Berlin Film Fest to premiere ‘Armed Lullaby’ by young director Yana Ugrekhelidze

A still from ‘Armed Lullaby’, which is set to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival next month. Image: Yana Ugrekhelidze., 29 Jan 2019 - 19:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

Next month’s Berlin International Film Festival will host the world premiere of young Georgian filmmaker Yana Ugrekhelidze’s newest work Armed Lullaby, bringing images of children fleeing conflict to a big screen.

The short, produced in Germany and featuring Lev Shuster, Anastasia Schwegler, Ričard Liepinš and Giorgi Gedevanidze, will have four screenings at the major cinema event’s 69th edition.

The 2019 festival does not showcase as many Georgian directors as last year — when Georgian culture and arts were under spotlight in Germany for the Guest of Honour programme at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

However, Ugrekhelidze’s work will present one of the latest works by the new generation of filmmakers from Georgia in the German capital.

Produced at Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, the nine-minute animation will be shown in the Short Films 3 section in four screenings between 11-17 February.

In this poetic animated photo collage, Yana Ugrekhelidze depicts the children's terrifying experiences while acknowledging their longing for warmth and safety,” a summary from the festival said.

Armed Lullaby takes on the subject of the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia, Georgia’s now-occupied north-western region — a theme explored in a range of recent films by directors from the country.

However, unlike celebrated features like House of Others, Tangerines and Corn Island, the short is an unconventional example of an animated work presenting a story within the conflict.

The emerging filmmaker’s choice of technique for the work sets the film apart from conventional works on the subject. Image: Yana Ugrekhelidze.

The young director of the film introduces its subject via “animated photo collage”, resulting in “[p]oetic images which express the unspeakable and demand a closer look at [the featured children’s] experiences,” the description by Berlinale noted.

The short will screen in the section along with The Absents by José Lomas Hervert, City Plaza Hotel by Anna Paula Hönig and Violeta Paus, Oh Crow! Oh Crow! by Pierre Garcia-Rennes, #bullyingstory by Eef Hilgers and She-Pack by Fanny Ovesen.

Born in Tbilisi, Ugrekhelidze graduated from the Peter Behrens School of Arts in Düsseldorf with a degree in communication design and from the Cologne Academy of Media Arts with a diploma in film and animation.

She directed La brique in 2014 and Summer Story, her first animated work, in 2017. The latter premiered at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. The film earned the Georgian film professional the Special Prize for Young Director at the Ciudad Real Short Film Festival in Spain.

The Berlin Film Festival will run in the capital city between 7-17 February.