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joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short film

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berlin-based filmmaker joerg daiber captures the earth’s most captivating locations in short videos for his ‘little big world’ series. using tilt-shift photography, daiber transforms destinations around the globe into fascinating miniature worlds. the series, which started in 2012, now has more than 100 short films ranging from entire cities, such as pyongyang and detroit, to remote areas like the banaue rice terraces in the philippines and la rioja in spain.

 

in light of his most recent film, ‘abandoned olympic ruins in sarajevo’, designboom had the chance to interview daiber, who discussed the use of the tilt-shift technique to turn locations into miniature models, his experience visiting sarajevo’s decaying olympic venues, and which locations are up next in the ‘little big world’ series. watch the film above (sound on!), and read the interview in full below.joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short filmimages: film screenshots from ‘abandoned olympic ruins in sarajevo’ unless stated otherwise

all © joerg daiber

 

 

designboom (DB): your films transform various locations around the world into miniature models using tilt-shift-photography. how did you first get involved with this technique?

 

joerg daiber (JD): about 10 years ago I came across a tilt-shift film by keith loutit (here) and was immediately intrigued by the technique and wanted to experiment with this myself. so I took my DSLR camera with me on a trip to thailand and one to crete in greece where I shot my first films in this style. these films ultimately became a finalist at the vimeo awards in new york and this was the beginning of my ‘little big world’ project with now more than 100 episodes.joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short film

 

 

DB: how do you decide on which locations to shoot?

 

JD: the first films I shot mostly on vacation, but when I was filming abroad for a commercial project I would try to squeeze in some days time to shoot a ‘little big world’ episode.
now many of the films a commissioned by tourism boards, but I still do quite some personal projects. for those I generally try to go a bit more off the beaten path and like to explore destinations that are not yet on the tourist-radar.joerg daiber captures sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins

 

 

DB: what are some of your favorites so far?

 

JD: favorites are a difficult beast, but if I had to make a choice pyongyang, sudan, albania, and oman would be on the top ten list.top view of ruin in sarajevo, forest around

 

 

DB: your most recent film focuses on sarajevo’s winter olympic ruins. what was it about war ruins that drew your attention?

 

JD: I moved to berlin shortly after the wall came down and the city was this amazing and unique place back then, with countless abandoned locations to explore. there were bullet holes from WW2 in almost every building in east berlin. it was like living in a time-capsule. unfortunately all this is gone by now and the city is drowning in mediocrity these days. however my love for abandoned places has endured and brought me to places like detroit, pompeji, and salton sea in the last years. when I was reading about these olympic ruins I was immediately fascinated by the morbid charm of these decaying venues. places like this make you very aware of the transience of mankind and civilization.

joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short film

 

DB: what did you encounter when you first visited the site? are the ruins accessible, as a short of ‘monument’ to the past, or do they feel mostly abandoned by the local authorities?

 

JD: the bobsleigh and luge track is easily accessible with a cable car from sarajevo. there is however no infrastructure or anything but there are quite some people on the tracks coming up from the city. the ski jumps and the olympic hotel are bit further away from the city and therefore mostly abandoned. at the the base of the ski jumps was something like a restaurant, but it was closed. also there were two guys working on the lift, so maybe they are exploring touristic possibilities in the future.

 

at the hotel in the olympic village I was the only one around at the time. all these olympic structures have been heavy battlegrounds during the siege of sarajevo (1992 – 1996), the longest siege of a capital city in modern warfare. until a short while ago the whole area was still largely infested with land mines. supposedly they have been cleared off around the olympic venues these days, but it’s probably still a good idea to stay on trails when you walk through the forest.forest and graffiti covered bridge

 

 

DB: a little while back you released another short film, this time from nagorno-karabakh (here), a region where military conflict has re-escalated in the past months. is there an added value in capturing parts of the world which undergo major change, either due natural or manmade causes?

 

JD: the last two decades were relatively stable in nagorno-karabakh, event though that the disputed territory was already technically a war zone and obviously not a touristy area. while most official organizations would highly discourage from traveling there, it felt safe while I was there and people would live their daily life. it’s terrible to see, that the military conflict is re-escalating now causing human pain and suffering with thousands of people dead already. from what I read in the news, many buildings in stepanakert and susha have been bombed and destroyed. among them the famous white cathedral you can see somewhere in the middle of my film. but capturing the status quo in nagorno-karabakh before it’s being destroyed by war is definitely not what I had in mind when I went there.

 

but generally I would agree that it is way more interesting to capture parts of the world which undergo major change and trying to preserve some moments in time. this summer I was planning to shoot in the ruins of pripyat, the abandoned city next to chernobyl, but only one week before I was leaving, the borders were closed due to the pandemic.joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short film

 

 

DB: what’s coming up next?

 

JD: sarajevo was the first stop on an eastern europe trip I did pre-pandemic-travel-restrictions, so there will be episodes coming from bulgaria, romania and moldova next. these former soviet countries offer some incredible architecture from the soviet union. my favorite was the abandoned buzludzha monument in bulgaria. it looks like a strange UFO landed in the mountains and was left there to rot.joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short filmimage daiber took while on site joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short filmimage daiber took while on site

joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short film

the abandoned buzludzha monument in bulgaria, soon on ‘little big world’

joerg daiber on capturing sarajevo’s abandoned winter olympic ruins in tilt-shift short filmthe abandoned buzludzha monument in bulgaria

 

 

film info:

 

name: abandoned olympic ruins in sarajevo

filmmaker: joerg daiber

series: little big world

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