Emmy winner Hollywood director making a movie about Georgian monks
30 January, 2016
Emmy winner Hollywood director making a movie about Georgian monks
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Emmy winner Hollywood director and photographer James Higginson is just about to finish his new film about young Georgian monks, entitled Devout. Shootings took place at the Ruisi-Urbnisi Eparchy and this is what Mr. Higginson has to tell us:
Director James Higginson In Mzovrety Fathers Monastery ( Dzama Valley ) Georgia

- The very first time I came to Georgia was back in 2012 and I was very impressed as well as interested with the astonishing Dzama gorge. Before that, I had seen a photo of Shatberdi Monastery. One of my Georgian students showed it to me and asked if I would like to see it live. It was him who planned our first journey and when I came to Dzama gorge, I was very impressed of what I saw. I was amazed by beautiful and at the same time very stern mountainous landscapes and I felt the existence of God. I was also very interested in combination of love and obligation that characterize the monks living in this gorge. They live in extremely hard conditions. I was also very surprised when I knew their age and so I wanted to know more about them. I felt that in depicting honest and open live of these monks I would be able to look into their lives and subsequently help those people, build a bridge that connects hearts and souls and eventually helps people to overcome their differences.

- Maybe a couple of words about you new film…

- Devout is a journey in Dzama gorge monasteries, observing the life of young and old monks. In short, this is a story about faith. We are going to show natural landscapes as well, strict mountains of Caucasus that are so close and enigmatic at the same time, similar to God and faith. Devout visits closed monasteries and monks living there. We met a young and devout monk named Father Anub. He’s 22 years old and is on his way to the true faith. Despite his young age he’s very clear-sighted person and is fully absorbed in spiritual life.

After that, we met the metropolitan of Ruisi and Urbnisi Eparchy, lord Job. He spent a lot of time living ecclesiastical life and it’s him who is linked with the restoration of this area. In 1996, when by Holy Synod’s decision, he was appointed the
bishop of Ruisi and Urbnisi, there were only three churches and one monastery. Now there are almost 42 monasteries and about 200 churches. We learn a lot by interviewing him. He conveys really correct orthodox ideas. His every single message is clear and straight. There are portraits of monks in this films and we try to depict the beauty of their covered life. This is a kind of archaic utopia when you are constantly in your own spiritual area, very difficult and isolated.

- How the process of filming was carried out?

- That was a very big challenge for us and we had some problems as well, but I love my job. It’s been four years already since we began working on this film. There were some organizational and logistical problems as well as difficulties with working along with an interpreter. It was very important for us to be very careful when touching the inner nature of the monks, their modesty. We then had to create the first trailer and then receive the permission to continue. And we waited for that almost a year. It was quite difficult to raise money too but all the problems were solved and the film is approaching the end.

- How did the monks meet you and what did you like in their life?

- It was very interesting. Some of them is very open, other are very shy and modest. There are some of them who is very curious too. They asked me why I was interested in them and why I decided to make a film about them. When they knew that I was their friend and I had Patriarch’s consent, everything then went okay. The life of a monk is a constant battle. I hope the viewers will see and hear this.

- Do you plan to make some more movies in Georgia?

- If everything goes well, I want to make another film about Georgia and I already know its name – The Road to Batumi.

- If you could say a message of your film with just one word, what would it be?

- Despite every one of us having our own path in this life, we all need to go through difficulties and this is what makes our life beautiful. As for the love of God, you have to find it in an altruistic life, in truthfulness, devotion and in your ability to express your faith.

You can help raise the fund to complete the editing and sound design of the movie HERE

Also view the photo gallery from the spot:
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