There is little experience of making documentary films about the environment and wild nature in Georgia. It is almost impossible to find professionals, who can make high quality movies and at the same time know wild nature well enough to film it in mountains and forests at the correct time and place and with the right approach, no matter whether it will be animals or birds.
ECOFILMS has been helping birdwatchers for years to choose right places and to plan tours.
This experience has influenced the process of filmmaking , though filming wild animals remains a massive challenge. Existing biodiversity studies, of flora and fauna separately or together, are seldom of use in fieldwork for operators, film producers or other film-making team members, who work outside the academic sphere.
It is difficult to define correctly when, where and how the filming should be done.
Maybe someone has filmed bees, but what about the bee in a beehive? Have you seen anything like this in Georgian video and documentary materials? Of course not. That is why “how to film” still remains our main everyday question and it becomes necessary to invent new methods and techniques. What cannot be filmed in nature is filmed in Tbilisi studio or in special ones, constructed in nature.
The idea of filming the unique live tradition came to us on the road. Coming back from a filming trip we decided to make a documentary on the relationship between humans and nature, with the bee as a central character. The oldest and most unique traditions of course could be filmed in one of the most astonishing and important regions from the point of view of biodiversity – in Ajara.
There has been no such full-scale documentary before in Georgia – with four seasons of filming, several plotlines and telling about so many people, animals and birds. Our goal is not simple. We want to show the real life, coexistence of humans and wild nature, animals, how they influence each other and the results of this influence.
There are a lot of people involved in the working process and risks are high. We have to learn by doing, we make a lot of mistakes, but we cannot learn another way and there is no one to teach or advise us on filming. But local specialists, zoologists, botanists, beekeepers help us very much, we would not be able to do anything without them.
Of course when we started, we did not even know whether we could do it. It is the same now, sometimes weeks of filming pass without result, sometimes we suddenly run into a bear and are not ready for filming, sometimes we wait and look for them for days but do not manage to film properly or they do not come at all. Or often we can film only landscapes and a general view of animals, while needing close ups, which are impossible to get. You cannot approach a bear close enough to film body details. Sometimes we have to film animals, which are not frequently met in Ajara, in other places.