Georgia, July - August 2019

The second Summer School was held in Khulo, located in the mountains of Ajara region, South Georgia, which was organized as a 10 day-long workshop of documentary filmmaking in cooperation with TAFU - Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgia State University.

Students of TAFU and DocNomads worked in mixed groups to create 4 films of around 10’ under a tight schedule of about 3 days to research a subject, 4 days to shoot and 2 days to edit the cuts that were screened on the last day.

“Khulo is a small town surrounded by very tiny, traditional high mountain villages where people live from farming and keeping livestock. Located 150 km from Batumi, 2000 meter above sea level, Khulo lies in one of the most underdeveloped regions of Georgia where mixed Muslim and Christian communities live together. As this region is less popular for tourism, the local environment and culture is more untouched than other parts of the country. Khulo’s theatre is famous for being the theatre at highest altitude in the world, and close by runs one of the longest operating cable-car crossing the air 400 meters above the ground.

The choice of location was perfect, as besides its amazing scenery, the small towns and remote villages offered an insight to the particular culture of the mountains in Georgia. We were impressed on the hospitality and openness of the locals. While students were researching subjects, they invited them to their homes, offered food and local drinks, and welcomed them with such a warmness and kindness that I rarely experienced in other parts of the world. The locals were very cooperative and willing to participate and help the students during the filming. They found culturally very specific and sensitive subjects, while they could experience making films in an unknown environment in a very short time, when they have to listen to their instincts, adjust to the local circumstances and make quick decisions and compromises in order to accomplish the tasks.

Given the different film backgrounds and documentary experience of TAFU and DocNomads students it was a challenge for both sides to understand each other’s working methods and cinematic thinking, but along the way they managed to connect through the filmmaking process and create films together. Students made great working relationships, they got to know each other’s work, and some of them even spent an extra week together after the summer school.” 

Dorottya Zurbó, excerpts from her report

PARTICIPANTS

DocNomads students

  • Alexander Sussmann
  • Bálint Bíró
  • Danial Shah
  • Diego Quinderé de Carvalho
  • Rajae Bouardi

TAFU’s students

  • Givi Kvirikashvili
  • Saba Oragveidze
  • Mindia Kandelaki
  • Ana Barjadze
  • Ia Kvikvinia
  • Natia Sarmiashvili
  • Ana Inasaridze  

Supervisors

  • Dorottya Zurbó and Krisztina Meggyes (DocNomads – SZFE)
  • Otar Litanishvili, Davit Janelidze and Zaza Khalvashi (TAFU)

FILMS

  • Men of the village
    Up in the mountains, around 2000-meter-high there is a small traditional village. Locals spend their summer here with the animals, make milk products to prepare for the long winter. There are only grandmothers and grandsons here, the parent's generation stays in the towns to work. So the kids are the only men in the village, who need to help the elderly. They enjoy to be the big ones but also rebel many times and just want to be kids. The leader of this boy group is Giga, a smart and mischievous guy. When the bad weather arrives, his grandmother tells them a mysterious tale about the hidden gold in the forest. The next day the boys are ready for the adventure to find this treasure.
  • Anna
    Anna (10) lives in a remote village up in the mountains. She lost her grandmother a year ago. The film in a very poetic and sensorial way takes us into her memories and fantasies of loss and grief. 
  • Thin wall
    The documentary shows a local hairdresser and a pub on parallel storylines. The women of the village go to the saloon, discussing relationships, fashion and the upcoming festival while the men are spending their time in the pub, drinking beer, talking about food, business and football. The parallel editing, similar frames and discussions give a gentle irony to the film. By the end we learn that these two worlds are actually in the same small building, separated by only a thin wall.
  • Salt and Bread
    Mamuka (10) is a lonely child living in Khulo with her Mum. During daytime he is wondering around the town playing on his guitar. He feels a bit of an outcast among his peers. One day the men of his neighbourhood invite him to join the symbolic ‘Georgian table’ to play songs for them. It’s the moment for Mamuka to earn respect from the adults and join a real men’s group ritually. 

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