Sofia International Film Festival:
Georgian filmmakers collect top awards

Georgian film director Dea Kulumbegashvili won a principal prize at the Sofia Meetings co-production market on Sunday. Photo from Sofia Meetings., 21 Mar 2016 - 14:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian directors Dea Kulumbegashvili and Vano Burduli are celebrating after their films collected top awards at the Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria's capital.

On Sunday Kulumbegashvili won a top award and thousands in prize money to fund the post-production of her latest feature film Daisi at a special event within the 2016 festival while Burduli's 2015 production The Summer of Frozen Fountains collected the Special Jury Award at the main event.

Kulumbegashvili's new drama Daisi claimed the Grand Prix for Best Project of the Sofia Meetings co-production market involving more than 150 industry experts. Her incomplete film was awarded the prize by Eastern Europe's largest film production studio Nu Boyana Film Studios.

The award included €50,000 (about $56,500/130,500 GEL*) for co-production services as well as €5,000 (about $5,600/13,000 GEL*) in money prize.

Kulumbegasvhili speaks at the pitching session of the co-production market. Photo by Boriana Pandova/Sofia Meetings.

The 13th annual Sofia Meetings market ran from March 17-20 within the 2016 Sofia International Film Festival and included 27 film projects, mostly from European filmmakers.

Daisi was awarded ahead of five other nominees in the Plus Minus One category that featured filmmakers' debut or third films in production.

The Grand Prix presented to Kulumbegashvili was the principal prize out of eight awards presented at the market by European film studios and institutes.

Daisi tells the story of a United States (US)-based Georgian photographer who comes back to his native village in Georgia to be near his ill father. The plot focused on his long-standing and new relationships with locals on the backdrop of a conflict between its residents.

The film was produced by Rati Oneli of the Tbilisi-based OFA Studio.

A still from director Vano Burduli's feature film The Summer of Frozen Fountains.

The main Sofia International Festival event itself included 210 films from 58 countries. The jury selected Vano Burduli's 2015 film The Summer of Frozen Fountains for its Special Jury Award.

Burduli's feature work screened at the 2015 Tbilisi International Film Festival before debuting in cinema theatres in Estonia in January 2016.

See the full list of selected projects at the Sofia Meetings co-production official website here. The awards for the Sofia International Film Festival can be viewed here.

* Currencies are equivalent to the latest National Bank of Georgia exchange rate (March 19, 2016).