Gloria Kurnik Gloria Kurnik

I am a documentary filmmaker and preditor currently based in London. I focus on the character driven stories stressing on the quality and aesthetics during all of my shoots and over the time have developed a distinctive visual style. From the zip-lines in the blue city of Jodhpur to the canopy walks in Bornean rain forests, I have been also mastering my glidecam technique to be able to feature the most adventurous shots.  I am experienced in one-man-band productions and usually handle the camera work and sound on my own, hence the costs of shooting reduce. I take care of the project from the conceptualization until the final cut.  I own my own sound and camera gear, including but not limited to: Canon 5D mark II Canon 6D GoPro 50mm f1.2  100mm macro f2.8 17-40mm f4 Zoom H4n (audio recorder) Sennheiser G3 (wireless lapel microphone) Rode VideoMic Pro (shotgun mic) Glidecam My base in Southeast Asia gives me an easy and cheap access to many locations exotic to the European audience. As a citizen of EU (I am born and raised in Poland), I can travel to most of the countries in Asia and the world without having to apply for the visa, hence a shoot on a very short notice can be easily arranged.  Travel expenses (including plane/bus/train tickets, accommodation, meals and the cost of the experience itself) are not included in the quota and would be charged accordingly. Some samples of my storytelling and camera work: - My short Confined based in Rajasthan (http://vimeo.com/gloriakurnik/confined) that has won an award for the best picture about India in the contest by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Role: Director, Camerawoman, Editor, Producer. - My short documentary Living the Love (http://vimeo.com/gloriakurnik/livingthelove) was shot in, by far, the most challenging circumstances, among the dense crowd of feverish devotees. Role: Director, Camerawoman, Sound, Editor, Producer. - Chinese Hight Tea (http://vimeo.com/gloriakurnik/chinesehightea), my other short, showcases my ability to maximize creative angles while dealing with limited space and time. The whole video was shot in two hours around one table. Role: Director, Camerawoman, Sound, Editor, Producer. http://vimeo.com/gloriakurnik/reel2013

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New Year Celebration in Thailand
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Photo collection of the New Year Eve celebration in the  Buddhist temple of Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Ma, Thailand.

Chiang Mai is famous for its floating lanterns, where people send their wishes and worries floating to the skies.

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Imbayah In Portraits: Preserving Ifug...
Banaue, Ifugao; Philippines
By Gloria Kurnik
28 Apr 2015

April is a month of festivities throughout the Ifugao province, the land at the foot of the Cordilleras on the Luzon island in the Philippines. Photographers, journalists and sometimes even tourists travel from town to town to catch the next fiesta, with one organised every couple of days in the neighbouring municipalities. Banaue town is no different. Ifugao people in the traditional attire flock from surrounding barangays (from Filipino: village) for 3 days of food, rice wine and fun. 

“You can travel whole month like this”, a fellow photographer starts a conversation while we’re waiting, strategically located, for the signature race of wooden scooters to begin. “I’m a shipman, I’ve been all around the world but I haven’t really seen my own backyard, Ifugao. This year me and my friends have decided to follow the festivals in the region. Culture-wise my favourite so far is Igkhumtad ad Majawjaw in Mayoyao. Everybody there is wearing only a tiny cloth. We’ve heard a lot about Imbayah so we came. But so far not many people are wearing loin cloths, and almost nobody is dressed traditionally apart from the contestants. It’s a bit disappointing but the wooden scooters are the highlight! It happens only in Banaue!”

Indeed Banaue, one of the largest towns in Ifugao, may be experiencing some troubles with preserving its culture. Like it happens with many developing regions, young generation values comfort and modernity above all. Perhaps recognising this eminent danger to his district’s heritage, Mayor Jerry Dalipug has just made this triennial festival the annual one. The transition won’t happen without hiccups, for example this year’s wooden scooter race became only a parade as there was no money in the pool for the winner. But the Banaue people are getting more and more excited about the prospects of celebrating and sharing their culture. Organisers know that it will come down to the youngest generation to rekindle the Ifugao spirit. If they can enchant the kids with traditions by feeding them old stories and games perhaps the fire will keep burning. 

“When I was younger almost everybody was walking around in the traditional clothes”, my host Mr Randy tells me over a cup of steaming tea. We are looking through the window as the rain is drizzling over the ingenious rice terraces of Banaue bringing a feeling of nostalgia. “But then when we grew older our children went to the cities”, he smiles gently. “And they brought back pants! They would say, "Mom, dad try this, you will be much more comfortable’, and we all did. Now only really old or conservative people stick to this tradition on a daily basis. For the rest of us, there’s Imbayah.”

Tourists attracted to folklore love to see it all in one place. They are also bringing money and this alone has helped preserve a lot of the heritage worldwide. But the culture won’t last if it’s not genuine. That’s why capturing interest of the youngsters is more important than ever.

Media created

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thailand lanterns 09
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. New Year's Eve. At the stroke of midnight a tourist blows the candle that she lit the floating lantern with.

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thailand lanterns 08
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhists Monks meditate during the New Year's Eve sermon.

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thailand lanterns 07
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. At the stroke of midnight young monks release the floating lanterns into the air, the wishes and blessings are written on the paper.

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thailand lanterns 06
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monks listen to the New Year's Eve sermon in English.

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thailand lanterns 05
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Monk listens to the New Year's Eve sermon.

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thailand lanterns 04
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monk listens to the New Year's Eve sermon.

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thailand lanterns 02
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monks release floating lanterns to welcome the New Year 2559 of the Buddhist calendar (2016).

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thailand lanterns 03
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. At the stroke of midnight people release the floating lanterns into the air, and with them let go of their burdens and worries.

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thailand lanterns 01
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monks release floating lanterns to welcome the New Year 2559 of the Buddhist calendar (2016).

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Shadows on Silk - 23
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Ban Thasawang Silk Village. Immersed in semidarkness, staring blankly ahead. This weaver’s figure is perhaps the best metaphor for the state of the nation's homegrown industry.

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Shadows on Silk - 22
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Ban Thasavang Silk Village. The process of weaving requires here four to five people working together on one piece of fabric. One person always sits below the ground.

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Shadows on Silk - 21
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Across the road, the other part of the factory in Ban Thasawang falls into ruin. This raises a question if the business here is indeed as profitable as advertised.

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Shadows on Silk - 20
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. While most of the silk artisans struggle to find clientele, the silk factory in Ban Thasawang weaves for the elites. Prices here are so high that are revealed only to serious buyers. This is the charming part of the complex.

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Shadows on Silk - 19
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. In this household even the son weaves. When he's older he wants to take care of the family business as he's seen that they can make a living from it. That’s a ray of hope for the industry but his interests may change with time.

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Shadows on Silk - 18
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. A portrait of one of those rare families where children are actively helping with the silk making process. The daughter prepares the yarn before dyeing the pattern.

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Shadows on Silk - 17
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. We find a household where the whole family is actively involved in reeling, dyeing and weaving. They found a distributor who comes to collect the fabric.

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Shadows on Silk - 16
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s daughter, Joy, is folding the silk. A piece is about 2 meters long and this intricate pattern is unique to their village. Sadly, Joy will never learn it.

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Shadows on Silk - 15
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. The silk is being cut off the loom after one week of weaving. Women laugh as Pimnipa had picked the fabric that she wants to buy from her aunt.

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Shadows on Silk - 14
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Weaving was once a skill passed from mothers to daughters. While kids are still keen on observing their mothers at work, teenagers know better pastimes.

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Shadows on Silk - 13
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s aunt with her granddaughter. Even though the girl has been put to sleep by the lullabies of the clattering loom, in reality she’s unlikely to learn the craft.

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Shadows on Silk - 12
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. This housewife specializes in dyeing patterns on the weft yarn. Once, each weaver was doing it herself, now it’s easier to buy the processed material.

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Shadows on Silk - 10
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. It is a sad and short life for a silk worm but nothing goes to waste in this Thai village. Despite the irritating fumes and fierce heat that day, Pimnipa have finished in time to serve the boiled silkworms for breakfast.

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Shadows on Silk - 09
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Cocoons are boiled to ease the silk threads out. Pimnipa squints in the acrid smoke from her small wood-burning stove while performing the process.

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Shadows on Silk - 08
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa buys the cocoons to show me the process of extracting the thread. It needs to be done before silkworms get out as they would damage the fiber.

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Shadows on Silk - 07
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa’s neighbor, age 77, sits next to the cocoons she cultivated herself. Her eyesight is not so good anymore so she recently had to stop weaving.

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Shadows on Silk - 06
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. As silkworms feed only on the fresh leaves, some are growing them as a side business. With caterpillars eating 3 times a day, this bag won’t last for long.

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Shadows on Silk - 05
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Housewife showing the silkworms while covering the basket with mulberry leaves to feed them. The worms here are about a week away from spinning their cocoons.

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Shadows on Silk - 04
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. A woman shows off her sericulture. Traditionally, the threshing floor is wetted to keep the temperature down. Modern appliances like AC had been installed to fight the rising temperatures.

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Shadows on Silk - 03
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Pimnipa chats with her aunt about global warming. This is a really “hot” topic in the village nowadays. Both women once used to rear silkworms.

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Shadows on Silk - 02
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. Houses around Surin in Thailand were once a hub of cottage silk production. A housewife was taking care of each step, from rearing worms to weaving.

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Shadows on Silk - 01
Surin, Thailand
By Gloria Kurnik
30 Apr 2013

Isaan, Thailand. The dry season stretches far beyond what’s normal. In hope for rain men head to the fields to prepare them for sowing. Women wait at home.

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"Living the Love" - Documentary about...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Gloria Kurnik
08 Feb 2012

In depth portrait of the Hindu Thaipusam festival held annually in Malaysia in January. A unique take on the events through the eyes of a participating couple.
This short documentary is produced in a "personal journey" or "character driven" style.

Synopsis:
Piercing the body out of faith is a custom in most of the oldest religions. Though it may induce fear, doubt and anxiety, it is also associated with a certain sense of mysticism and spirituality. The viewer witnesses here the Thaipusam - the magical Hindu festival where devotees in a state of trance, painlessly carry offerings in the form of heavy burdens and/or have a range of intriguing attachments hooked to their body.

But beyond the images of unbelievable crowds and fanfare, the viewer can also witness the love, trust and devotion merging into an expression of faith through self-sacrifice.

For many, Thaipusam is all about the flourish and the obscure customs. For many tourists, it is the defining evidence of the unique multi-cultural life in Malaysia. For many amateur photographers, it’s one of those places where you capture that ‘one’ unforgettable picture. For some it's a story of love...