I love to report on unique cultures and to craft cinematic stories behind celebrated arts and traditional crafts. This is a selection of some stories I have filmed and produced over the years with subjects ranging from a village in North East India where names are songs, ongoing preservation work to digitally catalogue one of the world’s single largest collections of ancient Buddhist texts in Mongolia, the unique architecture of Pamiri houses that help save lives during earthquakes, amongst other.
Great Big Story: Georgian Dancers Push Their Physical Limits for Tradition
When dancer David Chanishvili is on stage, he believes that he can fly. Indeed, he appears to glide through the air with ease while performing for the traditional Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet in Tbilisi, Georgia. But don’t let his strength and grace fool you: to become a part of this dance troop requires rigorous training, athleticism and skill. Its blend of folk dance, classical ballet and modern dance originated over 70 years ago with the grandparents of current director Nino Sukhishvili. Now, the 100+ member ensemble travels the world bringing Georgian dance front and center stage.
Filmed and sourced stage performance images for Great Big Story
Al Jazeera: Mongolia’s ancient instrument striking a chord
The Morin Khuur or “Horse Fiddle” is Mongolia’s national instrument.
The ancient tool is still handcrafted in Mongolia and it has evolved over the years from a folk instrument used in small villages to being featured in classical western performances.
Al Jazeera: Mongolia is rediscovering its vast heritage of Buddhist literature
The practice of Buddhism in Mongolia was revived after the introduction of democracy in 1990 and has since flourished. But people there are just beginning to acknowledge the importance of the vast heritage of Buddhist literature that was stowed away during Soviet-era communist rule. Al Jazeera’s Pearly Jacob reports from Ulaanbaatar.
CCTV News: The village where names are songs
What if your name had a tune? After every birth in Kongthong, a small village in the North Easter state of Meghalaya in India, parents work for days at composing a tune by which to call out to their new born long before their official names are decided. And this tune is used as a secondary name to call out to them from infancy to old age. However, modern comforts like mobile phones could change this age old custom.
A short story filmed for Beijing based CCTV News (now CGTN) Assignment Asia program.
Al Jazeera: Tajikistan’s traditional building style withstands earthquakes
People of the Pamir Mountains in Eastern Tajikistan have lived in traditional homes that have changed little in centuries.
Although many of the houses in the region have deep traditional, cultural and religious symbolism, it’s the way they’ve been built that’s proven such a success. AL Jazeera’s Pearly Jacob reports from Gorno-Badakshan, Tajikistan.
Mongolian Contortionists Vie for UNESCO recognition
A short documentary looking at the history and background of Mongolian contortion filmed and produced thanks to Storyhunter.tv
Contortion can be seen in Cirque du Soleil or cabaret shows around the world, but for many Mongolians it’s more than just a performance. Norovsambuu Budbazar, a pioneer of modern Mongolian contortion, wants Unesco to recognise the practice as part of her country’s intangible cultural heritage.
The Valley Where Bridges Breathe
In a remote village of northeastern India, locals have been “growing” bridges from living trees for hundreds of years. A piece filmed in Meghalaya for Great Big Story.