The postwoman always rings twice
To put our first request for funding of our documentary film, Requiem for Williamsburg, in the mail only took four hours. Of course, I had to drive from my home in the Umbrian country side to the nearest post office, but this was not the problem.
The problem was that I wanted my application for considerable funding to reach the Netherland-America Foundation in New York in time. That is, before May 1st. I figured it would cost me, I didn’t figure it would be this much of a hassle.
I pointed out in my best Italian to the very gentle lady at the post office of Pian di San Martino that I wanted to send the letter with priority. She nodded understandingly and told me the total would be 3,90 euro’s. This seemed too good to be true so I asked, just to make sure, if my letter would be there within 10 days.
Oh no, this could not be guaranteed. Figurati! (go figure). To have it in NYC within a week, I needed to pay about 40 euro’s. She was astounded that I didn’t object to this insane amount, and she shoved massive paperwork and a pen over the counter with the advice to fill this out ‘con calma’ without any haste. Happily I set out to fill in the same information twice and returned with a smile to the counter.
The friendly lady looked sternly at my handwriting and set out to complete it. “Your fiscal code please?” she asked. I was going to read it from my phone, but she interjected: “I need your resident pass with the fiscal code”. “I’m not a resident yet”, I confessed, “But I do have a fiscal code here.” “Im sorry, you’re not a resident? In that case I also need your passport” she replied. “But I’m a EU citizen!” I exclaimed. “What are they going to do with this one simple letter?”
As I experienced before when I expressed feelings of anxiety about Italian bureaucracy, the lady looked at me with an expression of wanting to be forgiven. “I’m terribly sorry”, she said. “I can not bend the rules. It’s not for me. It’s for the Customs.” We looked at each other knowing perfectly well that no customs officer in his right mind would EVER look at the documents. Should they not be complete however, well….
So I got back into my car, called my fiancé to look up the documents and drove 5 kilometres back to my house. The carbon footprint of my project is already out of control. Let’s just pray we didn’t spend all that gas for nothing, and get the funding we need.
To be continued…
June 2018, Stella Bronwasser