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At the bottom

Each year a group of volunteer divers organizes several expeditions to collect garbage from the bottom of Lake Issyk-Kul. Lack of financing, poor support of local authorities, adverse weather conditions - this is an incomplete list of problems that volunteers face constantly. But, driven by love to nature, they continue to fight for the cleanliness of the lake.

  • Tamara Kubaeva
  • Tamara Kubaeva
  • Tamara Kubaeva
  • Tamara Kubaeva
  • Anvar Shamsutdinov
    Underwater camera
  • Oleg Lopatko
    Underwater camera
  • Svetlana Lopatko
    Underwater camera
  • Eduard Shuliko
    Underwater camera
  • Timur Mestoev
  • Chyngyz Kadyrkulov
  • Mikhail Dudin
  • Eldiyar Madakim
  • Yrysbek Usmanov
    Music Composer
  • Kalybek Sherniyazov
    Sound editing
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    На дне
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Kirghiz, Russian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • IV Film Forum of Kyrgyzstan Women Movie Directors
    May 27, 2022
    Diploma of Ministry of Culture of Kyrgyzstan
  • Lunigiana Cinema Festival 2022
  • Smaragdni Eco Film Festival 2022
    Hrvatska Kostajnica
    Official Selection
  • Wildlife Vaasa International Nature Film Festival 2022
    Official Selection
  • XXXIII Open Documentary Film Festival "Russia"
    Russian Federation
    October 2, 2022
  • Golden Raven Film Fest 2022
    Russian Federation
    Official Selection
  • The Cardiff International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    Official Selection
  • Bir Duyno International Film Festival
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Tamara Kubaeva

Tamara Kubaeva was born in 1977 in Frunze, the capital of former Kirgiz Soviet Republic (now Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). From childhood, she was interested in cinema, loved music and art and was engaged in creativity in various forms. In 2008-2009 studied at the Academy of Classical Photography in Moscow, and since 2009 began to work as a photographer. She carried out several creative charity projects, organized exhibitions of her works in Bishkek in 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2018 entered the Higher School of Directors and Scriptwriters in St. Petersburg and completed her studies in 2020.

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Director Statement

I chose the environmental theme because, in my opinion, there is nothing more important in modern reality. The thought that we are destroying our planet, and when nature perishes, all mankind perishes, doesn’t leave me. These thoughts create anxiety and pain. At the same time, a faint hope that there is a chance to fix everything still lives in me. And I wanted to share these feelings with the viewers.
While working on the film, I got interested in the ancient Kyrgyz mythology and their attitude to nature. Like other nomadic peoples, they were aware of their inextricable connection with the world, nature and their dependence on nature. Songs and tales tell about the beauty of nature and condemn those who indulge in disrespectful or blasphemous behavior. However, nowadays these concepts are lost. The attitude towards nature has become the same as in the rest of the world, consumeristic and, therefore, destructive.
The bottom of Issyk-Kul lake is being constantly covered with new layers of garbage and old fishing nets. Year after year a group of divers try to solve this problem on their own. However, their efforts are not enough to even slow down the process of pollution. Working at depth is very energy consuming and tough, weather conditions often create additional difficulties. Nevertheless, the heroes of the film stoutly continue their work, pulling numerous bags of garbage and kilometers of nets out of the water. A younger generation of divers is already taking part in this activity. And if the problem is not solved “on the shore”, a new profession of underwater garbage cleaner will have to appear in the region.
Thereby I got the idea to structure the film on two lines. One is poetic, with a visual display of the beauty of nature, and off-screen reading of Alykul Osmonov’s poem dedicated to Issyk-Kul. Also in this part, much attention was paid to the musical content of natural scenes, which emotionally supported the film atmosphere. Another line is the observation of the divers activities during their expeditions, filmed using the "habitual camera" method. I strove for the effect of presence not only on the shore, but also under water, where the main action takes place. I wanted to convey the burden and tediousness of such work, the scale of the problem, and, at the same time, the positive spirit of the characters. They don’t lose hope and continue their work with enthusiasm and diligence. The final episode speaks of this hope. Perhaps we still have a chance to return to the beliefs of our ancestors and mend the evil created by our own hands.