Some time ago the whole country, Georgia, witnessed a surreal scene: a large tree floating in the sea. That was when we learned that the most powerful man in the country had a new passion, to own centuries-old trees on his private territory.
Witnessing this image was like seeing a glitch in reality, as if I had seen something I should have never seen. It was beautiful, like real life poetry, but at the same it seemed to be an error, and provoked a kind of discomfort.
I set out to film this process, as Georgia’s whole coastline was involved in implementing one man’s desire. I wanted to explore what was behind this mesmerizingly strange image; to tell about the ambition of a powerful man, who shifts landscapes, moves trees, and leaves witnesses perplexed – all for the sake of his personal pleasure.
I relate uprooting to my country, where values and a sense of stability is constantly in flux.
I am fascinated by environments and how these environments affect people. More precisely, how we perceive others, and ourselves, in specific environments. The contradiction between settings and people in them is what often drives my vision.
To me the film does not have a single-dimensional line of what it is about. The material spoke to many different aspects of life, which found symbolic expressions in the film, such as the idea of manhood, or forced migration, or uprooting, which is not just a physical process. I also relate uprooting to my country, where values and a sense of stability is constantly in flux. I see the film as an evocative journey into a surreal world, which is paradoxically fact-based.
We were filming for almost a two-year span. With my small team we would travel to the coastline each month to try to capture elements for the film. It was a challenging process as nothing was properly planned. We were depending on the natural elements like wind, rain, unexpected circumstances in the workers’ routine and even the general political situation of the day. The process of transplanting trees was very slow yet some key elements would happen very fast. But the biggest challenge was connecting to the local inhabitants. Since the rich man behind the scenes is also politically the most powerful man in the country, they were often scared to even appear in front of the camera fearing possible consequences, the fear which we, like those of other fragile democracies, have in our blood.