Batumi Arthouse Fest to host screenings, award lifetime cinema honours

  • 'Castle of Dreams' by Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi collected three of the principal awards at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Photo:, 9 Sep 2019 - 19:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

A celebration of auteur cinema will come to the Black Sea resort city of Batumi next week with the opening of the 2019 Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival.


Independent films from directors including Aleksi Salmenperä, Reza Mirkarimi and Mark Jenkin have been selected to delight festival-goers, with organisers publishing their finalised programmes this week.


In the feature competition, 10 works will vie for the principal award of the festival, with Void by Salmenperä, Bait from Jenkin and Castle of Dreams by Mirkarimi included.


The Grand Prix of the section will be awarded along with prizes for best director, actors and a Special Jury Prize. The international jury panel is comprised of director and screenwriter Aleksandr Mindadze, publicist Tatiana Detlofson, journalist Martin Blaney, actor Carmen Grey and filmmaker Rusudan Glurjidze.



The full feature competition selection is as follows:

  • Bait, directed by Mark Jenkin — United Kingdom, 2019
  • Bra, Veit Helmer — Germany/Azerbaijan, 2018
  • Castle of Dreams, Reza Mirkarimi — Iran, 2019
  • End of Seasons, Elmar Imanov — Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia, 2019
  • His Master’s Voice, George Palfi — Canada/Hungary/France/ Sweden/USA, 2018
  • La Belle Indifference, Kıvanç Sezer — Turkey, 2019
  • Let There Be Light, Marko Skop — Slovak Republic/Czech Republic, 2019
  • Sweet End of Day, Jacek Borcuch — Poland, 2019
  • Tale of Three Sisters, Emin Alper — Turkey/Germany, 2019
  • Void, Aleksi Salmenperä — Finland, 2018


The programme also includes competitive selections for documentary and short works, with eight films in the former including a Georgian premiere of The Harvest by Misho Antadze, For Sama by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts as well as director Yuriy Shylov’s Projectionist.


These have been picked to be in the section that will award similar prize categories to the feature segment following assessment by jury team of producer Krzysztof Gierat and filmmakers Ghasideh Golmakani, Oles Yanchuk, Karen Avetisyan and Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili.


The documentary selection is below:


  • For Sama, Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts — United Kingdom/United States, 2019
  • Forman VS Forman, Helena Trestikova/Jacub Hejna — Czech Republic/France, 2019
  • Harvest, Misho Antadze — Georgia, 2019
  • Lovemobil, Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss — Germany, 2019
  • Northern Soul, Sean McAlister — United Kingdom, 2018
  • Projectionist, Yuriy Shylov — Ukraine/Poland, 2019
  • Shooting the Mafia, Kim Longinoto — Ireland, 2019
  • When the Persimmons Grew, Hilal Baydarov — Azerbaijan/Austria, 2019



The third part of the in-competition picks, the short films section, sees 25 works including six by Georgian directors. Bad People by Giorgi Tavartkiladze and Blind Love by Buba Gogiberidze are among these, with the full selection available here.


This year’s BIAFF edition will be comprised of the Georgian Panorama, Masters Collection and Special Screenings sections featuring a range of films.


In addition to screenings, the event will honour four film professionals for their contribution to cinema, with American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader, French actor Danis Lavant, director Alexander Mindadze and actor Manuchar Shervashidze receiving  Lifetime Achievement Awards.


Organisers will also provide a networking opportunity for industry professionals with their Industrial Platform.


The 2019 edition of BIAFF has been preceded with Biaffiada, a programme of acclaimed films and cinema classics screened in the coastline boulevard of the Black Sea city. Over eight days, locals and tourists saw works by Georgian and foreign directors in evening- and nighttime sessions.


Organisers said they would also take screenings to other locations in the seaside Adjara region after the conclusion of the festival. These locations will include spots in Batumi and Kobuleti as well as the more remote locations in Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo.


The 2019 BIAFF will run between September 15-22.