Radzeli Vishnevsky: "I shoot gymnastics to show the possibilities of the human body"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Radzeli Vishnevsky: "I shoot gymnastics to show the possibilities of the human body"

Today, the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup ends in Baku. All the videos that were shown at this tournament, like many other video materials for this year's Trampoline Jumping and Gymnastics  World Cups in Baku, were directed by the media manager of the Azerbaijani Federation of Gymnastics, Radeli Vishnevsky.  On the sidelines of the competitions, a corespondent of Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the young director about the specifics of the gymnastics video content.

- First of all, how did your cooperation with the Azerbaijani Gymnastics Federation start?

- I study filmmaking at the Academy of Art in the San-Francisco University. My father works in Azerbaijan. And one day it happened so, that I had a task to shoot, and I came here and began to shoot gymnastics as a practice. Then I was noticed in AGF, the organization became interested in me, so I started working for the Federation.

- What was your first movie shot for the Azerbaijani gymnastics?

- It was a Star-Wars-style performance of the group team in rhythmic gymnastics. In general, the sport shooting is a difficult stage for the future filmmakers. When I started working at AGF, I was offered to film a commercial video for the Azerbaijani team instead of a usual advertisement. The idea was to use the stylistics of the Star Wars somehow. I said that the idea was good, especially at that moment, since the new film ‘Outcast: Star Wars’ had been just released. Rhythmic gymnastics is a freer sport than many other types, and you can use your creativity in it, showing not only the sports, but also the aesthetic component. Therefore, we decided that it would be good to draw attention to rhythmic gymnastics at first. The result turned out to be quite good - our video collected a good number of views on YouTube (about 175 thousand views - VK).

- Why is it difficult for directors to shoot sports?

- The fact is that in sports everything happens alive, live broadcasting, and there is very little time to plan the shooting. It is necessary to shoot and be creative at the same time, on the site of the event. Even in terms of promo videos, we shoot everything very quickly and then we collect the footage in the final video.

- What inspires you for shooting gymnastics, especially, since you have to shoot different events?

- At the very beginning I decided that I should put a common goal - what exactly I shoot and show. My idea is that gymnastics is a demonstration of the possibilities of the human body, we embody this idea. All our videos and commercials tend to convey to the audience a sense of how gymnasts are trying to show the maximum of what their bodies are capable of. At the same time, the difficulty is that I am not an athlete and I can not feel what gymnasts feel. I often talk with athletes so that they can tell me what it's like to be a gymnast, because my initial task to make spectators feel as if they were athletes and understand their feelings.

- How did you prepare the opening ceremony for the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup?

- In the very beginning, we had an idea to show the life story of a gymnast Marina Durunda at the opening ceremony: how she started gymnastics, how she achieves her goals over and over again, as if she is climbing in a spiral. It was not easy to implement the idea, because there are special standards for the openning ceremonies and we needed to keep within the time limits, so that audience does not lose the interest in what is happening. Therefore, we decided that we will not show everything on the stage, and will film a part of the performance. I worked closely with a choreographer so that we could not only tell the story, but also create characters that audience would understand. One can simply tell how a person was developing from year to year, but without the additional characters there will not be a full-fledged perception of a history by people, engagement in it, that is, there will be no interest.



- Do you shoot during the competitions?

- Yes, we show the main moments of the tournaments in the breaks between the performances, we remind, who and how performed the day before. And here, too, we   try to show each athlete individually, so that it was not just a video replay of the movements, but a human history. We show not only the Azerbaijani athletes, but also the foreigners, giving them an opportunity to feel closer to the tournament and Azerbaijan. And the foreigners, by the way, are very happy that we show them.

- What team participates in the shooting of videos?

- Everyone in the Federation, who has good ideas, is engaged in this work,. We all work together on this, thinking through a scenario, and I provide the technical side of the work, including lightening and installation. We really want to draw attention to gymnastics in Azerbaijan, so that people look at this sport through different eyes. In my opinion, gymnastics is a rare kind of sport, where a person really shows all his capabilities. And we want to convey this.