Renaissance of Georgian animation
03 September, 2015
Renaissance of Georgian animation
Ana Chubinidze’s “Pocket Man” to be the first Georgian – French animated film

Georgian animation has been around for 95 years, although collapse of the Soviet Union has temporarily put the industry on a long halt. Now the renaissance begins, and Ana Chubinidze, a young book illustrator, can be considered one of its pioneers. Her six-minute-long cartoon called Pocket Man will be the first joint Georgian –French project in the field of animation. Here is what Ana herself told us:

“Luckily, a prominent French animation studio Folimage got interested in my demo of Pocket Man and decided to finance and spin my initial animation film skeleton into existence.”

– After spending five years making illus­trations for children’s books, I deci­ded to write a book of my own. My husband Luka Tsetskhladze, who is also an artist, was making sketches and one day he drew this character. I liked it so much that I made a clay figure. It inspired me greatly and I decided to write a story titled “Pocket Man”. It is about a small man named Edgar who lives in an old suitcase. One day an elderly blind man accidentally crashes into the suitcase, opening it. They quickly become friends, and Edgar soon finds a new home in the blind man’s pocket, becoming his guide.

When Georgian National Film Centre (GNFC) announced a funding competition for development of short animated film projects, I decided to participate. The project has made it to the first stage, but went no further. This is how I first got interested in animation. Later this year, with the support of GNFC, Annecy International Market has selected six Georgian projects to participate in a five-day workshop. French producer Olivier Catherin carried out the training and after that, my project was selected to be pitched at the Annecy Film Festival.
I was fortunate enough to go to France and present a demo version of Pocket Man at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, since it was the first time a Georgian project was going to be presented at that festival. Olivier Catherin supported me greatly, and him having my back has played a big role in my success.

Despite the fact that I had no experience in this field and that I presented myself and my project naturally, without pretending, the presentation came out successful. Luckily, a prominent French animation studio Folimage got interested in my demo of Pocket Man and decided to finance and spin my initial animation film skeleton into existence. I had an opportunity to visit Folimage studio personally and observe how various kinds of animation are created. Work on Pocket Man will last for approximately a year – it will start in Georgia and be passed on to France six months later. The end result will be the first animated film jointly produced by our two countries.

" When they discovered that I am making illustrations and was initially planning to publish a book about Pocket Man, I was offered to have my book published in France as well.”

When they discovered during my stay in France that I am making illustrations and was initially planning to publish a book about Pocket Man, I was offered to have my book published there as well. It is planned to have each book come with a Pocket Man doll, so that each child will have his or her own toy. Moreover, I have been selected to take part in the Artist-in-Residence program along with eleven directors from different countries to work on a movie script. The work will begin in October and last for a month. I am planning to leave for Georgia afterwards and return to France in April to finish the movie.

Georgian Journal has also managed to contact French producer Olivier Catherin himself during his visit to Georgia to attend an international animation film festival “Nikozi” that is annually held in Georgia:
Ana did a great job convincing me, convincing professionals in Annecy and finally convincing Folimage. She worked a lot, listened a lot, searched for and found new ideas, while her creativity and energy did the rest.

This is my third time in Georgia, but I knew about this country for a long time before actually coming there. I love Georgians for their strong personalities and cultural roots, their sense of humor, their generosity and their respect for art and artists. I feel comfortable in Georgia, just like at home. Tbilisi is a very inspiring city and we can feel its identity when walking through the old places and streets of the city, but I also like the way this city meets modern architecture. Georgia has always been like this: One can be open to new and different worlds if one feels strong and confident in his own identity. That’s why Georgians were able to stay themselves despite decades of foreign occupation. And of course, as a real Frenchman, I love drinking Georgian wine!

Ana's illustration of Lion and Zebra, for Palitra L publishing house
Ana's illustration  of Tusi and Tusi, for Palitra L

Illustration for Georgian National Stand at Bologna Children's Book Fair

Author: Lika Chigladze
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