ECF-supported film wins festival prize
An ECF-supported film about a ghost city in Armenia has won a prize at the FOKUS 2012 Film Festival in Copenhagen.
“There is a city/There is not a city” won the open call competition – and the film was screened at the opening night of the festival. The two talented Danish filmmakers, Mira Kellerman and Julie Tovgaard, travelled to the city of Gyumri in Armenia in 2011 – thanks to an ECF STEP Beyond Travel grant. They spent three days filming empty buildings, recording soundscapes and taking in the atmosphere of the city, which was ravaged by an earthquake in 1989 then left to fall to ruin after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“We decided we wanted to tell the story of the empty city in a different and mysterious way,” says Julie. “The place in itself is so abstract – it could be a moon base, it could be the set for some strange movie, it could be a ruin of a war... So we started to write different songs about possible realities of the ghost city... some of them close to the true story, some of them pure fantasy.”
The filmmakers knew that they wanted to work with soundscapes – their working title was “sound of ghosts”. They wrote songs in English first and then translated them into Armenian. Then they recorded the voices of people from Gyumri singing the haunting melodies. Only one of the singers was a professional – the other singers were people they met on the streets of the ghost city.
“We hope that presenting the place in such an abstract dream-like way, the audience will feel curious to know what happened there,” says Julie. You can see the film here. Find out more about how the film was made on Julie and Mira’s blog.
To find out more about the STEP Beyond scheme check out the new STEP Beyond Grant Lab. It's a lovely new online tool which makes it super smooth to apply for a ECF travel grant. Check if your travel plans are eligible and read other STEP beyond stories.