‘Reconnection’ has been featured in a beautifully written ISKCON News article by Madhava Smullen. Below is a shortened excerpt from it.
We started filming and soon realized that it was not going to be easyMaksim VarfolomeevOriginally from Omsk, Siberia, Maksim Varfolomeev worked in commercials and as an editor for local TV channel Agava. His wife Olga Avramenko had been assistant editor for a regional network of newspapers.
From the beginning they always heard of Vrindavan as a powerful, mystical place, and after a visit in 2005 that gave them the bug, they returned in 2009 to make a documentary about its many holy sites.
Reconnection tells the story of Sean Fletcher (portrayed in a naturalistic way by non-actor Armand Gachet), a tech-savvy professional who drops by Vrindavan on his way to Nepal. Fletcher is on the wrong side of the digital divide – he conducts his relationships through Skype and Facebook while ignoring people right in front of him – and is harried by his job and problematic romantic life (his Facebook relationship status is “It’s complicated”).
But as the Vrindavan experience breaks down his sanitized bubble – one where the question “How are you?” doesn’t warrant a real answer – it starts to look like Fletcher might discover the love and warmth of personal relationships, and through that reconnect with his own heart and values.
To capture the journey shown on film, the filmmakers often simply placed Armand Gachet in an environment, made the camera invisible, and waited to see what would happen next. Much of the magic is watching local Brijabasis play themselves.
“We had to leave our house at 4:00am to reach our destination before sunrise, and then we had 2 or 3 hours to shoot, because by 8:00am, the sun was burning,” Maksim says. “Often, when we got to a location, within a couple of minutes the locals would gather around, staring, standing in front of the camera, asking us to take their picture, and it became impossible to film.”
As Sean Fletcher says in a quote that bookends Reconnection, “People can change you. Places can change you. Some places you search out to find. Others have a way of finding you.”
Reconnection has been submitted to Sundance, Raindance, the Toronto Independent Film Festival, The Indian Cine Film Festival in Mumbai, and the Leeds International Film Festival in the UK among others.
Read the full article by Madhava Smullen originally published in ISKCON News.
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