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CIRCLE Interviews: Meet Maka Gogaladze, CIRCLE 2020 Pariticipant

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

With a degree in medicine, Maka Gogaladze tried photography in 2008. Since 2010, she has been working as a photographer. In 2016, Gogaladze received a master’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and Media Management at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. Currently she is Multimedia Storytelling tutor at the GIPA and directs short documentaries for the South Caucasian media platform Chai-Khana. In 2016, Gogaladze co-founded FORMO Production Company.

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project briefly.

A: I’m Maka Gogaladze, presenting my first feature length documentary in development with the title “Ever Since I Knew Myself.”

Maka Gogaladze, photo from private archive

In the film I travel around Georgia, meet, observe and interact different children during the process of their education. During the journey I collect memories of my childhood, reflect on my personal experience – how my mother, enrolling me in different classes and activities, was trying to transform me from a restive child into a model citizen.

These images I confront with my mother’s letters to me, where she recalls different stories of my childhood from her perspective, reflects on her experience of being a mother with strong Soviet influence, parenting children in independent Georgia, which tries to adopt a new, western identity.

Q: Why this film? What is your most important motivation?

A: I was born in Soviet Union and soon there was a collapse, which brought very radical social and political changes in the country. Changes are not that fast in society, which has a long Soviet past, strong conservative mindset trying to adopt new, European identity. This unusual and eclectic state of mind affects everything and becomes particularly obvious when it comes to relationships between generations, including the process of children's education. And it affected my childhood, which now affects me in real life.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in making this film?

A: The biggest challenges are: to keep balance between personal and private, to define the universal dimension of my personal and therefore unique experience, is to keep development just on paper, without opportunity to go out and start shooting - because of pandemic it is impossible.

Q: What would be the most frustrating/troubling part of filmmaking (as a woman)?

A: I travel alone with my camera and sound equipment around and the most challenging is to carry production essentials and set up the scene on my own.

Q: And the most rewarding one?

A: The most rewarding part is the feeling of satisfaction. Nothing compares with the feeling of completeness when, during the filming, I feel that something happening in front of my camera is exactly what I was subconsciously looking for and definitely will become a part of my film. When the scene, which I was observing just because of curiosity, following my intuition helped that something that I knew subconsciously now I can understand on a conscious level - this is a process of personal development, which has no ending.

Q: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your work as a filmmaker?

A: Pandemic affected my work first of all because it affected my emotional status and state of mind. It is challenging to keep working on the project, which digs deep in personal issues from the past while the present is so unclear, burning and full of actual, severe and universal problems. It was also challenging to adjust the production plan, adopt it to the change while the future remains vague.

Q: What inspires you the most in your creative journeys?

A: The biggest inspiration comes from people, who watch my films, feel, listen to me and understand. My work actually is the most precious part of me, which I decided to share with others.

Q: Can you compare your experience at CIRCLE with other similar platforms that you have been part of?

A: Circle is now my measuring standard. I compare all my previous and will compare all my future experiences with it. The atmosphere, which encourages to be open and to share the deepest flows of emotions, thoughts, fears and all the feelings, which is the basics of creative work, was the best. It was fantastic, how well organized, formal part of the activities was merged with an absolutely free, informal atmosphere.

Q: What were the most important benefits from being part of CIRCLE program?

A: The precious benefit is the circle of friends, participants and staff, whom I have never met in person but feel myself so much emotionally engaged and belonged. And fantastic people - mentors, who shared their experience and listened carefully to us.

Q: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

A: D'Est by Chantal Akerman, because watching it I have a feeling of completeness and satisfaction, which I usually feel only when I watch my own work.

Q: What is the most important thing for you as a spectator? What do you search/expect to find in films?

A: Watching the film, just like making a film for me is a subconscious process. I follow my emotions with the need to experience something. It can be related to my personal experience, awake some of my feelings or help to go through something completely new, but important for me. And visual satisfaction is something that can drag me into the film.

Q: What advice do you have for other (female) directors?

A: Let’s follow ourselves and feel free. <3

Film still from Gogaladze's project Ever Since I Knew Myself

Join us next Friday at 12PM CET when we will talk with our Brazilian participant Barbara Cunha about her project God is a Woman!

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