Tinatin Gurchiani's "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear" begins as an experiement as various youths of the country of Georgia arrive at a casting call only to spill their personal stories to the camera. The myriad of lives shared in the film, which screened as a part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition, provides an intimate and raw glimpse into the challenges faced by the young people of the former Soviet territory.
What It's About: An unusual casting call for youths who believe their lives are ready-made for film. Their authentic stories are touching, comedic, and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once.
And So It's Really About: This film is about people born into different circumstances. No one can choose what life has prepared for them; we can only try to make the best of it. It’s unclear how much control we really have over the paths of our lives, but it is worth fighting for.
What's been your path to filmmaking? I’ve wanted to make movies since I was child. This decision was clear to me very early on. I even bet a friend 100 gumballs that I would be a film director one day. This kind of gumball was very expensive at that time, so I was risking a lot! But I won. Unfortunately they aren’t produced anymore.
I started as a child by watching classic movies, even when I wasn’t allowed–in the middle of the night, with the room dark and the television muted. But I never tried to make movies until I started studying film. It was something too sacred to just play around with. I went to Germany when I was 18, alone. During this time it was very chaotic in Georgia. I tried to find myself somewhere else. Since then I have studied painting, choreography, photography, graduated university with a degree in psychology, and later got my PhD. These experiences have been an important part of my life, but all of them are really steps on the path to my goal of making films.
What was your single biggest challenge in bringing this to the screen? The biggest challenge was staying with each protagonist a maximum of two or three days. I would become completely immersed in the most personal issues of their lives, and then we would have to go our separate ways. I became very close with these people, and had to find a way to show the truth of their stories while keeping in mind how showing this film around the world would impact their lives. I had to be very careful with my editing for this reason.
What will you expect of Sundance audiences? "When Writing the Story of Your Life, Don't Let Anything Else Hold The Pen." I hope this film makes you inspired and happy in a strange way even if its not a happy film, but because of all those beautiful people.
What's next for you? Now I have ready a screenplay for my long fiction film. I’m thinking about it, in which country I will realize it. It can be everywhere, even in USA. the most beautiful thing in your country is, that all the stories and all encounters between people are possible and believable and authentic. It’s a drama about a man, who decided to give everything to others but trying not to get anything back. And I have also 2 feature documentaries work in progress.
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on January 17 for the latest profiles.