06.08.2019 - UNESCO Office in Tashkent

Film Director Luc Thauvin: "Through documentary film, we get to know the world and people"

©UNESCO,Film Director Luc Thauvin: "Through documentary film, we get to know the world and people"

From 8 to 12 July 2019, the UNESCO Office in Tashkent and the French Embassy in the Republic of Uzbekistan organized a training course for young filmmakers on "Basics of Documentary Film Production" in Tashkent. The training was supported by the State Institute of Arts and Culture of Uzbekistan.

The main objective of the training was to improve the knowledge and skills of young professionals and students in creating high quality and technically advanced documentary films. Mr. Luc Thauvin, film director, specialist in the field of documentary film, teacher of the company "Ciné le Miroir" (France) was invited to conduct the training.

The training was attended by 35 young people: students and teachers from  the State Institute of Arts and Culture of Uzbekistan, students from the FOCUS Film School (Uzbekistan), as well as independent young film professionals.

During the week, the participants of the training received the necessary information, as well as under the supervision of an international expert were trained to work with the camera, write a script for documentary films, develop the plot of the film, and edit it.

Students were divided into 7 working groups to implement filming projects. Each group was tasked with planning the plot, writing a script, and after analyzing various theoretical aspects of documentary film, making a short documentary about a woman.

The participants of the training had two afternoons to shoot the film. Filming was offered within a radius of 15 km from the venue of the training. Some students, inspired by their ideas, went to more remote places: to the suburbs of Tashkent.

As a result, based on the skills acquired, the students, under the supervision of Mr. Luc Thauvin, produced 7 short documentaries telling the stories of women. The heroines of the films are a wide variety of women, with a variety of life stories. But each of them has something similar that unites them. It's the resilience, the ability to remain oneself, to go forward, to appreciate and truly love life.

The films were screened on 12 July in the presence of Mr. Fuad Pashayev, the Head a.i. of the UNESCO Office in Tashkent, Ms. Emilie Desormiere, Culture and Cooperation Adviser at the Embassy of France in Uzbekistan, and Mr. Ibrohim Yuldashev, Rector of the State Institute of Arts and Culture of Uzbekistan.

Below are some feedback from the participants of the documentary film training.

Isomiddin Azizov, a participant in the training:

I work more in the feature film genre, but I was interested to know what documentary film is. If feature films are realistic, then documentary films are 100% realistic, showing the reality as it is. It's important to cling to an idea, to get it across to a viewer, but keep in mind that the idea can change.

Before the filming started, our team had the idea of showing the problem of ability to move of people with disabilities around the city. Personally, I am concerned about this question - "Why are we so poorly adapted to the urban infrastructure for people with disabilities? But in the process of filming, I became aware of the concern of ordinary people for the difficulties of moving people in wheelchairs. And we decided to focus on kindness, responsiveness of ordinary people and their readiness to help people with disabilities. And with the help of our trainer, Mr. Luc Thauvin, we were able to find and work through our idea as accurately as possible.

Victoria Vitko, a participant in the training:

I am incredibly happy to participate in this training. I used to have one idea of what documentary film was, but now it's completely different. I've done a lot of important things for myself. For example, the fact that every shot should work for an idea of a film. Or that the camera should always be ready to shoot something, even if the shootings are over. Something important and interesting can happen when you turn the camera off.

The heroine of our film is a female potter. At one time, her family was in financial crisis, and to somehow cope with it, she began to deal with ceramics. And with our film we show how the family helps her to do what she loves and supports her in her work. And on the example of one family we talk about unity, which helps to overcome any difficulties.

As for the script in documentary film, I realized that it is simply impossible to prescribe it in documentary film from and to. Everything is born on the stage.

I'm very fond of the genre of realism. That's why I am absolutely attracted to documentary films. I'm sure that with such a base, I will be able to approach documentary film projects with great professionalism.

Davlat Urazaliyev, a participant in the training:

Participation in the documentary film training was a very interesting experience for me. It was a very dynamic and intense training session. All the theoretical knowledge that I obtained in the first days of the training, I was able to try out in practice.

The idea of our film is the way of good. Our heroine is a woman who is a taxi driver in her spare time. She does not take money from the passengers and is very happy when she is just heartily desired goodness and health. She is terminally ill. But she believes that good works miracles. Our film also raises the importance of the family for a person. Our heroine has made a successful career, but has not created a family. But in difficult moments, the support of the family makes wonders.

In the future, I plan to shoot both feature films and documentaries. I thank the UNESCO Office in Tashkent, the Embassy of France and the State Institute of Arts and Culture of Uzbekistan for the wonderful opportunity to take part in this training.

Maftuna Ergasheva, a participant in the training:

I received even more than I expected from the training - a good theoretical basis, as well as practical detailed recommendations for my work.

The idea of our film came very simply - we wanted to show the most ordinary women of our country. We shot our film in the field. The theme is happiness. We show women-workers who, despite the hard physical work, remain cheerful and happy.

Mr. Luc Thauvin said that it is important to feel your character for a good documentary film. On the first day of filming, there was a distance between us and our characters. And it was felt in the footage. The director should be much closer to the character than his camera. Indeed, the shots from the second day of shooting felt happiness, which was stated in the idea of the film.

Diana Chirkova, a participant in the training:

"Documentary cinema is about our lives and reality. Through documentary film, we can draw attention to a pressing problem or raise an important issue. For example, the team of the Institute of Culture was able to make a very heartfelt film about the fate of a woman with disabilities, who alone copes with her life's difficulties, but does not lose heart and faith in herself and people. In a short time, they were able to show her story as accurately and naturally as possible. After watching the film, I wanted to help this woman, write about her and meet her.

I am a journalist by profession. Our trainer asked not to confuse journalism with documentary journalism. These are different things, both in terms of meaning and technology. However, there are still cross-cutting points. And it was useful and interesting for me to know about it. Thanks to the organizers for the opportunity to get acquainted with foreign experience in this area.

Mr. Luc Thauvin, trainer, documentary filmmaker:

"I have the best impressions from the training and from the students, who are capable and with great desire to learn new things and go forward. Their eyes are burning, they have a lot of interesting ideas and they have something to say.

As a trainer I had two tasks. Firstly, to let students understand what documentary film is like, because on the screen from the viewer's side it is one thing, and from the director's side - it is another. It was important for me to tell them, that documentary cinema is much broader and has more opportunities and freedom in it than in other types of cinema.

And secondly, to help the students work with the idea and story of the film, so that they can convey to the audience exactly what they really care about.

A documentary filmmaker is always an observer and researcher. Here you can discover something new every time. I like to get to know the world and people through documentaries. I have a lot of questions that I have to answer. And through documentary films, you can find answers to them.

Documentary films give you the opportunity to observe reality without rush. You just have more time for it, unlike journalism, for example, where you need urgent reports and stories. You also feel more independent in documentaries than in feature films, which are adapted to the interests of the film industry.

I wish all participants success in their future work. I wish them to find answers to their questions. I wish them to be able to convey something important to the audience. To make their films honest and sincere and to encourage people to look at the world and themselves differently.


Training on documentary film was held within the framework of the UNESCO project «Strengthening cultural and creative industries in Lao PDR, Uzbekistan and Rwanda», which was launched in 2017 with financial support from the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, as well as within the framework of the policy of audiovisual cooperation of the Department for Culture and Cooperation of the French Embassy in Uzbekistan.

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