Batumi Art-House Film Festival launches crowdfunding after Culture Ministry, state authorities decline funding for 2022

BIAFF editions have been held for the past 16 years at cinema venues in Georgia's Black Sea city of Batumi. Photo:, 08 Sep 2022 - 15:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Batumi Art-House Film Festival, an annual event that has been held in Georgia's Black Sea city uninterruptedly since 2006, has launched a crowdfunding drive in a bid to raise funds to host this year's edition after the national and regional culture ministries, Georgian National Film Centre and Batumi City Hall all declined contributing to its funding.

Organisers announced this month they were starting the crowdfunding, asking international cinema communities, festival organisers and individuals to "provide support to independent film festival which each year manages to create the festive platform for all cinema lovers in Batumi and promotes independent filmmakers".

They said the festival was facing "the most difficult situation in its history" after "all government sponsors" had "refused to finance" its 2022 edition without providing "any clear and logical arguments" for the refusal.

The controversy stemmed from the Batumi City Hall, where organisers had submitted a request for funding - as has been customary for its previous editions - announcing it had exhausted its budget after deciding to finance other project submissions before they had reached their announced deadline.