Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili earn Trento Film Festival principal award for 'A Tunnel'

Film directors Vano Arsenishvili and Nino Orjonikidze have earned plaudits for their documentary this year. Photo via DineDOC-Tbilisi., 03 Sep 2020 - 14:12, Tbilisi,Georgia

Filmmakers Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili have collected their second prize in two weeks for the feature documentary A Tunnel after receiving the Trento Film Festival principal award on Wednesday.

The two directors were announced winners of Best Movie Grand Prix, which marked the first time festival juries awarded their main distinction to a film from the same country that was celebrated by their focus section. Georgian cinema was highlighted in the Destination programme of the event while the documentary screened in competition programme.

For the first time a film that represents the guest country triumphs at the Trento Film Festival [...] A Tunnel by Georgians Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili won the Golden Genziana Best Movie Grand Prix in Trento!" - festival organisers

The judge panel of the festival, featuring Georgian film director Salomé Jashi alongside Carlos Casas, Gustav Hofer, Carmen Gray and Matteo Della Bordella said the feature brought an "extraordinary closeness, a sense for the visual atmosphere and an excellent harmony with the structural imbalances of power" to screen.

Dramatic but never exaggerated, the film identifies the events of a small village as a clash between past and future, between those who have and those who have not, in which we all have a role," - jury panel

A Tunnel turns the lens on a rapid transformation of a sleepy village in Georgia as it becomes a transit location for China's major Belt and Road Initiative.

The infrastructural project brings in workers and heavy machinery for digging a tunnel through a mountain, causing uncertainty among locals who use the site for pastures and also have houses nearby.

There are promises of prosperity and progress, but in the dreamy atmosphere of the fairy-tale village, the coming of the express train feels more like a nightmare" - International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam summary

Last week the feature was named Best Film by First or Second-Time Director at the MakeDox Creative Documentary Film Festival. The prize itself followed the principal award of the Montenegrin-based UnderhillFest documentary festival in June.

The Georgian-German co-production was supported by European and Asian cinema development grants in development. Produced at Artefact Production and Ventana Film, the feature involves cinematography by Arsenishvili and sound by Ana Davitashvili.

The Trento Film Festival ran between August 27-September 2 and brought a retrospective of Georgian cinema to its viewers in the Destination section.