will-power, video, oil booms and blind metro rides

It seems to me that each filming trip is essentially an act of will. Where no thing existed before, you will something into existence – in this case short documentaries filmed in Azerbaijan and Moscow. The whole thing requires utter doggedness and persistence, in the full knowledge that unless YOU do this, no one else is going to make it happen. Thus I willed a ten-minute piece about people being brutally evicted from their houses in Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) shot by shot, interview by interview, day by day. All the time you have to not let go – you are damn well going to get that bit where the woman walks across the rubble of her demolished house, where the anti-corruption campaigner says in her own words that evil had been done, where the camera pans across happy middle-class people enjoying the benefits of the oil boom.

Or in Russia – that essential journey with the blind-guy on Moscow’s metro, him walking ruefully into the buildings of the university he studied at – one of the very few blind students that did so – him cradling his ten-month old daughter. I swear none of that would have happened without me willing it, doggedly, intently, at time ferociously.

And then there’s the weird realization that, but for your idiosyncratic obsession, none of this would come to pass – this being four of you, a driver, a videographer, a translator and you, in a car, on your way to find rubble and demolition in Baku – or sitting at table with four Russians, mother, father, brother, brother – tucking into a meal, as you alternately film and eat – a jolly gathering that you have conjured out of thin air – as well as out of money, air tickets, visas and video files.

Pictures to come.


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