“THE LINGUISTS” directors, Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
If the three directors at Ironbound Films had stumbled upon a genie’s lamp or magic wand or some other wish-giving mechanism during the filming of The Linguists, and somehow that mechanism would only grant 10 percent more of something we currently possessed, then that something would unanimously and unequivocally be 10 percent more toilet paper.
When we set out with the stars of our film — linguists David Harrison and Gregory Anderson — to India to document the endangered language Sora, we spent our first week in Bhubaneswar, a fairly developed city on the east coast of India. We stayed at the Trident Hilton, a veritable paradise where the flower petals floating in the lobby fountain were refreshed twice daily. However speakers of Sora lived in more remote tribal villages in India’s Orissa State. Potable water and flushable toilets were luxuries to which we had to say our good-byes.
Even though we were going to be entrenched with the linguists for some time, there was no guarantee how we’d make it from one place to another, so we had to pack light. We had two cameras, sticks and audio gear, not to mention backpacks filled with travel meds. We each brought only as much toilet paper as we needed on an average daily basis.
None of us counted on the phenomenon known as Delhi belly. Not to mention the ply of toilet paper through most of the Indian subcontinent was no match for the American brands to which we were accustomed.
As such our reserves were quickly depleted. A rationing game ensued that in some cases pitted filmmaker against linguist.
With 10 percent more toilet paper, we might have been able to find more speakers of Sora, have a more successful scientific expedition, and create an even more entertaining film. Alas, we did the best with what we had.
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 18, noon — Egyptian Theatre, Park City]