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A documentary, filmed in Muynak, takes honorable place at world film festivals

A documentary, filmed in Muynak, takes honorable place at world film festivals

A short documentary film by a New York director “waiting for the sea”, filmed in the city of Muynak of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, took the honorable place and titles as “Best documentary” and “Best camera work” at world film festivals in such as Moscow Shorts International Film Festival and Long Story Shorts International Film Festival.

At the same time, this film has participated in various nominations at several other international film festivals. In the film “Waiting for the Sea” the director connects the scene with electronic and folk music of the country, as well as the fate of the drying up of the Aral Sea. George Yitzhak was fascinated by the idea of the “Element” abstract electronic music festival, which was first held in September 2018 in the city of Muynak, Republic of Karakalpakstan.

The city is known for its tragic fate: once located on the southern shore of the Aral Sea and famous for its fishing industry, Muynak today is located tens of kilometers from the coast of the sea, which continues to dry.

In August 2019, he traveled to Uzbekistan for the second release of Element, as well as to immerse himself in Uzbek culture and the capital’s young electronic scene. The documentary he created presents his personal vision of an Uzbek who has never lived in Uzbekistan, and his search for links between ancient traditions and the futuristic movement.

At the same time, showing sensitivity and aesthetics, he destroys the stereotypes and clichés often used in the presentation of Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan and the Aral Sea. The main goal of the director before the trip was to try to understand the visual language of the country, immerse himself in the atmosphere and show his own experience. George Yitzhak was born in Tashkent, but grew up and lives in New York. He is a documentary and news producer on one of the best evening news shows in the United States, NBC Nightly News, and is also a director.

In an interview with a correspondent for the Novastan portal dedicated to post-Soviet Central Asia, the director talks about how he learned about the Element festival: “It all started with an image that someone shared on Facebook: it was an Element poster, and it was an image of a woman in traditional Karakalpak clothes. But at the same time it was a poster conveying the style of electronic music.

Almost like a magical painting: it combined traditional culture and the way I’m used to seeing Uzbekistan with this very young and futuristic aesthetic. The combination of these two elements impressed me a lot, I clicked on it and continued to dive into this topic. So, I learned about the Element Festival. ” Later, George contacted the organizers of the festival and began to develop a new film project. He called his co-producer Neha Hirva, who he studied with in New York, and told her: “Look, I have a crazy idea and it doesn’t cost much money, but I can promise you it will be a great adventure.”

They began to exchange images, exchange ideas, and began to explore the world of Central Asian cinema. The documentary “Waiting for the Sea” was nominated at world film festivals, where it won pride of place and the title of “Best Documentary” in such as “Long Story Shorts International Film Festival”, “Moscow shorts International Short Film Festival”, “Prague International Film Festival ”,“ Lebanese Independent Film Festival”, “Ojai Film Festival”, “In The Palace International Short Film Festival ”,“ Lonely Wolf London International Film Festival”, “Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival”. 

In the future, the director plans to show this film in the UK and Germany, where there is a large community of creative people and filmmakers, to open a window to Central Asia.