Street artists at home during lockdown
Filmmaker: Amina Mammadova
Rakif Ismayilov, 64, is a street artist. His first painting was on a carpet woven by his grandmother. He later graduated from art school.
Ismayilov painted portraits of tourists on Nizami Street (aka Torgovaya), the central shopping street, for four years. His customers were mostly tourists from Arab countries. After the Covid lockdown, tourists disappeared and, as a senior citizen, he was forbidden to leave the house. And so, Rakif was unemployed for 11 months.
Now, he is waiting for the country to reopen and tourists to return to Baku.
Other videos stories
The culture of volunteering has not been fully established in Georgia yet and most people don’t know where to start. Even though Georgians do a lot of things for their families and community, it is not often defined as volunteer work that is supported, respected and promoted by the community. In the country where working hours are unregulated, wages are low and social security is weak, the entire burden falls on a family. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people don’t find the time nor interest for work that doesn’t pay money. Ana Kuprava has started volunteering during the pandemic with Helping Hand, a NGO based in Tbilisi. Apart from visiting and helping the elderly, she now spends a lot of time as an ambassador, informing other young people around Georgia about volunteering to help them get involved.
Work without a paycheck
The Georgian capital Tbilisi has become a magnet for young Azerbaijani artists, searching for a safe place to work and create.
Azerbaijani artist community in Tbilisi
A 23-year-old Ukrainian, far from home, tries to make life a little easier for Ukrainians escaping from the war. Around 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Poland since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war. Ukrainian Darina Hlava, 23, who has lived and worked in the Polish city of Poznan for the last five years, is helping refugees find a place to live, orient themselves in their new reality, register and get help. Poznan, the fifth largest city in Poland, has become the temporary home for 40,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Safe and sound but hoping to return home
Once an Armenian emigre living in Germany, a young woman tries to bring change to a rural community in Armenia.
A life-changing move to the countryside
Other short documentaries
It seems that the creative use of VHS archives in an essay documentary style has become a trend in the South Caucasus...
Editor's Pick – Short Docus of 2022
Since the advent of home movie footage, memory has entered into symbiosis with media — but, as decades pass, regimes change and file formats fall away, so too, does media disintegrate, and the memories depart alongside it. This film represents a conscious effort to revisit and re-articulate Georgian people’s memories of the 1990’s, through the time capsules of their newly digitised home video cassettes.
Glasses crack, tablecloths splinter|trailer
Can we control our lives through the lens of a camera? A young Armenian director takes over her aunt’s old video camera, a lifelong dream. Through the old footage of her childhood and her own interviews with her family and friends, she unpacks Armenia’s recent history and hopes for the future. Disillusioned with her present in post-war Armenia, young Armenian filmmaker Greta Harutyunyan picks up a camera to explore her options for the future. But to understand the future, she travels back to her past, revisiting it through a homevideo archive created by her aunt. Greta finally takes over the aunt’s video camera, a moment she always dreamed of, and turns it on her and the people around her. Through this ‘time travel’ we can discover Armenia reflected in its recent past, different generations and their conflicting visions for a better future. Through their advice to Greta, we witness Armenian society projecting their own vision for a better future of the country. While filming, Greta learns about the death of her soldier cousin, one of those documented in the old VHS camera footage of festive and hopeful childhood moments. The 19-year-old soldier is one of many victims of the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Instructions for the future | Trailer
Life around a toxic dump as seen through the eyes and experiences of a resilient villager. The "Martyr's Tailing Dump", located near the Armenian-Georgian border, is filled with tons of toxic chemicals. The tailings are dumped without any efforts to protect the soil or, and nearby in the village of Mets Ayrum, people live and breathe that poison through the wind and dust. These people have not been evacuated or compensated for the damage to their health. The poisonous tailings pond flooded Samvel Siradeghyan's garden years ago, making the land no longer suitable for agriculture. The trees have dried up. Samvel Siradeghyan refuses to surrender, unlike most of the villagers, who try not to notice the damage and the presence of the tailings dam. He started a lawsuit against the mining company and the government for the damage done to his family. Samvel sees no other way out than to fight in his own way, instead of succumbing to despair. Through purely cinematic language, director Mery Aghakhanyan creates a surreal experience of the village Mets Ayrum, where fact and imagination is blurred.