This is a still from my new film called Crane Lantern. My father was a worker in this petroleum field and I spent too many days there. I was sitting near this oil well and waiting for my father to finish his work to go home. The mysterious sound of derricks is always on my mind. I was sitting there and looking at the sky, observing the birds, cranes, and crows. I truly believe that landscapes have a strong effect on the human soul. I can’t film anywhere in which I don’t have memories. Life was a mystery when I was a child and sitting near this oil well, that almost all the people see as pollution and especially as a tool for the rich countries to control the country, like us. And now I am almost my father’s age and I am quite full of mixed emotions when I see it, especially when I go there because the sound of it is still the same, and cranes, crows, and other birds are still in the sky, but my father gone years ago.

Hilal Baydarov was born in 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan. During his high school years, he won the national championships of mathematics twice in 2004 and 2005. In 2011 he lead the Azerbaijani team at the informatics olympiad. After a master in computer sciences, Baydarov studied at the Sarajevo Film Academy under acclaimed Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr before going on to make his feature debut HILLS WITHOUT NAMES (2018), which premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival, the same year his documentary debut BIRTHDAY won the Docu Talent Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival. Since then Hilal has completed an award-winning trilogy of documentaries set in Katech Azerbaijan: WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW (2019) which won the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary at the Sarajevo and the Interreligious Award and Special Jury Mention at Visions du réel; MOTHER AND SON (2019), which premiered in the main competition at IDFA; and NAILS IN MY BRAIN (2020) which premiered at Cinema du réel. Baydarov’s second feature, IN BETWEEN DYING premiered in the main competition of the 2020 Venice Biennale Film Festival.