Making history: Russia to return Georgian film archives

  • Georgia’s special envoy to Russia said the transfer will launch from the coming weeks. Shot from Georgian movie “Natvris Khe”. Photo by Georgia’s National Library., 18 Oct 2016 - 14:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

After more than 20 years of talks, in the coming weeks Russia will begin transferring old Georgian films created between 1916 and 1990 back to the homeland, announced Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze.

I want to announce very positive news before I meet with Russia’s Special Envoy Grigori Karasin tomorrow in Prague. The process of transferring Georgian film archives from Russia will begin in the coming weeks,” Abashidze said today. 

Georgian film archives, including feature and animated movies created between 1916 and 1990, are currently preserved at Gosfilmofond, a Russian state-run fund established in 1937 during the Soviet Union era. 

The Russian government provides legal, financial and logistical support needed to preserve the integrity of the film's collected in the Gosfilmofond.

The Gosfilmofond official webpage stated it was the "largest and one of the world’s best cinematic collection” with about 70,000 titles of movies or 967,000 rolls of film material – from silent pictures of the Lumiere brothers filmed in France in 1895 to modern works of Russian and foreign cinema. 

Georgia was part of the Soviet Union between 1921-1991 and consequently the Gostfilmofond preserved a large achieve of Georgian films. 

Experts estimated about 1,000 Georgian films were currently kept in Russia. 

The transfer of Georgian films back to Georgia is a historic process, as negotiations to return the films started more than 20 years ago.