Georgian women directors in focus, short by Sandro Souladze in competition at Trieste Film Festival

  • A still from 'The Watchers' by Sandro Souladze, picked for the Short Film Competition by organisers of the Trieste event. Photo via Trieste Film Festival., 12 Jan 2022 - 16:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Works by nine Georgian women directors will comprise a programme of the Trieste Film Festival, one of Italy's premier cinematic celebrations, while a short by filmmaker Sandro Souladze has been picked for competition, and a Georgian-British co-production will screen in the feature section.

Slated to run between January 21-27 to in-person viewing at three venues in the northeastern Italian city, the festival will have a range of sections including Wild Roses: Women Filmmakers in Europe, with this year's focus on Georgian directors.

Films from Salome Alexi's Line of Credit, a look at protagonists in the recession-hit Georgian economy, to Karlovy Vary prize-winning House of Others by Rusudan Glurjidze, which saw Gorka Gomez Andreu nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers prize, have been sought by organisers to compile the section.

The selection also brings to the big screen Salome Jashi's Berlinale- and Sundance-screened Taming the Garden, as well as Elene Naveriani's Wet Sand, a feature on love between marginalised people in a conservative setting, along with other works.

Over in the short film competition programme, Sandro Souladze will be introduced to visitors of the Trieste event through his 27-minute Georgian-Polish co-production The Watchers, which the director has summarised as "a coming-of-age story where reality and fantasy, childish game and responsibility meet".

I shot the film in my village, where I heard many stories from local hunters about lost cattle and where the nature and surroundings inspired me

- director Sandro Souladze on 'The Watchers'

The young director's film shows two brothers left in a remotely located hut in an effort to keep them safe from an "obscure threat", with the boys - aged 8 and 14 - having to deal with their imaginations and fears while only having each other for company.

Souladze is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents section and a graduate of the Shota Rustaveli Film and Theatre Georgia State University, while The Watchers had its premiere at the most recent Raindance Film Festival.

Rounding off the Georgian representation in the festival programmes, Bebia, à mon seul désir, a British-Georgian co-production from filmmaker Juja Dobrachkous, will explore generational ties in the Feature Film Competition section of the Italian event.

The work sees a teenage model returning to Georgia to attend the funeral of her recently deceased grandmother, only to be asked to fulfil a custom in homage to the memory of the grandparent.

Ariadna soon finds herself carrying a single line of thread across twenty-five kilometres of unspoiled Georgian countryside, accompanied by Temo, a young man and family friend of uncertain motives.

Traversing this exhausting and raw terrain over a number of days and nights, Ariadna is forced to confront the impact that the complex, sometimes cruel matriarch — Bebia — had on her not-so-distant childhood

- Sarajevo Film Festival summary for 'Bebia, à mon seul désir'

Beside the films involving Georgian directors and production, the Trieste festival will see cinema professionals from the country involved in networking and pitching sessions in its industry platform.

The most recent Georgian representation in Trieste saw director Dea Kulumbegashvili's debut feature Beginning earn the principal prize of the festival.