National Film Centre director calls for support for body amid "media criticism" of its work

Coming on the 20th anniversary of the GNFC, the post by its director Gaga Chkheidze was released on Thursday. Photo via Georgian National Film Centre., 06 Aug 2021 - 17:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian National Film Centre needs "institutional and financial strengthening" on its 20th anniversary and there are no grounds for criticism about it having exhausted its potential, Director Gaga Chkheidze has said in a social media message underscoring the importance of the state cinema body.

In the post dedicated to the anniversary of the Centre - the principal institution governing filmmaking competitions, safeguarding Georgian cinema legacy and bringing film to young audiences in the regions, among other projects - Chkheidze detailed the historical significance of the body as well as challenges it is facing.

The GNFC director called the founding of the body in late 2000-early 2001 "the most important event in the contemporary history of Georgian cinema", stressing the significance of a switch to the European system of national cinema financing the launch marked.

In the post - released via the social media page of the Centre - he also responded to "recent criticism in media outlets" directed at the GNFC. While not specifically naming the sources of the critical messages, Chkheidze said the comments "doubt [the Centre's] positive role in the cinema industry" and call for "abolishing or reorganising it".

The director of the national film body called the accusations "completely baseless and nonargumentative" while himself alleging the critics did not offer "either an alternative concept or a specific plan of reorganisation".

While arguing abolishing the Centre would cause "a collapse of the Georgian cinema industry", Chkheidze acknowledged the areas the body needed to address. A "radical" increase in its annual budget - currently "completely inadequate for the rising needs of the film sector" - and a launch of a physical infrastructure for the GNFC were named in the post as the principal needs.

In particular, the GNFC director said, the institution needed its own facilities including a cinema hall, film library, conference hall and more, to become "an attractive space for all cinematographers". Chkheidze called on Georgian cinema professionals to support the Centre and work for its "institutional and financial strengthening with unified efforts".