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Filmkunstfest Focuses On Georgia

Georgia has a rich film tradition, and the Gruzia Film Studio, located in the capital of Tbilisi, had considerable influence during the Soviet era. In recent years, Georgian feature films are gaining international recognition in the film festival circuit again.

Our selection focuses on contemporary feature films and short films. Additionally, however, we wish to convey some brief insight into Georgian film’s history. This is represented by two Soviet silent film masterpieces. The first is the avant-garde satire Chemi Bebia by Kote Mikaberidze, which was banned in 1929, the year of its première. This showing will be accompanied live on the grand piano by Dudana Mazmanishvili. The second silent film will be Dzim Svante, an expressive portrait of people living an isolated life in the Caucasus Mountains, filmed by Michail Kalatasow in 1930. Pirosmani, by Giorgi Schengelaia, is a 1969 film about the legendary Georgian painter Nikola Pirosmani, and is also a cinematic pleasure to (re)discover.
In terms of the choice of current productions, the inclusion of one of the most significant directors in contemporary global cinema from Georgia, Otar Iosseliani (born in 1934), is a must. We are showing his latest film, Winter Song, shot in Paris. It is a marvelously poetic late work with a youthful freshness in the greatest sense of the word. The eminent Georgian directors George Ovashvili and Zaza Urushadze are represented by their latest productions. It was also important to us to present current films by female directors. The excellent works of Rusudan Glurjidze (The House of Others), the debut of Mariam Khatchvani (Dede), Ana Urushadze (her Scary Mother was the Georgian candidate for the Best foreign language film at the 2018 Academy Awards) and the director couple Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross (My Happy Family) all represent this goal.
Two DEFA productions shot in Georgia from 1973 and 1987 are a rediscovery: the black-and-white documentary Ich Komme Aus Dem Tal (I Come From The Valley) by Hans Eberhard Leupold and the full-length documentary In Georgia by Jürgen Böttcher. We are delighted to be welcoming the two directors and the cameraman Thomas Plenert. A reading by Nino Haratischwili and a photo exhibition by Wolfgang Korall, as well as an appearance by the “Young Georgian Lolitaz” during the festival opening complete our guest country program.
Only a few Georgian films are regularly shown in German cinemas. It is with this in mind that, as part of our industry conference, we are taking the opportunity to discuss along with experts the chances and risks of German-Georgian co-productions using the current movie Vor Dem Frühling.
We have been supported particularly by Zviad Eliziani, the artistic director of the Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival, in putting together the extensive program of short films. We are delighted that he will also be attending as a guest. We would also like to thank the Georgian Embassy in Berlin for its support, as well as the Georgian National Film Center in Tbilisi, Hugendubel book shop, the MV Foto e.V. in Schwerin, as well as the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Volker Kufahl, Jürgen Tobisch