Georgian National Film Centre condemns Abkhazia international film festival
04 April, 2018
Georgian National Film Centre condemns Abkhazia international film festival
The state-owned Georgian National Film Centre (GNFC) has condemned holding of the Sokhum International Film Festival in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia (Sokhumi), reports Open Caucasus Media.

The article discusses the statement released by the Georgian National Film Center on April 2, regarding the so called International Short Film Festival in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia (Sokhumi), which is showing several European films.

According to the representatives of Georgian National Film Centre, the festival represents “soft power deployed by Russia’s
occupation regime”.
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Opening ceremony of so called "Sokhum International Film Festival." April 2, 2018

The GNFC says that the so-called festival might be used by the de facto authorities for political purposes.

The festival is being held in Sokhumi on 2–7 April. Information about the opening of the so called international festival in breakaway Abkhazia was released by Abkhazian news agency Apsypress.
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The festival is being held in Sokhumi on 2–7 April

According to the information, the "Sokhumi International Short Film Festival" contest program includes a selection of 32 films created in “Abkhazia, Russia, Western Europe (Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, etc.), as well as in Uzbekistan, Iran and Morocco.”
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Sokhumi State Russian Drama Theatre, where the so-called international festival is being held

In the statement of 2 April the GNFC appealed to filmmakers to “resist soft power” and to “do their utmost not to violate the legislation of Georgia, in particular, the Law of Georgia on Occupied Territories”.

As oc-media.org reports, under the law, Georgia prohibits entry to Abkhazia from Russia, labeling it illegal entry — foreign citizens are only allowed to enter Abkhazia from Georgia’s Samegrelo region.
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Sokhumi, the capital of the breakaway Region of Abkhazia

The GNFC said that while hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from Abkhazia, “holding an event like a film festival in this region should be interpreted as an attempt to focus on the so called independence of the region”, and “an attempt to recognize the legitimacy of occupation regimes”.

The festival kicked off on 2 April in Sukhumi’s State Russian Drama Theatre. According to Ekho Kavkaza, it was organised by the Abkhazian State Committee for Youth Policy. Its chair, Teimuraz Kvekveskiri, said the main goals for holding the event are development of cultural exchanges between countries and the support of young filmmakers.
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Abkhazia is distinguished with its incredibly beautiful nature

According to the organizers, this year’s festival will feature only short fiction films, but “in the years to come this festival will open up for feature-length films and documentaries'’.

The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) is a legal entity of public law under the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. The goal of GNFC is to secure and coordinate state support for the development of Georgian cinema.
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Abandoned place in Abkhazia

“They vowed to use all possible and available means to warn filmmakers against attending and participating in the event”, reports Open Caucasus Media.

The article also stresses the fact that Georgian side blocked the opening of an Abkhazian cultural institute in 2016. According to the website, “Georgia blocked the opening of an Abkhazian cultural institute in Rome in 2016, and an Abkhazian stall was shut down at a Montenegro tourism expo in April 2016, after Georgian officials intervened. They claimed that it presented Abkhazia, which Georgia sees as a part of their territory under Russian military occupation, as an independent state.”
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Abandoned building in Abkhazia

It is noteworthy that at the end of the article, the author suggests not to use the qualifiers such as “de facto”, “unrecognized”, or “partially recognized” when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia as this does not imply a position on their status.
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Abkhazia after war

On July 23 of 1992, functioning of Georgian Constitution in the autonomous region of Abkhazia was terminated. The judicial war that had begun between the Georgian capital and the region degenerated into an armed confrontation within less than a month.
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Abandoned railway in Gagra, a town in Abkhazia

In the Soviet period Abkhazia, a pleasant region on the Black Sea coast and popular summer destination among the USSR’s elites, enjoyed autonomous status within the Georgian republic. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic Abkhaz with some Russian support fought a brutal war against the Georgian government in 1992-93. The catastrophe left more than 250,000 Georgians (who had constituted a majority in the region) homeless.

The cruel war ended on September 27, 1993, by falling of Sokhumi, the capital of Abkhazia.
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Houses in Gagra

In August 2008, Russia recognized the territory as independent while majority of countries consider it part of Georgia.

Related stories:

Occupation and presence of Russian troops in occupied regions remain main threat to Georgian state

US experts say direct dialogue to create threat of de-facto legitimization of Tskhinvali and Sokhumi

Tearful photos shot 24 years ago – Families fleeing Abkhazia

“Belonging to nowhere” – Abkhazia region captured by French photographer

24 years pass since the fall of Sokhumi
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