GRAND VOYAGE GEORGIA
Presentation of seven short films, filmed in Georgia by students from HEAD University in Geneva in 2015
Date|Time 02.12.2016 | 19.00h
Venue Frontline Club Georgia
The documentary filmmaking workshop in Georgia was part of the traditional Grand Journey organized by the HEAD – Geneva’s Film Department. This journey enables the second-year students to discover a region, a culture, a way of life of a different, foreign country in which they are expected to get lost before finding the bearings needed to devise a film. Following northern Thailand, Beirut, Bucharest and Nara, this Grand Journey took them to a village in the Georgia countryside – Kisiskhevi – and its region. It was supervised by the filmmaker Nino Kirtadze, assisted by Elene Naveriani, a graduate of the HEAD Film Department and winner of the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation’s Excellence Prize, and by Aline Suter, a pedagogical assistant in the HEAD Film Department and a filmmaker.
The three-week workshop was punctuated by location scouting, numerous encounters, the development of film projects, shooting the films and editing them on-site. The students sometimes worked alone, sometimes in pairs, in the context of a production in which they gained professional experience, as they were asked to perform different jobs (directing, camera, sound, editing and a little mixing and calibration). They were assisted throughout the whole process by young interpreters from Tbilisi. It was essential that the workshop be embedded in the village and the surrounding area. It ended on the last evening with a public screening of the films for the benefit of the local community and all the people involved. The screening took place at Kisiskhevi's gigantic performing arts centre, an emblematic place that flamboyantly testifies to Georgia's recent history.
The students of the HEAD Film Department made 11 films during the workshop. Each film is unique in its subject and form. There are the portraits: that of Mari, a girl who is expressing her taste for activities reserved for men, that of the Ukrainian shepherd who has deserted from his military service in unclear circumstances and found refuge in the Georgian mountains, and that of Anzori, the taxi driver who waits for his customers every day next to Telavi market. Each film reveals certain aspects of stories with universal dimensions. The sacrifice of a sheep raises questions about an ancestral practice. The repeated theft of a bust of Stalin arouses the political views of the inhabitants of a village and spotlights the generation gaps. The conversations among men at the public baths, in a barber’s shop or in their own homes reveal the faults in Georgian society. And then there is this stubborn legend, a string of disasters, including murders and adulteries, that are alleged to have been caused by the theft of a bull nearly a century ago. The tragic rubs shoulders with the burlesque. All the films are imbued with the breath of life, the generosity and energy of the places and the persons met. Taken as a whole, the body of work can be seen as a subjective mapping of contemporary Georgia.