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Thoughts from author: Emma Hines

a special film makers' workshop

Saturday 19th Feb, 2011.

For many, this will go down as the day when it rained a lot, or as the weekend where they had a particularly tasty croissant for breakfast.

But for me, Sat 19th Feb will be marked as my favourite day at work. Ever.

A few weeks ago, we blogged a post inviting people to come along to a special film makers' workshop here at Fruit Towers. 60 soaked, but surprisingly chirpy, budding film makers came through the doors of the Towers on Sat for a very special workshop with Ben Wheatley - film director, funny man, and chap who made our advert.

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With beanbags and biscuits, and a Wizard of Oz style presentation from up on the balcony, Ben shared some of his top tips for film making, ranging from how to use storyboards effectively to the importance of time management in directing.

We'll let you into a secret...the number 1 rule of film directing?

Never, ever sit down.

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In the afternoon, our budding film makers were set loose to create their own 30 second mini movie superhero movie, armed with Ben's tips and a no expenses spared* film makers' kit.

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*this may not be strictly true

They looked up for the challenge, so we threw in additional angle of artistic opportunity/anguish and gave them each a genre or theme for their mini movie, ranging from slasher horror to circus chic.

They spent a bit of time brainstorming...

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...and then the magic started to really happen as the gaffa tape came out, the fishwire was attached, and a selection of Fruit Towers' finest random props were put to excellent use.

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The result? 9 truely excellent films watched with lashings of popcorn that had us in stitches.

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Check out some of the results, and find out how you can get involved in our mini movies competition here.

Thanks so much to those of you who came down for the day. We'll be smiling about it for a while to come.

Lovely lemurs

Whilst 2011 may officially be the year of the rabbit, here at Fruit Towers it would seem that it's all about the lemurs.

Not content with giving them a starring role on our new OJ packaging, we're also really excited because the innocent foundation is working with Feedback Madagascar to fund a yam growing project.

10 02 people and yams vines FM

'Where's the link?' I hear you cry.

Turns out that the Madagascan rainforests where these yams grow are also home to the only bamboo lemurs you can find in the world. So not only will this foundation project be helping to ensure a regular food source for local people in the area, who previously struggled when their rice crops ran out, it'll also be making sure that the bamboo lemurs' habitat is conserved.

Check out BBC2's "Attenborough and the Giant Egg' on March 2nd at 8 o'clock to learn more about the incredible work that Feedback Madagascar are doing.

Remember where you heard it first. 2011 (unofficially), the year of the lemur.

a jaunt through the city

On Monday morning, Ben H and I ran to work.

10 kilometres to be precise.

We started at St. Paul's. We gave the Queen a wave at Buckingham Palace. We blazed along with the wind in our hair and nothing to stop us - aside from 200 traffic lights, London's entire workforce on foot, and a scenic loo break two thirds in when Ben got caught short.

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Our one man technological guru, Kamal, accompanied us by bike to record the whole thing and update the whole office live as it happened.

Why did we do this?

We did it because 10km is the distance that people in the village of Ajiek in Sudan used to have to walk, every day, to get to a borehole for the water that they needed to live. And whilst we chugged along the Strand, struggling with the weight of the Oyster cards in our pockets (unused, might it be noted), these formidable ladies used to carry up to 21 litres of water for the 10km walk back.

For those who aren't sure how heavy 21 litres is, here's a pictorial representation:

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Ben and I ran in to celebrate the fact that this is no longer the case for these ladies.

Working alongside an incredible NGO called FARM Africa, our innocent foundation has funded the development of a borehole in the village.

This means these women now have an extra 6 hours every day to sell their crops and generate a secure income for their families.

Their children no longer have to stay at home alone waiting for food to be cooked on Mum's return, and they are now able to wash more than once every 10 days because there is sufficient water to do so.

In simple maths, water = the ability to make life changing choices.

Here's the little video that Kamal made about our adventure:

A massive thank you to FARM Africa.

And a huge thank you to all of you who have bought our bottles, cartons, pots and wedges over the years.

In doing so, you've been a part of changing people's lives.