I have not talked to anyone, who prefers zoom to face-to-face meetings. On the other hand the zoom or teams or skype make it possible to see and talk to each other in these times of pandemic. And it works well as I experience right now being part of the Film Mentoring Program of the International Documentary Film Festival CinéDOC-Tbilisi. The cast are 15 young and younger filmmakers from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan – and 5 mentors: Gitte Hansen Schnyder, Audrius Stonys, Sergey Dvortsevoy, Phil Jandaly and me. Organised by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri, and their excellent team, who I know from the festival and from summer schools, online and physical. It’s super-professional and with warmth and enthusiasm in the spirit of ”we want to help”.
The set-up is new and exciting for me: Each mentor works with 3 filmmakers 3 x three hours with weeks in between, where the filmmakers write or film or think… So far I – and the other mentors – have had the first round of individual meetings plus two times group meetings with 3 filmmakers, who are not the ones with whom you have face-to-face meetings.
Face-to-face meetings are the ones, where I first of all find the zoom an excellent tool. You have time, you can watch material together and you can learn. And you are not waiting for your turn to say something! For me I have been privileged to zoom-travel – with the filmmakers – to mountain villages in Georgia and Dagestan, and to Uzbekistan, where the documentary photographer Eryol Nemat lives. He and the two female filmmakers Ana Barjadze and Sofia Melikova have opened my eyes to places and people and situations that I did not know about, and have very little chances to visit. I am waiting for the next meetings… for more conversation and moving images. To put questions and give answers, and listen. To have a dialogue.
The photo is from Tbilisi – taken by me in 2013 at one of the lovely visits to the capital of Georgia. Please Lord let us also meet face-to-face without a screen between us!