Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu. Storytelling and Protagonists in Documentary Film

Duration
120’

1. From the idea to the film 
The first part of the presentation deals with the long road that filmmakers take from the first initial 
idea to the film. Based on previous experience and on examples of films such as The Bridge
Akhmeteli 4 and Noosfera, we will present the initial ideas and the way they changed and developed into a concept for a documentary film.

 
2. Finding the right protagonists
The Bridge was supposed to deal with a charismatic mayor who struggles to rebuild an old bridge 
that was destroyed during WWII. The bridge had to unite two cities, one in Romania and one in 
Ukraine. Right before the film start, the entire concept of the film changed. The mayor had lost the elections; he was not involved in the construction of the bridge anymore. Finding the right 
protagonist was first of all a practical issue: who will lead the film? Whose struggle will be the 
main storyline of this documentary? We will discuss our experiences with finding the right 
protagonists for a documentary film. Examples on encounters with protagonists and capturing the 
right moments that unveil their inner essence will form a part of the presentation. 


3. Storytelling structures and interaction with protagonists 
We will present different storytelling structures: the episodic structure (a film without a main 
protagonist); but in which a main storyline exists: the construction of the bridge is used in a 
symbolic way and through this construction several protagonists are presented. Additionally we will discuss about a specific genre in documentary film, the institution film – a film in which everything happens in the same location, several protagonists are involved, but the storyline of the film is based on the same building / institution / location that unite them all. Last, but not least, the analytical structure: the storyline circles around the same topics and relationships and unveils more and more the inner truth that was hidden. 
The subjective view of the author is important for each creative documentary. The question is not 
anymore “how should I represent reality?”. But the main question is “what represents for me, as 
author, reality?”. We will present excerpts from The Bridge, Akhmeteli 4, Village of Socks, 
Noosfera as well as from other films, such as Kalte Heimat (dir. V. Koepp), etc. 

 

4. Interview or discussions in front of the camera
There is a big difference between interviews in a classical term and the encounters or free 
discussions that take place in front of the camera. These encounters are much more intense and 
interesting than interviews. They often base on the deep relationship between author and 
protagonist, on their knowledge about each other and on the fact that both of them seem to forget 
the camera while they exchange thoughts and emotions. We will present some examples from 
documentary films that underline this difference. 


Artchil Khetagouri (Georgia), director
Grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia. He studied in Amsterdam, at the Film and Television Academy, where he directed several short films and a documentary. His graduation film Heritage premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was the Netherlands selection for the Student Oscar. His documentary film Shining Shoes depicted the live of young Georgian immigrants in Belgium and was broadcast on YLE (Finland). In 2006 Artchil went back to his hometown, Tbilisi, where he directed the documentary Akhmeteli 4, awarded the Prix Regards Neufs at the Visions du Réel Film festival in Nyon (Switzerland) and the First Prize of the Medium Length competition at the Rhodes Film Festival. He directed also Noosfera (together with Ileana Stanculescu), a film selected for the mid-length competition at IDFA in 2011 and awarded at several international film festivals. 
Apart from being a documentary filmmaker, Artchil gave also workshops for students of the Aarhus University (Denmark). Additionally, he worked as a tutor for filmmakers documenting community art projects in Amsterdam. Since 2011 he works for the Noosfera Foundation, initiating and managing projects like Cinemobile Caucasus (a travelling film festival through Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), for the documentary training initiative DocStories Black Sea funded by the MEDIA Mundus Program, the monthly film screenings Documentary Mondays and the documentary film festival CinéDOC Tbilisi. 


Ileana Stanculescu (Romania – Georgia), director, producer
Ileana Stanculescu was born in 1976 in Bucharest, Romania, where she grew up. After graduating from the University of Paris X in France, Ileana Stanculescu studied in the script and film dramaturgy department of the film academy Konrad Wolf in Potsdam-Babelsberg. 
In 2004 she graduated with the documentary: Podul peste Tisa, which won among other prizes the First Appearance Award at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). The film was selected by several major festivals around the world (Silverdocs, Documenta Madrid, Moscow Film Festival, Thessaloniki, Sarajevo Film Festival, It's All True Brezil, Crossing Europe, etc.) and broadcast on YLE (Finland) and FOX International. 
Later on she directed the documentary Satul sosetelor and produced Akhmeteli 4 (by Artchil 
Khetagouri). Satul sosetelor received the Promotional Prize for Joint Film Productions of the 
Robert-Bosch-Stiftung. In 2006 it was nominated for the Joris Ivens Award at IDFA and won the 
British Council Award for the Best Romanian Documentary. 
The latest documentary directed by Ileana Stanculescu, Noosfera, co-directed with Artchil 
Khetagouri, had its world premiere at IDFA in 2011, where it got selected for the Medium Length 
Competition. The film traveled to many other festivals and received several awards and special jury mentions.


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