Documentary film is a chronicle of real life


A training on the basics of documentary film production, organized by the UNESCO Office in Tashkent, took place from 7 to 10 October, 2019 in Tashkent.

The training was conducted by Maciej Drygas, Polish famous documentary filmmaker, teacher at the Łódź Film School, author of "Voice of Hope" (2002), "One Day in Poland" (2006), "Abu Kharaz" (2013).

More than 30 people attended the training - students and teachers of the Uzbekistan State Institute of Arts and Culture (UzSIAC), students of the FOCUS film school (Uzbekistan), as well as independent young professionals working in the field of documentary film.

During 4 days Maciej Drygas shared his experience and knowledge in the field of documentary film with the audience. Together with the participants of the training they considered the genre features of the author's documentary film, studied the theory and art of creating a documentary work, as well as the peculiarities of working with archival materials.

Below are the participants' feedback on the documentary film training.

Pavel Kim, a listener at FOCUS Film School:

“It's been a very useful four days for me. I learned many new things, in particular, how to start making documentary films, if you only have an idea, how to develop and structure it correctly.

If before the training, my attitude to documentary films was mediated, now it has become clear that it is not just a slicing of archival materials with inserts of synchrons. Here there is dramaturgy, as well as in feature films. And this is a completely different view of this genre.

In my creative plans to make a documentary film about the "kore saram", so called Koreans, who were relocated from the Far East to the countries of Central Asia in 1937, including Uzbekistan”.

Matlyuba Anwarova, independent expert:

“I express my gratitude to all the organizers for the opportunity to participate in the training. The training was very interesting, productive and useful. I received a huge portion of the creative charge from the director Maciej Drygas, who told us about his directorial path, experience and shared his knowledge.

I am an anthropologist and I am constantly engaged in various researches in this field and write about them. Director Maciej Drygas inspired me to study the culture and history of my people in more depth. I want to collect materials and make an author's documentary”.

Muzafar Garabayev, UzSIAC lecturer:

“I was happy to participate in the training. Maciej Drygas is a director with colossal experience. Each of his words has a special value. This training was useful for everyone who seriously intends to deal with documentaries in the future. I was interested in learning about the practical side of the documentary filming process. On the example of his work, Mr. Drygas spoke about all the nuances and subtleties of documentary film production. He taught not only technical and scriptwriting peculiarities of documentary film, but also considered the life and psychological situations faced by the documentary filmmaker in the process of his work.

Currently I am working on a historical documentary film about a famous Uzbek composer. The knowledge acquired during the training will help me in this work”.

Nurmukhamedova Iroda, UzSIAC student:

“The training exceeded all my expectations and left the most positive impressions. I was particularly interested in learning about the particularities of working with archival materials in documentary films. I didn't think that archival materials could enrich and transform a documentary film so much.

I had a great desire to go deeper into the work with archival materials, to find there something interesting for the idea of a documentary film. Perhaps it will be the story of one person or society in a certain period of time. I like to study our past, because it is the foundation of the present”.

Feruza Abduvali Kizi, independent expert:

“I am grateful to the organizers for the opportunity of four days of training. I have received a lot of new and useful information. I made four short amateur documentaries without special knowledge. After this training, I structured my knowledge. Now I have a lined up picture of how and what to do, and I have a great desire to do something at a different, more professional level. In the near future I want to make a film about people with autism, the difficulties of their socialization and acceptance by others”. 

Lobar Kobilova, UzSIAC lab technician:

“I would like to see documentary films in Uzbekistan not made according to templates, breaking stereotypes. I have some experience in the documentary film genre. I have several of my own films. Now, in the light of my new knowledge, I have the opportunity to review my earlier work and to work on my mistakes in order to shoot something at a higher level.

At the training, I learned how to get through to the hero, how to talk to him and how to open him up. It was interesting to work with Maciej Drygas on several psychological methods that help me communicate with the hero. Inspired by the training, I plan to continue working on a film about the Soviet and Uzbek theater and film actor, People's Artist of the Uzbek SSR Pulat Saidkasimov. It will be a portrait story of this legendary man”.

Director Maciej Drygas:

«Before the training started, each of the participants received a task from me to prepare a short story about themselves and their family. I didn't expect it to be that interesting. They were so touching and unique in their aesthetics and style of history that I was pleasantly surprised.

In my practice, this is the first such large-scale training. For four days I have been giving, let's say, practical theory, I have been teaching them exactly what they will really need in working with documentary films.

Documentary films have ethical issues. I believe that the director is responsible for the fate of his characters. Sometimes the director does not fully understand the power of cinema. Because after the film his characters must return to normal life, despite the fact that you touch some of the intimate moments of their lives. This is very important. Not everything is for sale. I wouldn't want to ruin someone's life. This is one of my principles».

It should be noted that the 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.