Tbilisi Main Film Forum Starts
05 December, 2013
Tbilisi Main Film Forum Starts
Koghuashvili’s “Blind Dates” Mesmerized the Audience

The Tbilisi International Film Festival, Georgia’s main film forum, has begun, with the triumphant opening of Levan Koghuashvili’s “Blind Dates”, an interesting picture in the national spirit, but also very modern. At times it suggests scorn of some undesirable traditions, but it does so with humor and irony. The audience, largely Georgian but with many foreigners, seemed to be thoroughly engrossed.
Previously a press conference was held. Gaga Chkheidze, Director General of the Festival, opened
it: “While our festival was being established, we were implying that it was a European festival. We give much space to European films that are quite rare pleasure in Georgian cinemas. I do believe this interest will play its role in the process of our European integration. This was the main reason why the festival was founded – to indulge those who love European cinema.” However, the program is quite multifaceted, and does not ignore Asian and South American films, either. “I am very glad that the festival opens with a Georgian film, which is already a tradition,” Chkheidze added.
Marina Mizandari, First Deputy Minister of Culture, thinks it is important that prices are quite moderate, and remarked: “This is a very complex event, including an educational element as well. I would like to mention a lot of recent success stories of our Georgian film directors. This is the most important film forum of Georgia, and serves as a platform for filmmakers to make further achievements and acquire recognition abroad as well. The fact that the EU is funding the two projects of the festival once again shows that Europe is our natural inspiration in terms of culture of this nature.”
Diana Janse, Ambassador of Sweden, spoke as one of the partners of the festival: “The Tbilisi Film Festival is one of the highlights of the year. After the heavy work of the autumn it is so nice to sit down in an armchair in the dark and watch some really good movies. We support the festival this year humbly, although we have one Swedish Film, ‘Blondie,’ and one Danish-Swedish-German-Czech co-production, ‘Royal Affair,’ but we are also sponsoring - together with the Swedish Institute and the Tbilisi Film Festival - the award for the best Georgian documentary in the panorama section by sending its director to Gothenburg, the main film forum of Scandinavia.” The film festival’s organizers added that there is another award in this section as well, and the best Georgian director will be sent to Cannes with the support of the French Institute and TBC Bank.
Nana Janelidze, Director of the Georgian National Cinema Center, also commented: “I am very proud that during the festival the hall is always full of students. I was a jury member a couple of years ago, and I can say that the festival is growing annually. I thank the organizers for celebrating the 80th anniversary of Eldar Shengelaia, our big film director.”
In the International contest 12 films and 14 countries are participating, while the European Film Forum is less diverse. As the “Country in Focus,” Finland has been chosen. The focus director is Ulrich Seidl and the films in his “Paradise trilogy” will be screened, “Paradise: Love,” “Paradise: Faith,” and “Paradise: Hope.” There is also a novelty section called, “Love Is the Basic Human Right.” And there will be the traditional Georgian Panorama, Animated movies, students’ works, the World in DOCS, Treasures from the National Archive of Georgia, Films across Borders and special screenings.
However, the festival addresses itself not only to cinema lovers, but also to professionals and aficionados, with seminars, master-classes and conferences. Under the sponsorship of the Eastern Partnership program of EU, a two-day conference will be held about co-production. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German cinema “Arsenal” is also planned, and will call attention to its founding of alternative cinema, with honored guests.
In recent years co-productions have increasingly appeared on the Georgian film market. Producers and independent studios have actively been operating since 2005. All those involved in the festival are of the conviction that the crisis of Georgian film has ended. “Nowadays Georgian film is one of the most attractive products for export,” Gaga Chkheidze claims. The 14th Tbilisi International Film Festival started on 2 December and will continue through 8 December.

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