Currently in Production
Filming: 2017 - Film Release: 2019
A film by
in co-production with
in cooperation with
with the support of
Nobody remembers how it started: but since more than 2000 years, from the east regions of China to the middle of Europe, at the villages’ campfires to internet's youtube today, people are sharing and transmitting their stories and sorrows with one instrument: the Saz.
And it is still happening on our doorstep, nearly invisible but every day renewed. although being hundreds of years old. This beloved tradition, ignored by many, was brought by the Turkish migrants when they arrived in Germany. 50 years later, this "heritage" is being played more passionately than ever. In Berlin, Kreuzberg, once you start noticing it, you hear and see it everywhere: in shops, backeries, kebabhouses, carried on kid's backs, played and then ... shared by millions all over Youtube. The SAZ is the key to their history and to their hearts.
However, no one around seems to have noticed this sound: the sound of the Saz.
Petra Nachtmanova is one of the few Western European players of the Saz. Praised by musicians on Turkish TV and on social networks for her passion, she is relentless in trying to understand why this instrument remains so central in the cultures after thousands of years.
She therefore decides to take to the road, to follow the traces of the Saz back through more than seven countries: We will follow her from Berlin, through hidden villages of the Balkans, chaotic Istanbul, the plains of Anatolia, the mountains of the Caucasus, to the "Asiks" of Azerbaijan and the mysterious region of Khorassan where some say the Saz was perhaps born. Petra Nachtmanova will travel to uncover the unwritten legends told in the songs of the Saz, on a search in these symbolic places to hear what today's musicians, who are part and parcel of their regions’ heritage, are feeling, living and expressing.
From every step of her journey clips of her discoveries will be posted on the internet and through Media partnerships with several paltforms we will raise awarness around the project in more than 5 countries.
SAZ: a documentary road-movie; a collaboration between Turkey and Europ where both will collaborate to celebrate an object crossing frontiers and bringing people together. A journey through the eyes of a European in search of a collective culture of people; from city to city, from plains to mountains — following the songs on the road of the Saz, to create a bridge between culture and time.
I believe movies can offer new perspectives and can open the mind to these new ways of seeing things. We live in a moment where violence, extremism, spectacular events, and simplifications of everyday life are filling the audiovisual landscape. I am making this film with the intention to provide a bridge between cultures, to show that exchange and communion is still possible. I want to shed new light on a culture too often reduced to its stereotypes, and to show that it is possible to understand and maybe even fall in love with another culture.
Many years ago, I discovered the sound and the stories of the Saz. I discovered its magic and was captivated by what it meant. I also realised that, around me, everybody would only see the kebabs, the women wearing scarfs and the mosques, but that nobody had heard about the Turkish passion for music and poetry. Everybody, I should say, until I met Petra Nachtmanova.
Making the movie SAZ means for me taking a deliberate step aside from the usual coverage of "oriental" culture. I want to tell a story of discovery and adventure through the eyes of a young woman diving full-heartedly into another culture. This film will document the journey of Petra slowly revealing the hidden story of the instrument. From trains to taxis, closely following her steps and her
encounters, the movie will bring the search to life from a subjective point of view. To document the process of the search for me is as important as the search itself and its outcome. The film will be close to the reality of a lively culture through these magic moments: when a musician improvises in a market, when passengers on a train start to sing along, when some people spontaneously dance together in a cafe. Close to the situation, observational but not distanced, the camera will be part of these situations like a companion travelling side by side with Petra.
Oral transmission has transported the culture of the Saz for 2000 years from Central Asia to Berlin. In this technological age, this archaic system is now confronted with a violent acceleration of transmission. This movie will take the opposite direction, to translate, unearth, and celebrate this oral tradition. What value does it still have today? What is its role in the quality of the transmission of knowledge? How will it survive in the future? These are some questions this film will approach.
This movie will be a passionate and humanist experience, from a subjective perspective, on the culture and the music of the Saz: its origin, its evolutions, its combinations and integration in economical, sociological and historical contexts in all the countries that Petra will cross. This Road-movie aims to bring a new perspective on a culture that is not or only poorly known in the west. Only what you know you can understand and maybe even love.
Stephan Talneau - Director www.stephantalneau.com
Stephan Talneau is a film-maker, editor and a director with 12 years of experience in the film industry.
Within this framework, he has been awarded with Jonestown Paradise Lost, won the Playback Best Canadian Program Award at the 2007 BANFF WORLD TELEVISION AWARDS as Film- Editor, and was invited to Berlinale Talent Campus and BBC Film network as a Film Director.
Additionally, his first Berlin project, Jump from a Platform, was also featured by the BBC Film Network and screened in Berlin, Paris and Jerusalem.
As a professional Film-Editor his credits also include numerous feature length programmes on international channels like the BBC, History Channel, Discovery Channel, France 2, Canal Plus as well as selections at Film Festivals. As an offline editor he has worked with many well- known networks, projects and artists.
Currently, Talneau continues his collaboration with SASHA WALTZ and Guests and he is running the “BerlinerMoment” project, where he brings together his documentaries on innovative international musicians in Berlin and live concerts of the same artists he has filmed.
Back & Forth – Four Tet – Music Video Directing and editing. 2005
>Screened on the “BBC FILM NETWORK
Jump from a Platform - Exp. Short Film
Directing and editing. 2007
>Screened on the “BBC FILM NETWORK BERLIN NEXT” selection, Paris; DEFROST festival, Jeruslamen
Let the Lolitas Dream - Doc - 45'
Directing and editing. 2003
>Produced with the support of the CNC (Centre National de la Cinematographie)
ART WAR - Doc - 90' - Cinema/Arte
>Special Mention Prize in the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival 2013
The GlenCoe Massacre - Doc.Drama - 60' - BBC Editor
Ulrike Ottinger, Die Nomadin von See – Documentary – 90’ - ARTE
>BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2012 in the section PANORAMA
Primaires au PS - Documentary – 90’ - Canal+
Jonestown – Paradise Lost – Docu-drama – 100'
>Playback Best Canadian Program Award at the 2007 BANFF WORLD TELEVISION AWARDS.
Petra Nachtmanova - Protagonist
At the age of 16, Petra Nachtmanova was walking barefoot in the Austrian capital, and discovered a talent finding four-leaf clovers. She found a unique way to satisfy her quest for her own identity in music, as she never knew what to answer when she was asked where she came from.
Born in Vienna to a Polish mother and a Czech father, Petra's mother tongues are Polish, Czech and German. She held two passports until the age of seven when she had to decide and finally opted for the Austrian one.
As a person and as a musician, Petra Nachtmanova does not fit into any box. Never forgetting her multicultural origins, she has always naturally created bridges between people and cultures through music. Whether in China, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Austria or Turkey, she has always adopted musical and singing styles to reach a form of recognition in each culture.
The Saz film will combine the interest in cultural traditions that she is following in her studies of Central Asia at the Humboldt University of Berlin, with her wide-ranging musical activities. Avoiding planes and cars, she is a traveller who prefers trains or even horses to take time to reach any destination. Then she gets directly in contact with the people and speaks with them in their own language – she has mastered eight languages so far.