Power Trip

Independent Lens Host, Susan Sarandon, on Power Trip

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Power Trip had a great run – critical acclaim, awards, festivals and broadcasts all over the world.  But perhaps more importantly, it also had real impact on international privatization policy with special screenings at institutions like the World Bank and the U.S. State Department. That ride culminated in the PBS Broadcast on Independent Lens

This intro from host by Susan Sarandon was very gratifying for all of us.  For me and producer Claire Missanelli these moments made all the hard work worthwhile.

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Power Trip Extra - "Paraskiing Music Video"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This is a fun, extended scene that was cut out in the final version of Power Trip.

One of the fringe benefits of going through the struggle of living and working in a developing country, is that you also have opportunities you could never get away with in developed countries.

Everything is cheaper and less regulated. Piers would have never been able to build his own chalet in a ski resort in the States. Paraskiing straight off the mountain would be a nonstarter and helicopter skiing would be prohibitively expensive, if it were allowed. But for an expatriot in the Republic of Georgia, all this is possible.

Not that regulations are bad. I had no intention of going Paraskiing myself - looked way too dangerous. But then I realized I needed to get the POV shot to make the scene complete, shrugged my shoulders and almost got killed when my guide bungled the takeoff.

The version of this scene in Power Trip generated criticism at some festival screenings: "How could Piers and his colleagues be enjoying themselves when they've created so much suffering for the people of Tbilisi. Shame on them!" Fair enough - I'm documenting, not defending. On the other hand, I suppose you could make that argument against any fun, any time, anywhere, when people are suffering elsewhere in the world.

So enjoy this little adventure - but not too much.

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Power Trip Excerpt - "Winter Riots"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This excerpt from Power Trip shows a dark time for the Republic of Georgia – literally.

But it is cinematic gold for a filmmaker. Huge stakes, direct conflict and heightened drama. These events contributed to making Power Trip so important and successful.  The shots are a mix between archive footage from Rustavi-2 news, and footage I shot myself when I was in Tbilisi. Those shots were difficult to get. The mood was very tense, and I was getting hassled, mostly by little kids tugging at my camera if you can believe it. Also Piers was unsure and nervous and really didn’t want me to shoot in those situations. We had a big argument at one point over whether he would wear the wireless mic.

Luckily for the movie, I prevailed.  Once I was home, these scenes were a joy to edit, especially with the evocative Georgian music. I am thankful and happy for the Georgians that these demonstrations no longer occur in Tbilisi.

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Power Trip Extra - "Georgian Cartoon"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This animated parody of the electricity crisis in Georgia, is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Georgians. With amazing good nature, they are able to find humor in the worst situations.

When I heard about this cartoon on my 2nd or 3rd trip to Tbilisi to film Power Trip, I didn’t take much notice. But after I saw it, I realized that it was gold for my movie. One of my main characters, Mike Scholey, was animated on national television in Georgia! Not only that, but the scene he’s in – banging on a table, cursing about disconnecting the President’s electricity - is hilarious.  I had a ball milking it in Power Trip. That section never failed to get a huge laugh in screenings and was great relief. Those little moments can sell a movie about a difficult topic and make it memorable.

Here’s a rare opportunity to see the cartoon in its entirety.  It turns out to be a truly bizarre, surreal trip into the dream-life of then President Eduard Shevardnadze, with lots of inside jokes about his hair and accent.  Enjoy!

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Remembering Claire

Friends and family of Claire Missanelli gathered this past Sunday to pay tribute to a powerful women who touched so many lives with her kind heart.  The memorial was poignant and cathartic, with eloquent expressions of joy and sorrow in words and music.  This video is from our colleague in Tbilisi Georgia, Valeri Odikadze, the Georgian co-producer of Power Trip.  It sums up the love that Claire inspired.

Power Trip Excerpt: "Polyglot Nexus"

Posted by Paul Devlin:I spent a lot of time in the Republic of Georgia making Power Trip. Like the main character Piers, I fell in love with the place. I think this excerpt makes that clear. The montage element gave me a wonderful opportunity to use a whole bunch of gorgeous footage I collected that wouldn’t fit elsewhere. And the track is perfect – Georgian music was a delightful discovery for me and many of the viewers of Power Trip.This section is an essential digression. It invests viewers in the people and the country, providing an emotional connection to both Georgia and the main character Piers. Now they care so much more about everything that takes place after, making the movie much more impactful. Enjoy.Power Trip DVD Power Trip Trailer

In Memorial of Richard Holbrooke...

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Very saddened to hear about the death of Richard Holbrooke.  His son David is a friend and fellow independent filmmaker.  David runs the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, where my movie Power Trip played in 2004.  

Richard was in the audience and had recently visited the Republic of Georgia.  He had a lot to say during the Q&A, sparking a very lively discussion about the challenges in Georgia in particular and of privatization in general.  I had some one-on-one time with Richard after the film and we followed-up over email, with Richard eventually recommending Power Trip to George Soros.  It was an honor to engage with Richard personally and through my work.

My heartfelt condolences go out to David and his family.

Power Trip Extra - "Rose Revolution"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Seven years ago today, President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned, climaxing the "Revolution of Roses" in the Republic of Georgia.

About a year after Power Trip premiered, this short documentary was made by the Georgian co-producer of Power Trip, Valeri Odikadze. Valeri documented the dramatic, inspiring events of the bloodless Rose Revolution in Tbilisi that brought to power the reforming Presidency of Mikhail Saakashvilli in Georgia.

In Power Trip, journalist Leeka Basilaia laments the needless assassination of her colleague Giorgi Sanaia: The people were “ready to rise,” but no leader emerged at that time. This piece demonstrates what happens when that leader emerges.

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Power Trip Excerpt: "Krazy Kiosk"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This was one of the most talked about scenes in Power Trip.  The dangerous tangled web of illegal wires is a strange surreal image for people living in wealthy countries.  All too familiar for those in poorer countries.

The element of social collapse is vivid, and the sense of danger inherent in such a milieu, brought to the foreground by the very real threat of accidental electrocution. Personally I was so exhilarated by the great shots I was getting, I was probably less careful than I should have been.

This was shot on my 2nd trip to Tbilisi.  I wasn’t sure I had a movie yet, but capturing scenes like this made me realize there was a fascinating story unfolding here.  The struggle over electricity in Georgia might provide a manageable metaphor for the overwhelming story of traumatic post-Soviet transition to capitalism.

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