Itay Marom

Filmmaker, cinematographer and visual artist

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

I’m a filmmaker, cinematographer and visual artist based in Tel-aviv and Berlin. During the Saari Residence, I would like to edit my second feature documentary – “Observation Diary”.

The film is based on Amit Geffen’s observation diaries. Amit was a young Israeli bird-watcher, who suffered from a genetic disease that kept him small framed and frail.

From a young age till his death at 21, Amit had diligently kept observation diaries in which he wrote descriptions of his birdwatching. He was reporting the location, the date, the duration, the weather and the names and numbers of the birds had identified. After every report, he added a short paragraph in which he wrote insights and feelings. Alongside the report, he used to beautifully paint the rare birds he had seen.

The film consists of a cinematographic diary I’ve filmed throughout an entire year, in the locations where Amit had bird-watched, on the same date and at the same hours. I’m taking inspiration from his methods and insights but observing these locations from my own perspective, with my own visual background and cinematographic experience.

Due to his illness, Amit had to develop his own method of observation, which was less mobile and stationary. He used to watch birds in the most mundane places – behind his house, on the side of roads or in the hospital’s yard, where he used to pass the time between treatments.

This special meditative way, in which he could find the beauty and excitement in the most mundane places, is the core of this project and the motivation for me to explore new ways of listening and seeing.
My project deals with the way we observe and live with the natural world around us and thus I’m sure the beautiful surroundings in the Saari Manor will be an important inspiration.