Story about Tamaz gains some structure

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

I knew that a film based on Tamaz Jalagania would be very interesting, but I didn’t have a story. In other words, I had a character, but no plot. Storytellers in any medium use conflicts and resolutions of those conflicts in order to capture and hold their audience’s interest. So I knew that Tamaz would be the hero who resolves all conflicts, but what are those problems, challenges, obstacles, or enemies?

After spending more time with Tamaz, I realized that the problem occurred at the national level. There was almost no one left in Georgia who could create historically accurate replicas of some important elements of its material culture: swords and guns. One of those few craftsmen is Tamaz.

So here is an outline of my story (but it will undoubtedly evolve):

•  Tamaz Jalagania or his assistants do fine detail work on a gun or sword that is almost finished. Meanwhile, Tamaz talks about how he is one of the last people in Georgia who can do this work and how he is training apprentices to continue such work.

•  Museum curators talk about the importance of artifacts for understanding Georgia’s history. I hope these people will also say that weapons, such as guns and swords, are particularly valuable artifacts because they make up a significant aspect of Georgian culture. We can show some items in the museum(s), especially guns and swords, and have the curators explain who used them, when, where, and why they were, and are important.

•  We use archive video from Georgian Public Broadcasting to show Tamaz or another craftsman making guns or swords.

•  Show souvenirs of historical guns and swords. Souvenir salespeople talk about how popular they are and how much they cost.

•  Someone says that replicas of museum-lodged historical artifacts are valuable. He/she specifically talks about the value of replicas of historic guns and swords. Tamaz talks about the gold and silver that he uses. He talks about clients for his work.

•  Tamaz and/or his apprentices make a sword/gun from start to finish. Tamaz explains how he learned to do this type of work and why the work is challenging. It takes at least six months to create such a replica. In addition, Tamaz’s three apprentices talk about their work with Tamaz.

•  Former apprentices, who have graduated, talk about what they are doing now and what, if anything, they gained by working with Tamaz. We show them at work.

•  We show other sides of Tamaz. He is not only a craftsman, but he also loves other aspects of Georgian culture. For example, he is one of the people who wears chokhas.

• We continue to develop Tamaz as the film’s primary character. We show that he is an opera singer, storyteller, and collector of antique saddles and samovars. We show that his home is like a museum.

•  Georgia’s minister of culture talks (1 minute) about Tamaz and his work. He explains that President Saakashvili buys guns and swords from Tamaz and then gives them to prominent individuals inside and outside Georgia as gifts. He talks about how Saakashvili will open a museum to display Tamaz’s work.

•  Ending. Focus on Tamaz, a lover of Georgian culture, a storyteller, a craftsman, and so on.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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