on the incidence of men with full beards over a number of years:Once uploaded, data is downloadable and embeddable by users in a number of formats. Users can also designate tags and licenses, and the team has developed a REST-based API for other Timetric-based apps.Quick visualization and analysis of time-dependent data has never been simpler. We hope that the functions and forms become even richer as Timetric grows.last_img read more

3 Dec

Ringing in change, government style

first_imgAll government employees in Samba district of Jammu & Kashmir have been directed to download the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” ringtone on their Jio mobile numbers. The order came from the office of Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda on February 23, who demanded that a compliance report be filed within 24 hours.The government is in talks with Airtel and Vodafone for similar ringtones but the memo mentions only one service provider. According to Ms. Nanda, the decision was taken make sure the campaign message is widespread, and to “put a thrust on having a girl child. In local language“A ringtone was prepared when the campaign was launched. We made a folk singer to sing it in Dogri, a local language. The ringtone was already available on the BSNL members. We got in touch with the Jio company too for the ringtone, which they agreed to,” Ms. Nanda told The Hindu. She had issued fresh directions to all the departments, including school staff, using the Jio numbers to download the ringtone, also used by the Deputy Commissioner herself. “I will ensure 100% compliance,” she said.Responding to the directive, Srinagar-based gynecologist and women rights activist Samina Maqbool said, “Making ringtones mandatory have hardly resulted in change of mindset when it comes to gender justice.”Addressing root causes“The male-female ratio is alarming but at the same time it points at two areas where the government’s intervention is required now. One, high mortality rate among women in Jammu and Kashmir due to poor access to the healthcare and healthy food intake. Two, growing incidences of female foeticide and poor mechanism to stop sex determination in advance,” Dr Maqbool said.While downloading ringtones may help in sensitisation to some extent, “The real solution lies by working on the causes leading to the skewed male-female ratio,” Dr Maqbool said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” (Save girl child-Educate girl child) campaign in January 2015 to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in India. As per the 2011 census, the adult sex ratio in India is 940 females for every 1000 males. The child sex ratio (of children between the ages 0 and 6 years) is far worse at 914 females for every 1000 males. Figures for Jammu and Kashmir are well below the national average with only 883 females for every 1000 males.last_img read more

27 Nov

Raptors draw first blood, thump Warriors in 1st NBA finals appearance

first_imgCayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Fans began arriving at Jurassic Park outside the arena in the morning. There were lengthy lines at the arena entrances hours before the game, with some of the few fans who weren’t wearing Raptors red sticking to their original purple uniform with the dinosaur logo.Rapper and Raptors global ambassador Drake sat in his courtside seat wearing a Curry No. 30 jersey. That’s Dell Curry, Stephen’s father who finished his career with the Raptors.”We just got to continue to be ourselves…”After scoring a #NBAPlayoffs career-high 32 PTS, @pskills43 talks over the @Raptors Game 1 win! #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/sP19BlHS8d— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2019The Raptors introduced Dell Curry and some of their other former players after the first quarter, a group that included perennial All-Stars such as Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh.But it wasn’t until they went out and got Leonard in a trade with San Antonio that Toronto was finally good enough to get to the NBA Finals.He wasn’t the dominant force he was in the first three rounds, when he averaged 31.2 points. But he had eight rebounds and five assists in his first NBA Finals game since winning MVP of the 2014 championship with the Spurs.🔥 @pskills43 (32 PTS, 14-17 FGM) makes 11 CONSECUTIVE field goals, lifting the @Raptors over GSW in Game 1 of the #NBAFinals presented by @YouTubeTV! #WeTheNorth Game 2: Sunday (6/2), 8:00pm/et, ABC & TSN pic.twitter.com/R3TvX8C2mg— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2019DeMarcus Cousins made it back from a torn left quadriceps to come off the bench in his first NBA Finals game, but the Warriors remained without Kevin Durant, the MVP of the last two NBA Finals. He traveled to Toronto but it’s unclear if he’ll play before the series returns to the Bay Area, with Kerr saying he would have to go through a practice first.The Warriors had won every game since he got hurt in the second round but sure missed him against the Raptors, who are on a roll after falling behind 2-0 to Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference finals.TIP-INSWarriors: Cousins finished with three points in eight minutes. … Draymond Green had his fifth triple-double of the postseason with 10 points, 10 rebounds and assists, but shot just 2 for 9. … Golden State had a 12-game winning streak in Game 1s snapped. … Curry’s four 3-pointers gave him a record 102 in the NBA Finals and he was also 14 for 14 from the free throw line.Raptors: Danny Green went 3 for 7 from 2-point range after he was just 4 for 23 in the conference finals. … The Raptors improved to just 4-15 in Game 1s.UP NEXTGame 2 is Sunday night. “I think they were into it and that’s the way it should be, man,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “That’s what home court is, and our fans deserve a bunch of credit for being a big part of that.”Stephen Curry scored 34 points and Klay Thompson had 21 for the Warriors, who had won all four Game 1s in the last four years. All those had come at home, but this time Golden State doesn’t have home-court — or home country — advantage.Game 2 is Sunday night in Toronto, which is hosting an NBA Finals game for the first time after the Raptors entered the league as an expansion team in 1995.When the Spice hits ya hard 🌶️ pic.twitter.com/c7ZOrsQpXm— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 31, 2019ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP MOST READ LATEST STORIES PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?01:08Huge Toronto crowd celebrates Raptors’ historic win02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) blocks a shot by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — Pascal Siakam scored a playoff career-high 32 points and the Toronto Raptors won the first NBA Finals game played outside the U.S., beating the Golden State Warriors 118-109 on Thursday night.The Raptors hardly looked like newcomers to the NBA’s biggest stage, controlling the action most of the way against a Golden State team beginning its fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.ADVERTISEMENT New era for James-Wade in high school link-up of eldest sons The Raptors were perhaps a little jittery at the start, with Kyle Lowry firing a pass well out of bounds on their first possession.But they quickly settled in afterward, building a 10-point lead by halftime.Siakam then went 6 for 6 in the third quarter to keep Golden State from gaining much ground, and the Raptors kept their lead around double digits for much of the final quarter, countering every attempt the Warriors made to catch up.“I thought we made a good effort in the second half, got back in the game. Our guys did some good things, but made too many mistakes to actually go ahead and win the game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said..@pskills43 heard you, Canada. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/VG7ludtnM0— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 31, 2019All four of the Warriors’ previous finals were against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they struggled to figure out a new opponent. Toronto shot 50.6 percent from the field and the Warriors never found an answer for Siakam, the finalist for Most Improved Player who has a nice start for an NBA Finals MVP resume.The player nicknamed Spicy P was red hot, shooting 14 for 17 from the field — and he tipped in his own shot on the last of those misses with 54 seconds to play. Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and Marc Gasol had 20 for the Raptors, fueled by a crowd that couldn’t wait for a party 24 years in the making.Ball game. Raps win! pic.twitter.com/TYECYB87lhFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 31, 2019 View commentslast_img read more