Vincent Launay-Franceschini takes principal award of Kutaisi Short Film Fest, Irine Jordania awarded best director prize

A still from O Mà!, the Kutaisi Short Film Festival-winning film by Vincent Launay-Franceschini. Photo via, 17 May 2021 - 16:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

French filmmaker Vincent Launay-Franceschini received the principal award of the Kutaisi International Short Film Festival for his O Mà!, while Irine Jordania earned the best director prize for 12 K. Marx Street, as the first edition of the festival handed out its honours last week.

Seven winners were announced by organisers after jury teams involving Georgian and foreign judges handed out the prizes for the event that had been postponed from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Launay-Franceschini's short and Jordania were singled out by the main competition jury, chaired by acclaimed filmmaker Lana Gogoberidze.

The French production O Mà! is the director's look at a fisherman in Corsica living in an area of the island where women are becoming a rare sight. On his return from fishing one day, Ange-Marie (played by Marc Riso) is captivated by three women swimming off one of the beaches of the locality, becoming haunted by the scene.

Jordania's short, nominated for last year's European Short Film Award, sees its protagonist connect to a stranger - and to her childhood - after her phone call to a number she has been trying to reach is suddenly answered one day. Connecting her to the recipient in the home the woman's family had been forced to leave by a conflict, the call marks the starting point in the two forming a bond.



The inaugural Kutaisi festival also handed out two prizes in cinematography, with Elena Griggio's work Havens - with two protagonists living in a house surrounded by sea - receiving one for Special Cinematographic Vision, and Giorgi Shvelidze - Georgia's winner of the American Society of Cinematographers award - was distinguished with the award for Outstanding Sense of Light and Shadow.

Three other awards were designated for participants of the maiden event, with Ramesh Laxmanrao Holbole of India leaving the festival with the Best Super-Short Film prize for Tremor, Georgian director Tornike Bziava earning the Jury Special Award for Fishing, and Bulgraia's Kristina Spassovska emerging as the Film Critics Jury's selection for Motherland.

The jury panel for the main competition programme involved chair Lana Gogoberidze as well as director Gela Babluani, cinematographers Aleksej Berkovic and Giorgi Shvelidze, and scenographer Ana Kalatozishvili, whereas the independent jury of film critics had Gogi Gvakharia, Salome Kikaleishvili and Anuka Lomidze on its roster, and the Super-Short Film programme judges were actor Keti Chkheidze, filmmakers Mari Gulbiani and Lasha Tskvitinidze.

Beside awards the festival also offered a workshop for screenplay development, mentored by Gela Babluani, Levan Kitia and Beso Odisharia, with two winning projects - by Levan Shubashvili and Iza Titberidze - set to benefit from studio and editing support for their production. Two other projects, by Saba Kareli and Levan Tchkonia, were picked as partner favourites from the workshop.

The Kutaisi festival, hosted in the western hub city, is founded with the aim of decentralising the scene of cinema festivals in Georgia, customarily concentrated around capital Tbilisi. Organisers see the event as an opportunity to see Kutaisi - the capital of the Imereti province - regain its past "cinematic position in the industry" with the event.