Georgian film director Rati Oneli’s award-winning documentary City of the Sun about western Georgia’s mining city Chiatura and its residents has taken home another international prize, after it was named Best Documentary of the MiradasDoc festival in Tenerife, Spain.
The judges of the cinema event, which concluded on the Spanish island earlier this month, picked the feature for its principal award from over 100 films screened to audiences.
A co-production between Georgia, the United States, Qatar, and the Netherlands, Oneli’s work is a result of a three-year filming process in Chiatura.
It offers portraits of residents of the industrial city which was known during the Soviet era as the supplier of about half of the world's manganese demand.
Located in the Imereti province, the city and its residents were hit with economic hardship since the dissolution of the USSR.
With mining operations still almost the only source of employment for locals, the grim conditions of their everyday lives is one of the subjects of the documentary.
[W]ith drastically reduced manganese production, dangerous working conditions and little prospect for any improvement, it is well on its way to becoming a ghost town,” said the film's summary for the Minsk International Film Festival, where it was awarded two prizes in November.
The characters, cinematography, and storytelling in Oneli’s film have been praised at festivals around the world since its release.