The Yakut film boom inspired Tuvans to create a film

The Yakut film boom inspired Tuvans to create a film

Director Dmitry Davydov will prepare the shift in Kyzyl

Yakut director Dmitry Davydov, well known not only in the Republic of Sakha, but also beyond its borders, whose films have repeatedly won at Russian and international festivals, can become a catalyst for a new film boom. The Yakut phenomenon is impressive, but so far remains one of a kind. Nevertheless, he found followers in Tuva.

The director of the films “Scarecrow”, “Bonfire in the Wind”, “There is No God But Me”, “Youth”, “Songs of Summer”, “Illegal” is currently filming the feature film “Transparent Lands” about an abandoned village in central Russia. Until recently, Dmitry was a rural teacher and school director. Even then he started making films. All of his films before “Phantom Lands” were made in his native Amginsky ulus with non-professional actors and fellow villagers. By education, Dmitry is a primary school teacher. Even now, being a famous cinematographer and winner of many festivals, he continues to live in the village.

Dmitry made his debut in the movie “Bonfire in the Wind,” which became a nominee for the Asia-Pacific Film Academy in Australia. His “Scarecrow” won the main prize at the last Kinotavr in 2020.

And it all started like this. “In 2007-2009, while working at school, we created a teenage club, began to engage in KVN, held school discos, and created a video club,” says Dmitry Davydov. - We had a Hitachi camera that records on videotape. We made the first film with the children and edited it ourselves, not understanding how it was done. Posters were drawn on whatman paper. They hung a cloth in the village club and showed their films there. So we worked for five years and made more than ten films, trying to make horror films. Most of the educational work came from me. The children were busy with something in the evenings. They were interested.

In 2009 there was a Yakut boom. I saw that what I was doing with children was being done in Yakutsk, and these films were being released on the big screen. This became a discovery and a challenge for me - to make a real movie that people can see on the big screen. In 2014, I started making films professionally. We made the film “Bonfire in the Wind.” My films have been in Africa and Australia. We have our own culture, our own language, and our films are now watched everywhere. As a child, I wrote poems and stories. I even wrote a book, but I haven’t been able to publish it for more than 15 years. I found a way to express myself, my thoughts, feelings through the language of cinema. I don’t have any special film education, but I constantly learn from my own experience and watch my older comrades. The process of self-education is constantly going on. I have a lot to learn. I’d like to believe that I’m still at the beginning of my journey.”

In the near future, but after filming “Transparent Villages”, Dmitry Davydov will go to Kyzyl.

“We will have a joint project in Tuva, the first Tuvan full-length film will appear. I will work there as a producer. We will bring part of the Yakut team to Tuva so that local guys can learn from our specialists and then film on their own. I think that we will send our director Evgeniy Nikolaev there. His film “Cuckoo” a year ago won the short film competition of the “Spirit of Fire” debut festival in Khanty-Mansiysk. Zhenya works as an assistant director on all my films, starting with Scarecrow. The team will be 50/50. Tuvan and Yakut filmmakers will work in it.

During Soviet times, Tuvan filmmakers participated in the Soviet-Japanese project “Dersu Uzala” by Akira Kurosawa. Now they are trying to make their own feature film for the first time. Everything is just beginning for them, as it was in Yakutia 15 years ago.

- How did it all start?

- In 2022, I was invited to Tuva to give a master class. I came. Since this all started. They had a short film course that about 20 directors took.

- I had a chance to visit Tuva two years ago. There are amazing landscapes there.

- We drove there 200 km, and on this way the steppe was replaced by a desert, and the desert was replaced by mountains. And all this diversity is not so far away. The colors are completely different there. Camels walk, yaks and sheep are nearby. This is great for cinema.

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