Kamen Stoyanov

Formation of Shadows

experimental documentary movie, 10:00 min, 2019


cinematography........................Kamen Stoyanov and Katharina Swoboda

sound design...............................Sara Pinheiro



The film deals with shadow theatre, which was already known in antiquity and which the Georgian theatre and film director Gela Kandelaki approached by reducing the use of puppets to the use of the hands of the actors only. The idea came about as a cost-efficient form of artistic expression in Soviet Georgia. During the period of the Soviet Union, shadow theatre was not recognized, and the director staged the first major performance in Paris in 1990.


The film comprises three parts, titled after the names of the places in which the cinematographic action takes place: Tbilisi, Gori and Zemo Nikozi. In the first part Kamen Stoyanov meets Gela Kandelaki in the shadow theatre Budrugana Gagra. We witness a group rehearsal and a conversation with performers who came from the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The second part deals with the ideological legacy of Stalin´s birth town and the ways in which it struggles with the Georgia´s new course. The third part of the film takes place in the village of Zemo Nikozi, situated on the demarcation line with South Ossetia, which suffered tremendous damage during the five-day conflict in 2008.After the conflict, the village founded an art school at which children can, among other activities learn and practice the hand shadow art of the Budrugana Gagra theatre. This is also where Kamen Stoyanov attended the tenth anniversary of the end of the conflict marked by the annually happening animation film festival.