Inaugural Svaneti Film Fest to open with Dea Kulumbegashvili's 'Beginning'

A still from 'Beginning' by Dea Kulumbegashvili - the opening film for the Svaneti festival. Photo via IMDB., 02 Oct 2021 - 23:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Dea Kulumbegashvili's award-winning feature Beginning will open the inaugural Svaneti International Film Festival in Georgia's picturesque mountainous northern province tomorrow, with organisers selecting 20 films for the maiden event's programme.

Kulumbegashvili's 2020 work - awarded at a range of events including the Trieste and Toronto festivals - will launch the occasion in the highland town of Mestia, marking its successful run after a delay from the original date in August in connection to pandemic circumstances.

Filmmaker Mariam Khatchvani (Dede, Dinola) is the co-founder of the Svaneti festival and will oversee its first edition with up to 60 cinema professionals in attendance. Khatchvani called the initiative a "crucial event for the region".

A teaser for 'North Pole' by Marija Apcevska, featured in the main competition:

She told the festival was also seen as a vehicle for restoring the Soviet-era tradition of regular film screenings at local cinema theatres in remote regions.

The first edition of the event will involve 20 short titles in the International Short Film Competition, by directors from across the world. Six works by Georgian directors are also in the section, from Irine Jordania's 12 K. Marx Street - nominated for the Uppsala International Short Film Festival Grand Prix - to the Sundance Film Festival-screened Fatherland by George Sikharulidze.

A series of special screenings will showcase Kulumbegashvili's work along with Dito Tsintsadze's war drama Shindisi about an episode of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, Mikheil Kalatozishvili's Soviet-era classic Jim Shvante inspired by Svaneti, Levan Koguashvili's Berlinale-nominated Blind Dates, and Khatchvani's own Dede, distinguished with wins and nominations at over a dozen international festivals.

The inaugural Svaneti Film Fest will run between October 3-7, with the full programme available on the festival website.