Sarajevo Film Festival to showcase latest, upcoming Georgian cinema

  • The Sarajevo festival will screen films by Georgian directors in nearly all its major sections. Photo: Sarajevo Film Festival., 19 Jul 2017 - 17:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tens of thousands of visitors flocking to the leading Balkan film festival in Sarajevo next month will see works by Georgian directors screened in virtually all of the major festival sections.

Running from August 11-18, the Sarajevo Film Festival will host sections for works ranging from features to short films and animated productions to an expected audience of over 100,000 cinema enthusiasts.

Featured in this year's program will be seven works by Georgian directors, including award-winning films as well as a world premiere.

In the features competition program, director Ana Urushadze's new film Scary Mother will showcase her feature debut.

Premiering at the Locarno International Film Festival in early August, the film follows Georgian housewife Manana, who finally takes up her dream of writing, years after initially shelving the idea in favour of taking care of household work.

As the protagonist of the story begins reading her fist published book to family members, she realises her fears of negative reception from relatives are becoming a reality.

Scary Mother will be joined in the section by the 2016 work Hostages by Rezo Gigineishvili, a dramatised screen adaptation of the true story of a group of young Georgians who attempted to hijack a Soviet airline flight in 1983.

A cast of Georgian actors is involved in retelling their audacious attempt to escape from the repressive political regime for prospects of an independent life in the West.

A scene from 'Scary Mother', directed by Ana Urushadze. Photo: Scary Mother film Facebook page.

Viewers attending screenings of the In Focus section of the festival will see critically acclaimed feature My Happy Family by the directorial duo of Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross.

The section, designed to screen "exceptional regional films" already awarded at international festivals, will highlight the worldwide recognition of the film since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.

A co-production between Germany, France and Georgia, My Happy Family follows 52-year-old Manana as she decides to move out of her family in search of independence – a decision met by consternation from her relatives and friends.

In the documentaries section of the Sarajevo festival, Rati Oneli's City of the Sun, distinguished with awards from three European festivals over the last three months.

[In his film] Rati Oneli looks at what remains amid the detritus of a small mining town in Georgia. Moving seamlessly between fact and fiction, landscapes and dreamscapes, he zooms in on the joys and toils of four different sets of lives", said a summary of the Sheffield Doc/Fest documentary festival for City of the Sun.

Actor Ia Shugliashvili plays the principal protagonist in the award-winning feature 'My Happy Family'. Photo: My Happy Family film Facebook page.

Filmmakers Anna Sarukhanova and Katalina Bakradze will see their 14-minute work The Perfect Order have its international debut in the short films section of the festival.

Produced by Tbilisi-based Millimeter Studio, the film is scored by Georgian artist TeTe Noise, with Danila Goryunkov as director of photography.

Rounding off the Georgian participation in the screening sections, the first Georgian 3D animation Geno will be seen by audiences of the children's program of the festival.

Directed by Dato Kiknavelidze, the film premiered at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France last month.

The animation features a toad and other lake creatures as characters, as their natural habitat is endangered by human industrial development.

George Ovashvili will present his ongoing film project 'The Pass' in the industry section of the festival. Photo: George Ovashvili/Facebook.

Finally, the Sarajevo Film Festival's Cinelink Industry Days will involve award-winning director George Ovashvili and his ongoing feature project The Pass.

The new production follows Ovashvili's latest release Khibula, a fictionalised account of the last days of Georgia's embattled first president in the conflict-ridden country of the 1990s.

Set in the same time period, The Pass explores questions about the circumstances of the tragic plight of hundreds of thousands of Georgian citizens fleeing the conflict in the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The name of the film is a reflection of the internally displaced citizens' passing of the Kodori Gorge, the only pathway out of the north-western region engulfed by war. Having to get through the freezing mountain paths of the gorge, many of the fleeing exiles never made it to the Georgian-controlled territory.

Directed by Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe-winning Ovashvili and Golden Globe-winning Afghan director Siddiq Barmak, the Georgian-French co-production is based on script by Barmak and Georgian author Guram Odisharia.

Established in 1995, the Sarajevo Film Festival puts special emphasis on films from South-East Europe, including Georgia. It is promoted as the leading cinema festival of the region and hosts screenings, industry meetings and film project presentations.