Animation fest to welcome filmmakers, artists in central Georgia's Upper Nikozi village

A retrospective of animation films from Portuguese directors is one of the highlights of this year’s Nikozi event. Photo: International Animation Festival ‘Nikozi’., 27 Aug 2019 - 17:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

A celebration of animation cinema will bring festivals, film studios and creative students to a central Georgian village for this year’s International Animation Film Festival ‘Nikozi’ starting this Sunday.


In Upper Nikozi, located in central Georgia’s Gori Municipality, local diocese metropolitan Isaiah will again welcome Georgian and foreign cinema creatives for the ninth edition of the festival with a tumultuous recent history.


Works from a wide range of creators, from German-based director Alla Churikova to French creative Aude Ha Leplege and Canadian animator Sharron Mirsky, will await the audience on the big screen at the event.


Churikova, who has directed short works and worked at German animation studios including Balance Film and Cartoon-Film, will also lead a master class for the festival, bringing her talent showcased at events including Animafest Zagreb, to Nikozi.


See short animation ‘Nikozi’ by Alla Churikova about the village and its experiences during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, effects of which laid foundations for the festival:




The festival will open with a film by students of the Nikozi Art School, created under the master class of filmmaker Stepan Biryukov. On the same day, exhibitions and performances will serve as a preview for the diverse daily programming from organisers.


In displays, Georgian Technical University students will bring their projects to festival-goers and artist Temo Matchavariani will host his personal show. For stage appearances, students of the former St. Alexander Okropiridze Art School will be involved in a vocal performance while young creatives of the Nikozi Art School present a shadow theatre play.


In the follow-up days, the festival’s central focus on cinema will see a retrospective of films from Portuguese directors, presented by Fernando Galrito, Artistic Director of Lisbon Animation Festival MONSTRA.


The widely recognised Annecy Animation Film Festival will also be represented in Nikozi, along with the International Short Film Festival Dresden, Open Russian Animated Film Festival SUZDAL, International Animation Festival of Cyprus and CineDOC-Tbilisi International Documentary Film Festival.


More filmmakers whose features are in the programme include Vladimir Leschiov, Alla Churikova, Paul Bush and Irina Kodiukova, while highlighted institutions will include the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, National Film School in Lodz and Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgia State University.



A still from ‘Captain Morten and the Spider Queen’, directed by Estonian filmmaker Kaspar Jancis, who will be featured at the festival. Photo: International Animation Festival ‘Nikozi’.


Those looking to find master classes in Nikozi will join Dutch director Michael Dudock de Wit, while  Eva Steegmayer, Festival Coordinator for the Film Academy Baden-Wurttemberg and Frank Gessner, professor at the Film University Babelsberg, will be among other guests of organisers.


Beside screenings and stage performances, the programme will also see participants travel to a cultural centre located in the Tserovani settlement, set up to house internally displaced persons following the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, to meet the IDPs.


The meeting will be a nod to the festival’s roots in the difficult period when a small animation studio — set up at a local monastery by metropolitan Isaiah before the conflict — was damaged during combat action.


The studio was later brought back to life and served as the basis for the foundation of the festival, with students now working on animation and other forms of art at the venue. The festival itself has been held in the village since 2011.


In 2017 it received the Europe for Festivals — Festivals for Europe (EFFE) Label from the European Festivals Association, granting it exposure to international audiences and companies.


This year’s International Animation Film Festival ‘Nikozi’ will run between September 1-6. The full programme of the event can be accessed here.