He sold a car to buy equipment for shooting

He sold a car to buy equipment for shooting

Maxim Garmash is not a professional director.

Meeting with relatives of Australian spiders, a thunderstorm in the middle of a swamp, the secret life of beavers and six months to make a 30-minute movie about this. Author of documentaries “In the Kingdom of the Belarusian Beaver” and “Secrets of the Belarusian Loch Ness. Devil's Lake”, included in the State Register of Films, Maxim Garmash told the GP journalist where there used to be a sea in Grodno, how shells bite and why spiders can haunt a person.

According to his first education, he is a saxophonist. He works in the IT field. And the movie is just a hobby. However, the work of the Grodno region was awarded by the jury of several international competitions. So, recently, these paintings at the Republican Open Competition of Amateur Films named after Yuri Tarich, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Belarus, took second place in the nomination “Non-fiction film (Documentary film)”. In total, 215 films from five countries participated in the competition.


Earlier, a film about beavers won a diploma of the Ist degree among local lore films at the competition “Traveling through the Sineoka”. He also appeared in the longlist of the International Film Festival “Lift-Off. First-Time Filmmaker Sessions October 2019” and was broadcast on the online platform of the legendary Pinwood English film studio for a week.

Maxim says his main message is that it’s not necessary to go to distant lands for beauty. It starts right outside the window. Because the Belarusian nature is simply amazing. That is what he is trying to show in his films.

The origins

- Where did you get this interest in nature, its study?

- Since the 80s. My 21st school was in Grodno on Dombrovsky. A very beautiful forest area of Pyshky is nearby and our first teacher Anna Petrovna Korshunova constantly took us there, told us about nature, history. I remember how impressed I was that in the place where the chalk quarries are now, there was a sea for a long time. And there you can still find fossils that are millions of years old.

Or maybe it all started even earlier. My parents and I lived on Liza Chaykina Street and often went outdoors. Grandfather, a cyclist himself, and “infected” me with this, we often went to the forest.


Since then I have been fascinated by our nature. Once carried away by shooting, I just can not stop.

- Immediately took up the camcorder or started with a photo?

- I photographed as a student. Then I had a Lomo camera: as soon as I collect money - right after the film. Then he started shooting a video. So now at home - a whole laboratory, constantly buying new equipment. Even the car had to be sold in order to buy the necessary cameras. From the latter, for example, a camera for underwater shooting. There is even an underground endoscopic camera, with its help somehow I shot spiders deep in a hole.

What interesting things can you find!

- Tell me.

Grodno Stonehenge and Loch Ness

-So you know that we have our own Stonehenge? Near Sopotskin in the middle of the forest circles are laid out with huge boulders. Where from? How?

And when he plunged behind Nemnovo, he found biting shells. They are small, but if such a “bite”, you will feel. Or on the Cretaceous quarries found relatives of the Sydney funnel spiders. In Australian chelicera, a nail is even pierced. Ours, of course, is much safer. What interesting things I learned about them: they are very vindictive. If they are pissed off, an hour may follow. With a spider speed, of course, 3-4 km / h, but still. And they weave an interesting web: if they saw, there are craters in the ground, braided from above by a web. This is their job.


- And where is Loch Ness? How does this relate to Devil's Lake?

-There are many mysteries related to Devil's Lake. It is located in the forest, about five kilometers before reaching Porechye. It’s not easy to get to him, there is a quagmire around. Here on it, sometimes waist-deep in a swamp, falling through, I carried all 40 kilograms of equipment. Filming under water is also difficult, since this is a peat lake and the transparency of the water is not more than half a meter.

There is a version that it was in this area that Napoleon left his treasure. I also read that a meteorite was falling into the lake. I specifically checked the radiation background, it is lower there than around.

So Loch Ness ... When I lowered the probe from the boat into the water, I accidentally discovered a furrow at the bottom - as if someone had made it with its tail. But the lake is dead, there is no living creature in it. Underwater current too. So where does the furrow come from? The riddle.

I don't care neither snow, nor rain

-Does it take a long time to compose material for a 30-minute film?

- The film “In the Kingdom of the Belarusian Beaver” turned out to be 39-minute. For it I went to shoot every six months from early spring in any weather every weekend. And before that I studied the area for a long time to find this beaver Eldorado - the place where they built dams, made waterfalls, dams, arranged their huts ... Found in the reserve "Lakes".


- It’s not enough to find a place, you still have to wait for successful shots, to catch the moment ...

- And this is the main difference between documentary films. There are no artists you say where to become, and if the spirit of nature is the director of my movie. The beaver sits, washes, then begins to wash the fur coat, and when he leaves the frame, the next animal immediately appears. As artists: one played, and then another actor comes out. It was unexpected and very exciting. So the film was born from the successful shots that the beaver showed me about his life,

- What do your family and spouse usually say when you are going every weekend - and to shoot?

- Literally, "The main thing is that the stones do not fall from the sky." She knows: I’ll go in any weather. Although the situations are different. When he shot beavers, he fell into a storm. From all sides lightning was struck in a swamp. It’s about an hour's drive to the car. When he was already leaving, he fell into a water stream on a forest road. Creepy: night, storm, and nobody around.

But all the same, for me with a camera walking in the woods is a vacation. Because the rest of the time you have to sit in the office.


There are so many interesting things in the world! And life flies very quickly. Therefore, I try to make the most of my time in order to see and show something myself to others, especially children and youth. It is painful to see when they go abroad. You can find yourself and be realized here.

- Can you make the TOP-3 of the most interesting places in the region for a weekend break?

- I’ll immediately call the village of Berezhany on the banks of the Neman. In the 1960s and 70s, our artists often went to open air, their friends from other republics came. The places are really amazing. The second is places beyond Sopotskino. And the third is the reserve "Lakes". It is large, 22 thousand hectares. So everyone will find there an ideal place to relax.

And again to the roots

-Now I understand where does your interest in nature come from. And the knowledge of how to make films? You are a musician, an IT specialist ...

- In our college of arts, which I graduated from, excellent teachers. They taught to see beauty and work efficiently. Vladimir Mikhailovich Sergeychik is a very strong director, he gave a lot to students. In addition, we had disciplines where we studied the technical means of cultural enlightenment: cameras, projectors, storyboards, installation plans. Teachers laid the foundation, the foundation, and then you want to - develop yourself.

- However, the pleasure of making films is not cheap ...

- Yes, but this is also solved: pitches, fundraising. Now the main thing is desire and talent. I'm shooting for my own.

Do you have two significant films in your creative biography?

- If we talk about films of a good amateur level, then three. Another is Anna's Diary of 2013, a feature film about breast cancer. He was also the winner of competitions; he was shown in the countries of the European Union.

- Finally: what's in the creative plans?

- I want to go to a more professional level: actors, composer, equipment. Already have an idea, it will be a feature film. And, as always, about the Grodno region.

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