Editor’s Picks of 2020 - Short Docus


It was difficult to select only five short documentaries, since this year Chai Khana discovered many interesting new authors. The pandemic and restrictions forced filmmakers to push boundaries and experiment, and look for more creative forms of expression within these limitations. These young filmmakers are not only taking risks to challenge taboo topics and speak out, but also showing courage through the form of their expression and desire to experiment.

- Nino Orjonikidze Commissioning Editor of Chai Khana

Safe Zone by Arpi Bekaryan

“I am from the generation that was born during and after the war, in a closed and isolated society. I have not experienced Armenians and Azerbaijanis living, working and co-existing together. I do not have memories from those times; I have stereotypes that the society, school and the media taught me and everyone else in my generation. The words “enemy” and “Azerbaijani” had always been synonyms for me until I went to Tbilisi. ” This story is about a “hidden” community of Armenians and Azerbaijanis who can only meet in a third country, who have the need to talk to each other, to listen to the other side and who eventually become friends.



My Room by Maka Gogaladze

Through the creative use of archival footage, a documentary filmmaker Maka Gogaladze tells a story of her family - from her birth till the present day, intertwined with the turbulent history of Georgia over the last 30 years. The two storylines of the film are very different in terms of scale but they represent the same plot, since the events that shaped the history of the country have defined and shaped her personal life as well. 



They whisper but sometimes scream by Lala Aliyeva

What do women say when no one is listening? “They Whisper but Sometimes Scream” is a short documentary by our contributor Lala Aliyeva. “When I traveled to this village, I did not intend to make a film about domestic violence in Azerbaijan. Daily shootings around the lake were intuitive. Then I started to hear the stories of women in the village. They slowly opened up to me. The lake, as a part of nature, turned into the landscape, incorporating the memories of the culture and the perception of the past and future. So I used my camera to record the interconnection between human and non human agencies.”


Dialogue in a basket by Varduhi Balyan

In Turkey, the Covid-19 pandemic was dealt with through lockdowns that sometimes lasted for as many as four days. There were also strict measures prohibiting people over the age of 65, like Fatma, from leaving their homes. During those periods, I was often her only bridge with the outside world. A combination of fear about the virus and the required physical distancing started a revival of the fading basket culture in our district. Our basket, which was sent up and down several times a day to carry bread or groceries, came to serve as a new means of communication between Aunt Fatma and me. This short documentary is our story, the tale of our daily communication during the lockdowns caused by Covid-19. Living in Kurtuluş, one of the most multicultural and diverse districts of Istanbul, we were left alone with each other and our balconies. This is a journey of two individuals with diverse backgrounds, Turkish and Armenian, who over the course of the lockdown discuss many things over coffee, growing closer at a distance.



Dasha by Khatia Nikabadze

Dasha, a strong and brave Doukhobor girl from Georgia’s southern part - Javakheti, recently graduated from high school and plans to move to capital Tbilisi to attend the university. This film is about a girl posed at the brink of adulthood; a young woman who loves her home but dreams of creating a new life.


Check Out:

Editor’s picks of 2020 - Feature Stories

Editor’s picks of 2020 - Photo Stories

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