Filmmaker Rati Oneli awarded ZagrebDox festival mention for ’City of the Sun’

A still from 'City of the Sun' by Rati Oneli. Photo: City of the Sun film Facebook page., 05 Mar 2018 - 17:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Croatia’s ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival has become the latest international cinema event to honour Rati Oneli’s documentary City of the Sun with its prize on Saturday.

The Georgian director’s 2017 work was distinguished with the Special Mention of the festival’s international competition, which screened over 20 films between February 25-March 4.

The award marks another acclaim for the co-production between Georgia, USA, Qatar and the Netherlands.

Oneli's documentary illustrates the industrial mining city of Chiatura in Georgia's west. Photo: City of the Sun film Facebook page.

Its previous award at the MiradasDoc festival in Spain last month was preceded by the Best Documentary Film award at the Sarajevo Film Festival, along with prizes at the Sheffield Doc/Fest and DocumentaMadrid festivals.

City of the Sun is an illustration of contemporary reality in western Georgia’s mining town Chiatura, a supplier of about half of the world's manganese demand during the Soviet era. 

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, their lives revolve around the industrial infrastructure and operation.

[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.

Produced by Oneli and filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili, the feature premiered at the prominent Berlinale film festival in Germany’s capital.

The 14th edition of ZagrebDox picked Talal Derki’s work Of Fathers and Sons for the principal award in its international competition section.

The festival’s international jury involved award-winning Croatian director and cinematographer Boris Poljak, Sundance Film Festival programmer Harry Vaughn and Polish director Anna Zamecka.