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Nariman Aliev, director



"I do not know what home means to me. Probably, it is a place where my relatives are. When I come to the Petrivka village in Crimea, where my parents, friends, and relatives live, I feel comfortable: I feel that I have come to something mine. Maybe, if all my relatives and parents had moved to Kyiv or another city, I would feel at home there. Maybe I am just not old enough to fully understand what my home feels like. In my film "Homeward," I tried to think a lot about it but have not drawn unambiguous conclusions for myself. When I go to Kyiv, I say I'm coming home. When I go to Crimea, I say I'm coming home.


Everything in our life is connected to people. People make the space. Not a place, but people in there. You can have an incredible life in Kyiv, New York, or Berdyansk if you have an environment where you feel comfortable.

But you can live badly in Buckingham Palace or the White House - it all depends on the environment, whether you have it or not. My best travel memories are also connected to people.


I first came to Kyiv at 16 to enter Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University. But I failed and returned to Crimea. Then I received a letter from the Institute of Screen Arts with an invitation to pass an interview (Institute of Screen Arts is a private higher education institution). I returned to Kyiv, passed the director's entrance exam, and started studying. In September, it was ten years since I moved to the capital of Ukraine. Almost half of my life.


For me, in 2009, everything was new in Kyiv. It was a shock when I found out that I could walk from the Palace of Sports subway station to Leo Tolstoy subway station. How is it possible? Seriously, is it here? I did not understand distances and geography. At first, I lived near Chervonyi Khutor station, later I moved to the Voskresenka area and then to Darnytska Square, and I still live there. I'm so 'center-left.' We have been coming to the Maidan and Khreshchatyk during our student days. That was the city center for us. Today, my center is the Zoloti Vorota Station and Leo Tolstoy Station, but I think the first one is forced. Reitarska Street has become very active in recent years. And although my production studio is located in Yaroslaviv Val street, everyone hangs out on Reytarska anyway. Here the acting and theater faculties of Karpenko-Kary are located. And the directing faculty, where I studied after my bachelor's degree, is in Pechersk district, on the former Shchorsa Street, in a five-story building that stood in ruins and where there was no inspiration and creativity.


My producer, Volodymyr Yatsenko, really wants to shoot a local drama about Kyiv. Still, no one can write it, and I’m not even speaking about shooting it. There are many stories here, but how the city itself will be depicted in the film is a question - the city is complex from the cinema's point of view.

Nowadays, the production constantly uses the dormitory areas, but this is the aesthetics of the 1990s, and it is not the only topic we have here. Our bridges and abandoned buildings are also frequently used. I don't know anyone who has filmed Kyiv in recent history well. The city is architecturally very illogical. And about advertising policy: in the context of signs, Kyiv is miserable. If we recall Times Square in New York - this is a place of continuous advertising. But it knocks down. It is spectacular. It is a so-called exhibition of urban advertising. We do not have that.


If we talk about history, the problems of Kyiv residents are no different from the problems of any city dweller in the world. The concept will be universal. It will simply have a Kyiv character, Kyiv accent. Stories can be different: for example, I quit one job because I was tired of driving there. It was uncomfortable for me. I realized that I did not get any pleasure from it. It is the story of a man who wants to get to work in good conditions. We may have a whole series about battles in parking lots. Or it could be a war of neighbors - fantasy will be enough for several seasons. Or, for example, some developers have started construction works in your neighborhood, telling you that now there will be a shopping center. So, you can make a film about the desire to defend something yours, about a certain unity against something. We all live in some routine. And even when we talk about bad roads or some other global things, it all comes down to very routine things, to basic comfort problems. Like, the problem is not that Shuliavsky Bridge was in an emergency, but that people cannot move in that area now.



The history of the revolution in Kyiv is fascinating. What happened on the Maidan itself is one thing; what happened in the House of Trade Unions is different. There were many alterations. There was our own "Game of Thrones ."Many areas of interest had their own positions. It is fascinating from the point of view of drama and particularly the history of the city and the country. How it all happened on such a small piece of land and was in such an agreement. It is the story of a modern fortress.


In my film "Homeward" there is a phrase: "Who will need us if we do not need each other?".

It all starts with you: how you feel about yourself, the place where you live, whether you want to do something or not. If you don't need yourself and you don't need the place where you live, then no one will need it either. You add this value to yourself as a person. If you do not treat yourself with respect, no one will respect you. For me, this phrase means that everything starts with us. "


Nariman Aliev, director


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