We have just finished a very successful research trip in which we've captured about 6 hours of footage that we hope to use for a short documentary and trailer to help promote the film.
The research trip started with four days of location scouting in Tbilisi’s old town in which we found two promising locations for the beginning of the film in which the history of Georgia is told in one continuous shot with a traditional Georgian choir connecting past to present. The first location is in a narrow alley adjacent to an ancient church with grapes hanging overhead from a trellis. We liked the idea of grapes hanging overhead as Georgia is one of the oldest wine making countries in the world and wine has played a major part in the country's cultural identity. The second location we found is in the Narikala Fortress on the hills above old town. We liked the texture and the fact that after a tracking shot a pan will reveal Tbilisi’s old and new quarters in one frame.
We then traveled to Katskhi village located about three hours northwest of Tbilisi and 10min. from the pillar. On our first night we went to the pillar to introduce ourselves to Father Maxim. He welcomed us with a bottle of wine and a plate of bread, cheese, and sausage. We explained the project to him and asked if we could spend a few days shooting around the pillar and the monastery below. Initially he was reluctant to allow us to film the monks but gradually they warmed to us and invited us to join them for dinner. We also spent half a day working with them as they gathered building supplies for a new roof. Our trip culminated in our being allowed to film their night service for St. Simon the Stylite on St. Simon’s day.
Now, as we catalogue the footage and start to put it together, we are actively moving towards raising the money necessary to shoot the feature length film.