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Magic Mountain

a documentary

by Mariam Chachia and Nik Voigt


award: Best Documentary at the 26th DocsBarcelona

world premiere: Dok.Fest Munich 2023 (main competition)

production completed 2023

directors: Mariam Chachia, Nik Voigt

editing: Nik Voigt, Mariam Chachia

editing consultants: Derek Howard, Céline Kélépikis

editing assistant: Maradia Tsaava

selected for: East Doc Market 2022

producers: OpyoDoc / Mariam Chachia (Georgia); Telewizja Polska S.A. / Ewa Szwarc (Poland)

associate producer: Hans Gralke from BLACK MARKET filmproduction (Germany)

BLACK MARKET is pleased to have supported the film.



Abastumani is a tuberculosis hospital high up in the Georgian mountains where the old Soviet doctors used to be well respected professionals, but as times changed they got stuck in the past and became mere minders for ex-convicts, alcoholics and drug addicts dying of TB. There is many other staff in the hospital, but there is no security. The patients who are predominantly male, greatly outnumber the staff and so the rules of the hospital are dictated by them.

In the morning Abastumani looks just like an old hospital where patients stand in long queues waiting to be administered dozens of pills. In the afternoon the building transforms into a social centre where players gamble under clouds of cigarette smoke as patients kill time. At night after the doctors and staff go home, Abastumani becomes a dangerous place, where alcohol and drugs make patients violent.

Life is short in Abastumani and farewells are without tears. But when one of them is gone, patients gather in the priest’s room and pray with him under a wall of icons. This is when patients open up and share their deepest sins.

Life doesn’t change until one day news arrives that the building has been sold and will be demolished. The many rooms are emptied, mattresses piled high and only small artefacts of the patients remain as memories. The staff bids farewell to the building for the last time, the sanatorium that defined their lives. Each one is over retirement age and they know that without the building they will be nothing in the new era.

Big trucks and tractors patiently wait until the last person has left the historic building. Built as a royal summer residency in late 1800s, it became one of the most prestigious sanatoriums in the Soviet Union and finally it was a shelter for society’s rejects. A century of memories is turned into dust. But will the memory of 100 years disappear with this building?

the directors

Mariam Chachia

Mariam Chachia is a documentary film director and producer from Georgia. She started her film career in 2007 making short TV series for kids – “Rubber”, broadcasted on one of the biggest Georgian TV broadcaster that days Rustavi 2. Besides short TV-series Mariam was directing educational videos and animations for Georgian audience.

In 2013 she decided to make a documentary film about her grandmother. The film was co-produced with the French production company Ardèche Images Production and broadcasted on French TV Lyon Capital.

In 2016 Mariam made her first feature documentary film “Listen to the Silence”, which premiered in DOK Leipzig 2016 and won The Golden Dove in Next Masters Competition.

From 2014 Mariam with Nik Voigt, was co-directing her second feature length documentary “Magic Mountain”, which was completed in 2023.

Nik Voigt

Nik Voigt is a cinematographer, director and editor. He worked in a range of films and media fields before turning to documentary in 2016.

Since then Nik has gained 9 credits on documentary feature films as the DoP, which have been shown on Arté and screened at numerous European festivals.

Although Nik has experience directing short films, “Magic Mountain”  is his debut feature documentary as director.

How many times have you been ashamed for someting,

you are not guilty of?