Enlightenment Productions | There's Snow Business Like Show Business…
Enlightenment Productions is an award-winning film and TV production company based in London and founded in partnership between producer Hanan Kattan and writer and director Shamim Sarif.
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There's Snow Business Like Show Business…

There's Snow Business Like Show Business…

I’ve been in the snow, becoming quite unhinged since my last blog. Munich and the DLD Conference was a source of great satisfaction and not just from the sausages and beer.

I was awestruck by an astronomer from Harvard who gave a talk on how to identify life on other planets. I was somewhat shy to actually meet this genius man at that evening’s party, but Hanan marched up to him to shake hands.

‘You made that movie, didn’t you?’ the astronomer demanded, excited.

I looked around, bemused. Clearly, he had mistaken me for Steven Spielberg – not a common mistake, to be sure, even since I’ve gotten old enough for facial hair and glasses. For what movies would this man possibly be interested in, except for ‘ET’ ?

I Can’t Think Straight!’ he declared. ‘I loved that film.’

Reader, he wasn’t even a lesbian astronomer. My ecstasy was complete. We agreed to swap books and signatures when he next came to London.

In the meantime, I headed to Switzerland a day later with my son Ethan and his school ski team.  This little sojourn involved sharing a very small room with a 13 year old whose fingertips are magnetically compelled to download dodgy apps to my beloved Macbook Pro and iPad, and whose knowledge of English is somewhat limited by his lack of understanding of the word ‘No’. I decided that a zen-like, relaxed attitude was the best way to enjoy our quality time together.

As if sensing my slackening attitude, Hanan Skyped me at once.

‘Is Ethan eating vegetables?’ she asked.

I cast my mind back to the mountain of french fries I had noticed on his plate at dinner.

‘Er…yes,’ I said.

‘And are you doing mantras?’ she demanded.

If you counted Ethan saying ‘There’s no way I’m doing mantras’ ten times in a row, then yes, I guessed we were.

I headed down for a meeting with the other parents, where the leader of our group waved a video camera and asked if anyone had any experience whatsoever with making films.

I decided to keep quiet, but a couple of the parents who had attended our charity screening of The World Unseen at the school for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund looked at me narrowly.

‘I’ve made a few films,’ I offered weakly.

‘Great!’ the other mother cried. ‘Family videos?’

‘Full length features,’ I muttered.

Well that was that.  I was put on movie duty and reported back to Hanan on Skype. She called me immediately.

‘You have to get outside,’ she said.

‘It’s like, minus 10 degrees, and I’ve been on a mountainside taking shots of 157 distant dots skiing through fog and snow down a mountain and now I have to figure out which ones are our kids,’ I protested.

‘You need establishing shots of the hotel,’ my producer continued, ignoring my whining. ‘Pictures of them putting on boots, helmets and skis. Behind the scenes interviews. The struggle. The drama!’

Well I captured the struggle pretty well  as we all scrambled for seats on Easyjet. The drama I’d already gotten when my child was told off for toasting his fondue bread in the candle flame at dinner.

Back home, I sat down to my first full day in London in a while, ready to tackle my To Do list, when Hanan looked up from her laptop.

‘Can I ask you a favour?’ she said.

The last time she asked that, I ended up pregnant, but I was confident this would be something quick and easy.

‘Can you make me a hot chocolate?’

I looked at my watch. Having another child would possibly be quicker and definitely less hassle. For since we had the hot chocolate to end all others at Berthillon in Paris, a spoon of powder mixed in some milk is no longer acceptable at Chateau Sarif-Kattan.

I subtly tried to sidestep some of the extras.

‘You don’t want whipped cream on top, do you?’

‘Yes please. If it’s not too much trouble.’

I started whipping. With the other hand, I searched for chocolate. It had to be real chocolate and the right chocolate. I found two bars, brought from Paris, one milk, one dark. I offered them for inspection.

‘Perhaps a bit of both?’ Hanan asked politely.

Bien sur. I broke off a little of each and melted them gently in a pan, whisking in a little mik to loosen the pure, thick mixture.

Next, more milk heated to exactly the right temperature and then frothed and gently poured over the chocolate. Then the whipped cream spooned on top.

Exhausted, we sat back to enjoy the results, and pondered a good day. Our younger boy, Luca, had got accepted to Kings College (where Ethan is) and had made it past a three hour examination, a two hour activity morning and a full on interview. After that, I had half expected him to get an offer of a partnership at Goldman Sachs.

‘You know what this means?’ Hanan asked. ‘You can take both of them on the school ski trip next year.’

I swapped my hot chocolate for something stronger…

In Paris, Ethan, Shamim and Luca take lessons to perfect Hanan's hot chocolate requirements...

In Paris, Ethan, Shamim and Luca take lessons to perfect Hanan's hot chocolate requirements...

Shamim Sarif
shamim@enlightenment-productions.com
22 Comments
  • Maha
    Posted at 07:38h, 06 February

    Hi Shamim,

    I just watched both The World Unseen and I Can't think Straight 10 days back. Only after seeing ICTS I got the courage to come out to my family finally. You know what…it is too late. I'm marriged for 5 years and have a kid. Until last couple of years I was not able to figure out 'Who I am'…as I didn't had much awareness of what it is. I knew I'm different and I'm not normal like other girls and not able to run my married life smooth.

    Finally I told my hubby. He is not trying to accept. I'm not able to prove myself. Situations are really bad. Anyways thanks to you. I'm happy and relaxed atleast there are people like me around the world. You can feel like me…thanks a lot.

    I'm from India. Looking forward for your guidance. Thanks!

    • Kritika
      Posted at 21:53h, 06 February

      It happens…people are diff from each other….

      • Maha
        Posted at 09:32h, 08 February

        Oh definitely yes. Thanks!

        • Madhubala_chawla
          Posted at 00:59h, 09 February

          hi maha….atleat u have the courage to tell ur parents …..thanks for inspiring me…….

          • Maha
            Posted at 07:22h, 10 February

            guilt feeling killed me. So thought of telling it. But Shamim's ICTS was the inspiration for me too to come out

          • Madhubala_chawla
            Posted at 11:26h, 11 February

            yeah….movie is an inspiration… but the biggest inspirations are shamim n hannan…theirselfs….n i think now u also ….for me….i m also afraid to tell my parents ……n even though i love some one n she also loves me ….i dnt knw what should i do…..?

    • Shamim Sarif
      Posted at 01:11h, 09 February

      Hi Maha
      Just saw this. I am sorry you are in a tough situation, to say the least, but I have to believe it is better for you to be aware and open about it. The more that happens, the more another generation won't have to get married when they don't want to. Just focus on your child and doing the best you can for her and your family, while keeping integrity I guess. Thank you for sharing this. Wishing you everything of the best.

      • Maha
        Posted at 07:19h, 10 February

        Thanks Shamim for your time. There are discussions going around of separation. All I worry about is my son Krishiv. He is 4 yrs old. I left the decision to my husband. I can stand on my own legs being a working woman. Planning to move out of india if everything ends. I do not bother being known to relatives/society as I do not have parents and siblings either. My hope for life is my son. I can take care of him well. These many days I ran my life with guilt. Now i'm out of its hand. Thanks!

    • Yashika
      Posted at 12:02h, 11 February

      Dear Maha,
      maybe this reply is too late…
      but really respect your courage in realising yourself and coming out…
      wish i really could be as courageous as you but the only difference is that im not married yet….thinking that ill tel my parents when time comes…
      thnx so much for sharing this…on the blog…
      it s n inspiration for many 🙂
      P.S. im from india too…

  • madhubala
    Posted at 12:37h, 05 February

    love u shamim….n hannan too…….god bless u with more cheer  n hapiness……..thank you ……u r my inspiration….

  • Cjforareason
    Posted at 10:33h, 05 February

    ‘Can I ask you a favour?’ she said.
    The last time she asked that……….'
    Oh boy! I adore that sense of humour:) Keep it up Shamim!

  • Yashika
    Posted at 03:44h, 05 February

    your sarcasm  is wonderful really appreciate it…
    and the one line….CAN I ASK A FAVOR…!!!brilliantly written and ofcourse the following lines too…
    respect you both,

  • Shamim Sarif
    Posted at 15:42h, 04 February

    Wonder Woman – I wish! I just sort of bumble along really, but it's all true, and usually toned down! Thanks for the support and kind words, and pictures of bunny astronomers…

  • Kritika
    Posted at 11:47h, 04 February

    same Indian fan..or should i say..big big big big big fan or urs…u are a super star…luv ur blogs…keep writing and keep rocking the world..with ur writing and ur movies…

  • Lemonwoodcourt
    Posted at 09:52h, 04 February

    Beneath the stars, a Harvard Astronomer (with Chip & Geedip) watches “I Can't Think Straight” for the umpteenth time.  Hot chocolate to follow…

  • Joyeuse Parade A La Neige | Le blog français de Shamim Sarif
    Posted at 09:04h, 04 February

    […] Article original : There’s No Snow Business Like Show Business […]

  • ShamimSarifOfficialFrenchBlog
    Posted at 08:09h, 04 February

    VF :  http://shamimsariffrance.wordp… I think the Swiss lack imagination, cuisine is something living: you may need to try out new things for Fondue, even candle-toasted bread. 😉

  • Roma
    Posted at 07:18h, 04 February

    congrats Luca for your new school……as always wonderful write up…..thanks Shamim 
    :-))

  • Bondt2
    Posted at 03:40h, 04 February

    as usual very humorous:-):-):-):-):-)

  • Liat Aaronson
    Posted at 02:22h, 04 February

    Yummy..can I have a hot chocolate too!

  • Tarasura
    Posted at 00:05h, 04 February

    For me, you are  not Super Woman, but Wonder Woman.

  • Maureen
    Posted at 21:41h, 03 February

    Shamim–I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your stories, especially of late. Yay!