Georgian films under spotlight at Berlinale festival

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick opened the annual festival earlier today. Photo: Berlinale., 09 Feb 2017 - 22:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

If you are in Germany's capital, come catch some of the best new Georgian cinema at the Berlin International Film Festival that launched in the city earlier today.

Also known as the Berlinale, the festival is regarded as one of the world’s major cinema occasions, and will host tens of thousands of visitors from February 9-19.

For the first time in history, Georgia is represented by more than one film project at the prestigious international event, with five productions by Georgian filmmakers set to screen over the next ten days.

Further highlighting the milestone for the Georgian cinema, the list will include the first-ever festival appearance of an animated film created in the country.


The series of the screenings will be opened on February 10 by the world premiere of the feature Hostages by director Rezo Gigineishvili.

The film follows the true story of a group of young Georgians who attempted to hijack a Soviet airline flight in 1983 in an attempt to escape from the repressive political regime for prospects of an independent life in the West.

A co-production between Georgia, Russia and Poland, the feature casts Georgian actors in screenplay written by author Lasha Bugadze and Gigineishvili.

The Berlinale program for February 10 will also host a screening of filmmaker Rati Oneli’s feature documentary City of the Sun.

Selected for the Forum section of the festival, the award-winning film follows the life and hardships of residents of the Chiatura mining town in western Georgia.

The documentary was honoured with the special mention award of the 2015 Visions du Reel Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland.

A still from Rezo Gigineishvili's film 'Hostages', featuring actor Irakli Kvirikadze. Photo: Berlinale Film Festival.

The two opening screenings will be followed by a European premiere of the animated film, Li.le by director Natia Nikolashvili on February 11.

Produced by Tbilisi-based 20Steps Productions, Li.le will be the first Georgian animation selected for the Berlinale festival. To mark the occasion, the program will also involve a meeting session with Nikolashvili, who will answer questions from the audience.

Another highly anticipated production by a Georgian director will have its European debut at the festival on February 13.

My Happy Family, the latest feature by the award-winning partnership of Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, will represent a co-production between Germany, France and Georgia.

Its script follows the experience of several generations living under the same roof, with conservative family traditions set against a more independently-minded member of the household.

'Li.le' will become the first animation created in Georgia to be selected for the Berlinale festival. Image: 20Steps Productions/Natia Nikolashvili.

Rounding off the Georgian participation in the festival, director Dito Tsintsadze’s work God of Happiness will be screened for Berlinale audiences on February 17.

The film’s script features an unemployed Georgian actor in an unexpected reunion with his teenage daughter, with Georgian actors Tina Meliava and Lasha Bakradze cast alongside Nadeshda Brennicke and Elie James Blezes in principal roles.

Celebrating its 67th edition, the Berlinale festival will not only host screenings of films by Georgian filmmakers but also feature a Georgian film industry stall.

The Georgian stall has been featured at the event over the last decade and will present information on the country’s potential as a filming destination as well as on Georgian cinema agencies and professionals.

Georgian film directors and producers will also be part of the Berlinale co-production section, expected to be attended by around 600 industry professionals from across the world.