From Georgian DOCUMENTARY Film Diaries:

# 1 .

Salome Jashi’s Mini Tragi-Comedy, a Film that will Stay in Mind

A new documentary fi lm ‘The Dazzling Light of Sunset’ by young Georgian director Salome Jashi has triumphed at the Nyon International Film Festival in Switzerland after making its world debut at the prestigious fi lm event early in 2016.

Tue Steen Müller, a freelance consultant and teacher in Danish and European documentary matters who has worked with short and documentary fi lms for over 20 years at the Danish Film Board and who also writes articles for national and international newspapers, on www.fi lmkommentaren.dk. ranked Salome’s fi lm among the best 16 Documentaries of 2016, among the fi lms that will stay in mind…

‘The Dazzling Light of Sunset,’ written and directed by Jashi, is a co-production of Georgia and Germany, having won the Best New Film after being presented for the fi rst time at the festival, also known as the Visions du Reel. The fi lm is shot mostly in the small Georgian town Tsalenjikha and is a mini tragi-comedy, reflecting the way the whole nation functions, where appearance is more valued than content.

The fi lmmaker has other awards to her credit, and her documentary ‘Bakhmaro,’ shot in 2011, received an honorary mention at the 2011 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film in Germany.

SALOME, HOW DID YOU END UP IN DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING?

While working as a TV journalist, I got interested in documentary film, too. It was then I made up my mind that telling a story without narrative in a wide format, having no claims on objectivity, is visually really interesting. Then I got a scholarship to qualify in documentary film making in Great Britain and after my graduation, me and my friends founded ‘Sakdoc Film’ and slowly, step by step, started to make documentaries.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY IN A FEW WORDS.

I am fond of observing and mixing together different stories, scenes and places.

WHAT IS THE MAIN CHARM OF DOCUMENTARY FILM FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?

The documentary fi lm format can be diverse, where filmmakers have a good opportunity to express their world philosophy and outlook.

HOW DO YOU PICK UP THEMES AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST OF ALL?

I’m fi rst and foremost interested in places and spaces and only afterwards do I try to fi nd appropriate stories and characters for the spaces.

WHAT ARE MUST-HAVE QUALITIES FOR A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER?

I think patience fi rst of all, and observation skills, maybe also the ability to be amazed… Perhaps there should be some other qualities, as every director is individual.

A FILM OR FILMS WHICH DEEPLY IMPRESSED YOU RECENTLY?

I saw ‘Dead Slow Ahead’ by Mauro Herce; a hypnotic film about a huge ship, floating on the ocean. Ognjen Glavonic’s ‘Depth Two’ is also a very impressive movie, narrating the crimes of the Milosevic regime. The fi lm brings together monologues of direct participants and victims of the crimes; these monologues are evidence recorded during court sessions, but no one is shown in the fi lm and these stories are told against the background of Serbian landscapes.

WHICH DIRECTORS ARE ICONIC FIGURES FOR YOU?

None.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND PROVOKES YOUR INTEREST APART FROM FILMAKING?

Different stuff at different times. For example, I’m involved in a totally different project now, which is extremely interesting for me. There’s a festival about the human body featuring various activities. I’m not sure that ‘happiness’ is the right word for it; I would rather call it emotionally intensive work. As for the viewer, I got tremendous impressions from a choreographic performance ‘Avenue of the Cosmonauts’ by Sasha Waltz & Guests, which I attended in Berlin not long ago.

YOUR RECENT FILM WAS A SUCCESS AND WILL SOON APPEAR IN TBILISI CINEMAS. TELL US ABOUT THE CONCEPT BEHIND IT.

The fi lm is a kind of pseudo-ethnographical portrayal of a small town where rituals, traditions, norms and dogmas defi ne the lifestyle and also reflect the modern world. How can you present yourself from the best side? The versatile spectrum of characters, places and events create the mosaics of that city, where Dariko, the only local television journalist is leading viewers into the labyrinth of the everyday life of the locals.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

My future plans are always ambiguous.

# 2 .

A Conversation with Anna Dziapshipa

Photo : Anka Gujabidze

ANNA, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF.

Anna Dziapshipa, producer and founder of the documentary Film Company ‘Sakdoc Film.’ At present, I’m working on a documentary as a director, it will be an autobiographical fi lm, but I don’t want to talk about it beforehand…

YOU ARE THE FOUNDER OF ‘SAKDOC FILM’ AND ALSO COLLABORATE WITH THE ONLY REGIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL CINEDOC, SO FROM YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND AND PERSPECTIVE, WHICH THEMES ARE RELEVANT TODAY?

The CineDoc Documentary Film Festival is a very important event, organized by my colleagues and, of course, I collaborate with them. ‘Sakdoc Film’ has been organizing the pitching documentaries in the scope of the festival for several years now. This year the festival will be held in May and we hope our collaboration will continue. CineDoc is the only documentary fi lm festival in the region, reflecting current tendencies in this fi eld and aiming to showcase a new, versatile and interesting selection of documentary fi lms to the audience. It’s difficult to talk about fi lms; at this stage forms are more interesting for me than theme itself. Mixing different genres, hybrid fi lms, transmedia projects – all can be seen at the festival annually.

YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PRODUCING AND FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THE RECENT TENDENCIES OF GEORGIAN DOCUMENTARY FILM?

I started with producing and I’m very interested in the direction of various projects at present. Georgian documentary film is becoming more and more interesting by the year and many have received awards at different international festivals. But, unfortunately, there is a gap between the Georgian Film Center and other potential financial supporters. Georgian documentaries, including festivals, pitching, and master classes really deserve an increase in fi nancial sources (documentary fi lms are low-budget in comparison with feature fi lms), significant support from the Georgian Film Center, Georgian Public Broadcasting TV, and also the existence of a municipal cinema, as an opportunity for showcasing and distributing these fi lms.

A FILM WHICH HAS DEEPLY IMPRESSED YOU RECENTLY.

It’s difficult for me to categorize fi lms in such way, but a movie which deeply impressed me recently was ‘Safari’ by Ulrich Seidl.

WHAT KIND OF RECOMMENDATIONS CAN YOU GIVE TO NEW FILMMAKERS?

I read an interview with Werner Herzog not long ago and one piece of advice was that it’s really important to finish films which have already been started; if you don’t, he says, I will come and fi nish them for you. I also work on fi lm and I can wish the same for myself, but, then, unfinished fi lms would be a really good reason to get Werner Herzog here.

 

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