Doc Lounge exchange at CinéDOC-Tbilisi for the third time!

In May a delegation from Doc Lounge HQ, Doc Lounge Malmö and Doc Lounge Tampere visited Tbilisi, Georgia, to attend CinéDOC-Tbilisi International Film Festival and host a 4 day workshop for regional film coordinatores. It was a week filled with new experiences, new friends and new film! Read about our thoughts and our experience from a really interesting city and this unique project.

The visit to Tbilisi is a part of the project Doc Lounge Caucasus. This is a two-year training program for regional film coordinators from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, who will screen and discuss contemporary documentary films in rural communities. An unique exchange between the Nordic countries and the Caucacus region in project between Doc Lounge, Noosfera Foundation and documentary film festivals CinéDOC-Tbilisi and Apricot Tree Documentary Film Festival.

The aim of the project is about finding spaces and strategies to screen contemporary documentary films in new places, for example in rural communities. During this workshop participants from all caucasus regions were attending. The workshop took place in Tbilisi during the festival and the goal with this four day training programme is to make a first sketch of their project and a pitch for the screenings or mini-festivals that the participants will host in their region.

Among the guest speakers at the workshop were Sam Grooves from Flatpack festival in Birmingham and Tue Steen Müller from Denmark, who also participates as a jury member at the festival.

Thank to CinéDOC-Tbilisi for having us!

Doc Lounge Caucasus is project that is funded by the Swedish Institut. Read more about the whole project here.

Here are some thoghts from Maja Goffe, Karolina Friberg and Liina Härkönen who together with Maja Lindquist (Doc Lounge HQ) were a part of the Doc Lounge delegation:

“First of all I would like to thank all the partners involved in the Caucasus-project for this amazing opportunity! Going to Tbilisi, attending this really important film festival and meeting these wonderful and creative people have been a true pleasure. Spending the days learning about the Caucasus region and how we face the same challenges and have the same goals has been a true inspiration for my future work with Doc Lounge Malmö. Documentary films can be fun and inspiring - but it can also be dead serious and a game changer for a region.

During the workshop I had the pleasure to hold a presentation about Audience Development. I had the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts on the subject and explain how we at Doc Lounge work with our audience. The presentation was much appreciated among the participators and it is always great to share knowledge with others. And of course this was also a reminder that even though we live in different countries, with diffenrent cultures and norms, we share the same motivation to screen documentary films and to share the world of documentary film with others.

To be a part of the workshop and listen to all the participators ideas was also very helpful to me as a project manager in Malmö. When we always strive for creating new, exciting places to screen movies and not to screen in cinemas, these people don’t always have that choice. Many of the regions don’t have a proper cinema and therefor they have to create spaces and invent new places for screenings. That is one of many examples of how privileged we are in the Nordic country. Also, while we struggle to make audience come a rainy Tuesday in November, some of these coordinators has to take the threats from IS-terrorist in consideration. Others becomes political activist just by screening a film outside of the governments control. I’m so impressed with all the participants strong will to make a change in their regions, contribute to their societies well-beeing and create something fun and joyful whilst educate and changes norms.  

An exchange like this really motivates me to be as bold, daring and exploring as Doc Lounge statement declares. We live in open and free country with all possibilities - we have no excuses not to try everything at least once.

- Maja Goffe, project manager Doc Lounge Malmö, Sweden

"It was a true privilege for me to get the opportunity to go to Georgia and participate in the CinéDOC Tbilisi workshop for regional coordinators. Since I’m still quite new at Doc Lounge it was really rewarding to get a deeper understanding of the business, what we do, and can do for others with our knowledge.

I also loved hearing about the participants challenges and compare them to the challenges we face here in Sweden. When it comes down to it it’s rather comforting to hear we face the same struggles, but it was also really inspiring to hear about the different creative solutions that’s come out of those challenges.

Lastly I’m really impressed by the organisers for putting together such an amazing festival, the participants for being so dedicated to their own projects and our training, and my colleagues for delivering great presentations and facilitiation. 10 out of 10, I would do it again!"
- Karolina Friberg, coordinator and administrator Doc Lounge HQ

"I had the pleasure of representing the Finnish Doc Lounges at the Regional Coordinators' Training at CinéDOC Tbilisi, Georgia. It was my first time in Tbilisi, but I had heard great things about it from Doc Lounge alumni, Ilja, who is currently running a hotel there, so I was excited to get to see it for myself! 

The training workshop had participants from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, many from areas without even a cinema, let alone any film events or festivals. In addition, they might have to face material and cultural challenges that many of us in Nordic countries never really have to think about. I was inspired by the participants' enthusiasm and drive while planning their events, aimed to bring awareness about issues involving women, ethnic minorities and people displaced by conflicts near and far, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the community spirit.  These planned events and 'mini-festivals' have the potential to impact the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people, and I look forward to hearing how they turn out! 

And Tbilisi did not disappoint! Loved the the spring weather (like summer in Finland), the food, the wine, the Amirani Cinema with the comfiest seats ever, and meeting like-minded documentary lovers from around the world at the CinéDOC festival. Hope to be back some day!"

- Liina Härkönen, Doc Lounge Tampere, Finland