Film is a remarkable medium. It can make us laugh, cry, scream, think, and occasionally all of the above. It offers weary audiences an escape from the tedium of the real world, and it gives them a glimpse of places they may never see otherwise. That’s exactly how producer Assya Dimova first fell in love with film, and ultimately with filmmaking.
As a producer, Dimova is essentially a project’s chief architect. It’s her responsibility to guide the entire process, from finding talent to organizing the countless moving parts that make up every production. But having spent nearly her entire life producing films, plays and events, Dimova is a master of putting on a show.
Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, Dimova has worked in nearby Italy and Germany for much of her professional career. The rich culture and artistic traditions of Europe have greatly influenced her work. Her upcoming film “Our Blood Is Wine” is a tribute to one of the continent’s most under appreciated contributions.
“It focuses on Georgia’s fascinating history of winemaking, past and present,” Dimova explained. “Director Emily Railsback and award-winning sommelier Jeremy Quinn provide intimate access to rural family life in the Republic of Georgia as they explore the rebirth of 8,000-year-old winemaking traditions almost lost during the period of Soviet rule.”
Dimova served as a line producer on the film, which is slated for release in 2018. In her position she was responsible for overseeing the planning of the film and ensuring the day-to-day production went according to plan and stayed within the budget. It’s a difficult job in any production, but the challenges are even more pronounced on a feature-length documentary like “Our Blood Is Wine.”
Traditional filmmaking is an indescribably intense process, and there are certainly benefits and drawbacks from working with tightly-controlled sets, schedules, and scripted dialogue. Documentaries, by their very definition, offer filmmakers none of that control. It was up to Dimova to plan for and provide everything director Emily Railsback needed to tell the story, with no telling what that story would ultimately be.
Because of her, “Our Blood Is Wine” grew into a beautiful story about an ancient art form in an ancient place, and about the families that still live on the same land and in the same pastoral way as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. When the film is released in 2018, audiences will be able to see for themselves how the prehistoric craft of winemaking in Georgia is still thriving there today.
Prior to her work on the documentary, Dimova was the producer of the 2015 drama “Stygian.” The film is the tragic tale of a dying man who spends his last hours of life haunted by his mistakes.
“‘Stygian’ is a Western following the trek of an old gunman across a barren desert. Injured by a fall from his horse and suffering from dehydration and illness from an infection, his time is running out,” Dimova said, painting an image of hopeless desperation that the film captures brilliantly. “The central themes of sin, guilt and atonement make for a powerful and thought-provoking story.”
“Stygian” immediately won audiences over with its distinct blend of minimalist qualities and emphasis on visual storytelling. It was showered with critical acclaim and was named an Official Selection at five film festivals, including the 2015 Santa Fe International Film Festival and the 2016 Wild Bunch Film Festival.
Film has always been a major influence for Dimova, but her work as a producer isn’t limited to the screen. Some of her most impressive work has been as a curator of events, including the prestigious Leiden International Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival. As a curator, Dimova watches the films submitted by potential festival entrants and works to decide which ones the festival will screen. Her experience as a producer is invaluable to her curatorial work, which demands a fastidious and analytical approach that she’s honed through producing her own films.
“As a producer, one must have a wide range of taste and ability to spot up-and-coming talent. With my international experience and background I’m able to critique submissions for both their production and creative value,” Dimova said. “As in my personal producing career, I always go for story first and how captivating, original and authentic it is. I always look for something fresh that surprises me.”
Assya Dimova has built her career around her ability to examine every project not just from the perspective of a producer, but through the eyes of the audience. Her love of film inspired her to seek out and empower filmmakers with new stories to tell; and by giving them the platform and means to create and share their work, Dimova herself has continued the work of inspiring future filmmakers in audiences around the world.