Actor Levan Gelbakhiani, feature 'And Then We Danced' among prize-winners of Valladolid Film Festival

  • From left: film director Levan Akin and actors Levan Gelbakhiani and Bachi Valishvili speak at the Directors' Fortnight festival in Cannes where the feature premiered in April. Photo: Directors' Fortnight festival., 29 Oct 2019 - 18:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian actor Levan Gelbakhiani has claimed latest round of plaudits for his performance in filmmaker Levan Akin's feature And Then We Danced after collecting the Best Actor Award at Spain's Valladolid International Film Festival last weekend, with the film itself also honoured at the event.

Gelbakhiani was singled out for the honour at the closing gala of the 64th edition of the festival that screened over 270 feature and short films and celebrated Georgia in the Guest Country section.

For the young actor the Spanish award follows the Best Actor Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival earlier this year, for his role of a dancer in a conservative Georgian national dance ensemble involved in an emotional encounter with another male performer.

Stefan Schmitz of the film's distribution company Avalon collected the Rainbow Spike prize for the feature in Valladolid:

The Spanish festival - also known as Seminci - also marked the film itself with the Rainbow Spike prize, awarded by the festival and the Triangulo Foundation for works on the subject of sexual diversity and gender identity. The award was introduced in last year's edition of the festival.

I hope that, going forward, awards like this will help people from all around the world be free to tell honest stories" - Stefan Schmitz of Avalon, distribution company for the feature

And Then We Danced is a Swedish-Georgian-French co-production directed by Levan Akin, a Swedish-based director whose parents emigrated from Georgia in the 1970s. The filmmaker earned awards including the Carl International Film Festival Best Film prize for his work, which has also been selected as Sweden's bid at the next Academy Awards.

The Valladolid festival screened nearly two dozen films by Georgian directors as part of its Guest Country format, with panel talks about Georgian cinema and a presentation of a book about the subject giving it further exposure at the event.

These included both fiction and documentary works, with feature and short films presented in the programme.

Considered a major celebration of auteur cinema in Spain, the festival has been held in the north-western city since 1956.