Georgia

Beginning by Dea KolumbegashviliMARKET ANALYSIS 2020

TBILISI: Georgia was strongly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, which shut down cinemas and film production for most of 2020, but Georgian films received new awards at international festivals. Georgian cinema days and retrospectives were held in Brussels, Tallinn, Split and Lisbon, and Georgia was the Focus Country at the 2020 Trento Film Festival.

Hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia under a deal signed with the film archives of the Russian Federation in 2016. The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) declared 2020 the year of the 1920s cinema. Despite the epidemic situation, eight films from the 1920s brought from the Russian film archives "Gosfilmofond" were restored, in cooperation with the National Archives.

At the same time, work was completed on the book Georgian Cinema of the 1920s, which reflects the work of directors in this significant decade of the development of Georgian cinema.

Dea Kolumbegashvili's Beginning was selected as Georgia’s entry for the 93nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best international feature film category in 2020.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, no films or TV series were shot in Georgia under the Film in Georgia programme in 2020.

PRODUCTION

Five Georgian feature films were produced and only one of them was finished in 2020, according to the Georgian National Film Center. The domestic film finished in 2020 is Beginning, directed by Dea Kolumbegashvili and produced by First Picture / O.F.A with support from the Georgian National Film Center.

Six short films were shot in 2020 and all of them were already completed at the beginning of 2021: Hotel Mirage directed by Guram Bakradze and produced by Panik Films, Crossing directed by Sandro Naveriani and produced by Film Asylum, Thunderstruck directed by Giorgi Kobalia and produced by Film Asylum, Black Sea directed by Tinatin Emiridze and produced by Funder Ninuki Koiava, 26 directed by Gvantca Meparishvili and produced by Millimeter Film, and Heatwave directed by Tornike Gogrichiani and produced by Nushi Film. All of them are supported by the Georgian National Film Center.

Abandoned Village by Mariam KapanadzeEight documentaries were completed in 2020: MSHT-15 directed by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili and produced by Akrobat Studio (Tbilisi), Aux-Trois-Mailletz directed by Tamar Bartaia and produced by Studio 99 Ltd, Lana, Anuka and the Whole Football Team directed by Ketevan Kapanadze and produced by Microcosmos, Taming the Garden directed by Salome Jashi and produced by Mira Film Basel in coproduction with Corso Film and Sakdoc Film (which was selected for the Sundance IFF 2021), Stories from Family Album directed by Anna Dziapshipa and produced by Sakdoc Film, Glory to the Queen directed by Tatia Skhirtladze and Anna Khazaradze, and produced by 1991 Productions, and Artisan or Artist directed by Giorgi Tskhvediani and produced by Funder Nikoloz Abramashvili. All of them are supported by the Georgian National Film Center.

Three animated films were produced in 2020: Abandoned Village directed by Mariam Kapanadze and produced by "Kvali XXI" and Filmcenter “Georgian Film-Abkhazeti", The Father directed by Archil Kukhianidze and produced by Animation Development Fund, and Raven directed by Alexander Katamashvili and produced by 20 Steps Productions.

Although, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, no films or TV series were shot in Georgia under the Film in Georgia programme in 2020, three filming location scouts from Universal Pictures visited Georgia in September 2020. Their visit was part of the partnership between Enterprise Georgia, USAID’s Economic Security Programme, the Georgian National Film Center, and the Georgian Film Cluster.

"Developing the local creative industry is one of Enterprise Georgia’s top priorities. The success of this sector plays a considerable role in the economic advancement of the country”, said Mikheil Khidureli, Enterprise Georgia CEO.

Enterprise Georgia has been implementing the Film in Georgia programme since 2016. As a consequence, several production companies from Europe, Asia and the USA have already worked in the country.

From 2016 to 2020, 30 project implementation contracts were signed as part of the programme and 22 of them have been completed. The qualified expenses of all the agreements amount to more than 23.5 m EUR / 94 m GEL. It is also important to note that 15,795 employment opportunities were created during the implementation process of the mentioned projects.

The Pig by Giga LiklikadzeThe Film in Georgia team plans to continue active promotion of Georgia abroad, including the participation in major industry events (AFCI, AFM Location Expo, Focus Expo, Winston Baker Film Finance Forum), meetings with major studios, location managers and independent producers, as well as organising tours in order to introduce filming locations and existing relevant infrastructure in Georgia.

“The Film in Georgia programme is the main motivator for attracting international projects to Georgia. Our country has all the major advantages in order to be competitive in the world, such as various locations, flexible and simplified processes, lack of licenses for filming, competitive prices, film friendly society and more. However, the fact that the state supports the film industry and offers a 20% cash rebate to companies, makes them more interested”, Tatia Bidzinashvili, Head of the Film in Georgia Cash Rebate Programme, told FNE.

DISTRIBUTION

Giga Liklikadze's debut feature Pig was released in Georgian cinemas on 16 January 2020. Pig is the only Georgian film released in cinemas in 2020. This film, produced by Sarke Studio, had its world premiere at the Cottbus IFF.

In February and June 2020, the Georgian National Film Center presented the Georgian Pavilion at the Berlin IFF and Cannes FF markets, the second of them being held online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Georgian actor Levan Gelbakhiani was among the top ten European Shooting Stars at the 70th Berlin Film Festival. He was selected for his lead role in Levan Akin's And Then We Danced, produced by French Quarter Film and Takes Film, in coproduction with AMA Productions, RMV Film, Inland Film, in cooperation with Sveriges Television.

The 18th DocLisboa International Documentary FF, which was held online in 2020, screened a large retrospective: "An Exciting Retrospective of Georgian Cinema" with 40 films from different periods of time.

Georgian films received several awards in 2020.

Dea Kulumbegashvili's feature film Beginning received The Golden Shell at the San Sebastian FF, where Kulumbegashvili also received The Silver Shell for best director and together with Rati Oneli the jury prize for best screenplay. Ia Sukhitashvili was also awarded best actress. Beginning has also been selected for the 73rd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in the Official Selection of Cannes International Film Festival.

Tunnel by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano ArsenishviliNino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili's documentary Tunnel had its world premiere at the IDFA Amsterdam and it was also selected for the International Human Rights Documentary FF in Prague. The film won Best Film at the Underhill Fest in Podgorica in June 2020, as well as the main prize at the Trento IFF and best long documentary prize at the DokuBaku 2020 IFF.

Abandoned Village directed by Mariam Kapanadze, produced by "Kvali XXI" and Filmcenter “Georgian Film-Abkhazeti", won an award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan at the NEW CHITOSE International Animated FF in Hokkaido in November 2020. The European premiere of the film took place at the International Animation Festival "ANIMATEKA" in Ljubljana later in November 2020.

Ekaterine (Keko) Chelidze's long documentary Dead Souls’ Vacation produced by Parachute Films had its online world premiere in The Changing Face of Europe section of the Hot Docs IFF in Toronto.

The BIAFF, organised by the Batumi Art-house ARGANI, which had originally been scheduled for 13-20 September 2020, was postponed for a digital edition 15-25 November 2020. The BIAFF director Giorgi Gogiberidze and manager Zviad Eliziani each were awarded a special prize by the Georgian Film Academy for their contribution to the Georgian Cinema.

The 8th edition of CinéDOC-Tbilisi, which started on 30 August 2020, wrapped with the announcement of the winning films on 30 September 2020. The festival is organised by the Noosfera Foundation.

Zako by Susana Khachatryan and The Living Book by Mindia Arabuli won the Annecy-Tbilisi Animation Pitching Workshop, which took place from 28 September to 2 October 2020.

The workshop for documentary filmmakers ESoDoc was held 26 November - 4 December 2020 with the support of the GNFC. The workshop included lectures, masterclasses, film screenings and discussions, and it is an initiative of ZeLIG School for Documentary, Television and New Media, in Bolzano (Italy). Guardians of Heritage by Keti Machavariani and Aleksandre Kviria was declared the best Georgian project of ESoDoc Impact Strategy Workshop.

The first edition of the Kutaisi International Short Film Festival, organised in partnership with the Georgian National Film Center and the Kutaisi Municipality, was postponed from 3–7 November 2020 to 3-7 May 2021 due to the pandemic situation.

The 21st edition of the Tbilisi International Film Festival ran online from 30 November through 20 December 2020 and combined industry days, masterclasses and film screenings. The first place in the Georgian-Baltic Bridge competition went to Ia directed by Keti Dead Souls Vacation by Ekaterine ChelidzeMachavariani and produced by Sunny Films in coproduction with Terra Incognita Films.

The Georgian animated film project Igi directed by Natia Nikolashvili and produced by Vladimer Katcharava through 20 Steps Productions, became the winner of the Central and Eastern European Animation Forum, held online from 6 to 8 October 2020.

The debut film project Holy Electricity by Tato Kotetishvili was awarded three prizes – the Camalot / Filmmore Emerging Cinema Award, NFF Script Development Award and HFM Market Potential Award at the Holland Film Meeting. The film is produced by Zango Studio and coproduced by Nushi Film.

The documentary project Smiling Georgia, directed by Luka Beradze and produced by 1991 Productions, was selected to participate among 28 projects in the European Work in Progress Cologne.

COVID GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

No funding or financial support to industry representatives affected by the Coronavirus pandemic was approved by the state in 2020, Gaga Chkheidze, Head of the Georgian National Film Center, told FNE.

A group of producers took the initiative to create production regulations and general recommendations together with various agencies in April 2020. The regulation document discusses the main recommendations to be followed during the film production process, the activities to be carried out on the set, and additional services. FNE spoke to the producers about the crisis and their proposals.

"Considering the nature of the current reality, there are many more practical details that need to be taken into consideration in a systemic form, with legally enforced documents, which will allow for safe, flexible and uninterrupted productions. Considering the recent experiences of working with various state institutions, the working group is hopeful that further measures will be taken to address the needs of the sector. While our non-formal working group remains open to further collaborations, we call for more proactive and systemic action from the government, which concerns not only the film industry, but the creative industry in general ", Nino Jincharadze, Working Group Member and Takes Film Producer, told FNE in September 2020.Zako by Susana Khachatryan

VOD PLATFORMS AND ONLINE DISTRIBUTION

Production studios and the Georgian National Film Center responded to the COVID-19 crisis with the launch of the initiative “Stay Home, Watch Georgian Films!”, under which 27 short and long films were screened online for free starting 25 March 2020. Among them were Georgia's 2019 Academy Award bid Namme directed by Zaza Khalvashi and produced by Georgia’s Batumi Art-House Film Studio in coproduction with Lithuania’s Tremora, the award-winning Moira directed and produced by Levan Tutberidze, I Am Beso directed by Lasha Tskvitinidze and produced by Pansionati, and Listen to the Silence directed by Mariam Chachia and produced by OpyoDoc in coproduction with France’s In the mood.

In November 2020 the GNFC launched an online film club, providing Georgian films as well as production news.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The first Dolby Atmos system cinema in Georgia opened in Tbilisi on 30 November 2017. The six-screen Cavea Galleria Tbilisi with 700 seats is the fifth cinema in the Georgian capital

There is also one chain of multiplexes, the privately owned Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters consisting of Cinema Amirani LTD (four screening halls, 679 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (five screening halls, 858 seats) in Tbilisi, and also Cinema Apollo LTD (one screening hall, 154 seats) in Batumi. Cinema Rustaveli LTD closed in July 2018 and its future destiny is unclear.

Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters also runs Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, two divisions dealing with film production.

The new multiplex Cavea City Mall with 886 seats opened in 2019. CAVEA also runs CAVEA IMAX, with 10 screens including an IMAX screen, and CAVEA MOLI, with five screens. No new cinema opened in 2020.

There are currently six cinemas in Georgia with 35 screens (including one IMAX). All except one screen are digitalised.

Igi by Natia NikolashviliA total of 67 titles were theatrically released in 2020, compared to 163 in 2019.

The 2020 admissions top ten is topped by Bad Boys For Life with 34,776 admissions, followed by Jumanji (33,559 admissions), Frozen II (25,171 admissions), Spy in Disguise (17,384 admissions), The Gentlemen (13,815 admissions), Sonic (10,932 admissions), Red Shoes and Seven Dwarfs (7,695 admissions), Playing with Fire (6,623 admissions), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (6,595 admissions) and Harley Quin (6,511admissions).

Pig by Giga Liklikadze is the only Georgian film released in cinemas in 2020. It was released by Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters.

Additionally, screenings of Golden Thread directed by Lana Ghoghoberidze and produced by Film Production in coproduction with France's Manuel Cam Studio continued in 2020. Golden Thread premiered on 12 December 2019. It was released by Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters.

"Attendance-wise, the share of Pig and Golden Thread is very small. The films had approximately 2,000 admissions in all", Salome Kuprashvili, Cavea’s Marketing Manager, told FNE.

Cinemas closed on 16 March 2020 due to the pandemic situation. Prior to that, the Georgian cinemas were visited by an average of 100,000 viewers every month till the closing.

The premiere of Uta Beria's Negative Numbers, a Georgian/French/Italian coproduction between Magnet films, Alief, Wide Management and 39Films, had been scheduled for March 2020, but it was postponed for 9 July 2020, at the Cavea Drive-In Cinema. The film screened until 7 August 2020. In the first week of August, the screening of Shindisi Heroes directed by Dito Tsintsadze, produced by Vladimer Katcharava for 20 Steps Production and Edmond Minashvili for Free Movie Studio, was held again at the Cavea Drive-In Cinema.

"After almost a year of closure, cinemas are facing existential challenges and at this stage we do not know the estimated date of the resumption of screenings," Salome Kuprashvili also told FNE in January 2021.

Total admissions decreased by 83 percent from 1,359,365 in 2019 to 230,160 in 2020, according to the cinemas.Holy Electricity by Tato Kotetishvili

Total gross decreased by 86 percent from 4,145,123 EUR / 13,264,395 GEL in 2019 to 564,637 EUR / 2,258,549 GEL in 2020.

Admissions to domestic films decreased from 37,865 in 2019 to 2,000 in 2020.

Domestic box office decreased significantly. It was 119,979 EUR / 383,934 GEL in 2019, but the final statistics for 2020 were not ready at the beginning of 2021.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

The Georgian National Film Centre handles cinema strategy and allots state funding.

The total amount of funding in 2020 was 1,262,376 EUR / 5.1 m GEL. The GNFC gave out 1,660,043 EUR / 5,017,359 GEL in 2019.

In February 2020 the GNFC gave out 250,000 EUR / 800,000 GEL for the production of two first feature films.

In April 2020 the GNFC gave out 434,750 EUR / 1,499,888 GEL for the production of three feature films.

In May 2020 the GNFC allotted 135,402 EUR / 473,908 GEL for the production of six long documentaries.

In June 2020 the GNFC gave out 116,759 EUR / 396,982 GEL for the production of seven short films.

In July 2020 the GNFC allotted 202,898 EUR / 700,000 GEL for the production of two international coproductions.

The new Feature Film Script Grants were announced by the GNFC on 24 July 2020. A total of 41,449 EUR / 167,453 GEL was distributed to 17 projects.

The total amount of grants for short animated films, announced on 5 October 2020, was 17,082 EUR / 64,061 GEL.

Golden Thread by Lana GhoghoberidzeIn November 2020 the GNFC gave out 47,259 EUR / 189,036 GEL for the development of 13 documentaries.

The Georgian Feature Film Development Grants were announced by the GNFC in December 2020. The total amount of grants was 45,000 EUR / 180,000 GEL.

Georgia launched its coproduction scheme for feature films in 2010 and a new call for documentary coproductions in March 2014.

The tax incentives programme, which went into operation in 2016, offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenditure with an additional rebate of 2-5% based on the promotional value of the production.

The minimum limit of qualified expenses is approximately 190,000 EUR / 500,000 GEL for feature films, TV films, TV series/mini-series or animated films, and approximately 114,000 EUR / 300,000 GEL for documentaries, commercials, reality shows and music videos.

The programme has two stages. After shooting wraps in Georgia, 20% of qualified expenditure is automatically returned to the production company. When the film is finished and released, it is assessed according to pre-defined criteria (Georgia is mentioned as an acting place on the script level, well-known locations are used, etc.) for the additional 2-5% rebate. Both Georgian and foreign projects may participate.

No cultural test is required in order to apply for the initial 20% rebate, and the rebate also applies to key non-resident salaries paid in Georgia. The online application is valid for two years.

The Regional Film Fund of Adjara, on the Black Sea coast, launched in 2012, is also expected to boost the film initiative.

On 24 February 2015 Georgia joined the Creative Europe Programme.

The project Film at School started in 2014. According to data from 2018, a total of 800 schools from all regions of Georgia participated and 9,800 screenings took place since 2014. The project covered 90 schools and held a total of 1,024 film screenings in 2019. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the project conducted the 2020 season in a different format. A new online film education platform has been set up with the support from Creative Europe. Children watch films, discuss them and learn to make short films with the help of professionals.

Negative Numbers by Uta BeriaThe project won the Cinema Education contest (EACEA-14-2017 FILMEDU) in the framework of the Creative Europe Programme and became part of the project The Film Corner Reloaded - A Cultural Approach Together with Foreign Partners, organised by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Italy), The Film Space, (UK), The Nerve Center (Northern Ireland), the National Cinèmatheque of Serbia (Belgrade, Serbia), Kino Otok (Slovenia) and the University of Milano Bicocca, Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione Riccardo Massa (Italy).

The "Summer Film School" was held for the sixth time during two weeks in the villages near the occupation line of Georgia in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the film screenings were held outdoors. The project partners are the GNFC, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia and Creative Europe.

The GNFC  film educational project -  History-Film-History won a 205,295 EUR grant from the Creative Europe 2020 MEDIA sub-programme. This is the first time in the history of several years of cooperation with Creative Europe that Georgia has won as a lead country. The project partners are: Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, The Film Space Ltd., and the National Cinèmatheque of Serbia. History-Cinema-History will produce materials in two directions - teaching the history of 20th century Europe using films and teaching the history of cinema.

TV

Leading TV companies continued to produce new TV series in 2020. The most popular TV series in Georgia are: Friends of My Wife / Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi (Formula TV, formula.ge), In the City / Shua Kalakshi (Imedi) and Around Us / Chven Gverdit (Maestro). Two new Georgian TV series started broadcasting in 2020 -  Tesea (Formula TV) and Seance (Public Broadcasting – First Channel ).

The first Georgian children's animated TV series Rescuers also started broadcasting on the First Channel in 2020.

Private channels, Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 and TV Imedi, are usually the producers of TV series. Public Broadcasting – First Channel also produces documentaries. TV channels do not fund independent film production as a rule, that depends on individual cases, according to sources from the GNFC.

One new TV channel opened in 2020, Lider TV.

The most popular domestic online platform is Myvideo.ge, a video sharing platform providing live streaming for dozens of TV channels.

CONTACTS:

GEORGIA NATIONAL FILM CENTER
4 Zviad Gamsakhurdia Named Right Bank
Tbilisi 0105, Georgia
Phone: (+995 322) 2 999 200
Fax: (+995 322) 2 999 102
www.gnfc.ge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND MONUMENT PROTECTION GEORGIA
4, Sanapiro str., Tbilisi, Georgia, 0105Shindisi by Dito Tsintsadze, photo: 20 Steps Production
Media and Communications Division: (+995 322) 2 996 377
Office: (+995 322) 2 987 430
http://mcs.gov.ge/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GEORGIA FILM ACADEMY
0108,  Tbilisi, Kaabadze Brothers N2
(+ 995 32) 299 60 13, 293 50 97
http://geofa.org.ge/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SHOTA RUSTAVELI THEATRE AND FILM GEORGIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Building 1 – 19 Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi 0108, Georgia
Building 2 – 40 David Agmashenebeli Ave., Tbilisi 0102, Georgia
Tel: (+995 32) 999 411
Fax: (+995 32) 983 075
http://www.tafu.edu.ge/
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report by Alexander Gabelia (2021)
Sources: the Georgian National Film Centre, “Film in Georgia”, Cinemas: Rustaveli, Amirani, Cavea Tbilisi Mall, Cavea East Point

 


Shindisi by Dito Tsintsadze, photo: 20 Steps ProductionMARKET ANALYSIS 2019

TBILISI: Georgia had a great year with more awards at international festivals and more attention given to Georgian films. Georgian cinema days were held in Brussels, Rome, Boston, Poland and Jordan, and Georgia was a Focus Country at the 2019 Valladolid International Film Festival and the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.

Thirteen projects were supported in 2019 in the framework of the Film in Georgia programme. Their total spent increased by 500 percent from 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL in 2018 to 60 m EUR / 192 m GEL in 2019. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Gaga Chkheidze was appointed head of the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) in May 2019.

Negative Numbers by Uta BeriaUnder a deal signed with the film archives of the Russian Federation in 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. Their Kingdom directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili and Nutsa Ghoghoberidze is among the films returned in 2019. At this stage, 57 Georgian films are back in Georgia.

Dito Tsintsadze's Shindisi was selected as Georgia’s entry for the 92nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best international feature film category.

PRODUCTION

Eight Georgian feature films were produced and finished in 2019, according to the GNFC. All of them are supported by the GNFC.

Five of them were screened at the Tbilisi International Film Festival: Negative Numbers (international premiere at Arras FF), written and directed by Uta Beria and produced by Magnet Films, The Pig (international premiere at FilmFestival Cottbus), written and directed by Giga Liklikadze and produced by Sarke Studio, Golden Thread written and directed Lana Ghoghoberidze and produced by 3003 Film Production, Comets written and directed by Tamar Shavgulidze and produced by Nushi Film (international premiere at Toronto IFF), and Inhale- Exhale (international premiere at Shanghai IFF, two awards in the main competition), written by Nestan (Nene) Kvinikadze, directed by Dito Tsintsadze and produced by Cinetech Film Production.

The Criminal Man, co-written and directed by Dimitri Mamulia and produced by Millimeterfilm, was completed and had its premiere at the Venice FF within the Horizons competition programme in 2019.

Other films are almost ready for their premieres. The list includes the new feature film by Zaza Urushadze Anton, produced by Georgian International Films LLC in coproduction with Insightmedia from the Ukraine and Cinevision Global from the USA, and Otar’s Death directed by Ioseb Bliadze and produced by Eva Blondiau through Georgia’s MAISIS PERI in coproduction with Color of May from Germany, Studio Artizm (Lasha Khalvashi) from Georgia and M-Films (Marija Razgute) from Lithuania.

The Pig by Giga LiklikadzeNine short films were shot in 2019 and all of them are already completed: The Empty Table directed by Goga Kobalia and produced by Visual Arts Center, Summer directed by Giorgi Mukhadze and produced by Takes Films, Bad People directed by Giorgi Tavartkiladze and produced by 20 Steps Productions, Krimanchuli Thiefs directed by Khatuna Khundadze and produced by Abkstudia, Sweaty Towels directed by Alexander Kviria and produced by Takes Films, Marx Street 12 directed by Irine Jordania and produced by Studia Kedar, Refugee directed by Irakli Solomonashvili and produced by Nali, and When Butterflies Begin to Fly directed by Bekar Jguburia and produced by Irakli Chikvaidze.

Seven documentaries were completed in 2019: Dead Souls Vacation directed by Ekaterine Chelidze and produced by Parachute FilmsCircle directed by Alexander Rekhviashvili and produced by Rati Rekhviashvili, How to Become Georgian directed by Natia Arabuli-Weger and produced by EBC Film Studio, A Tunnel directed by Nino Orjonikidze and produced by ArteFact (international premiere at IDFA), Lost 8½ directed by Vakho Varazi and produced by Nali, And the Others directed by Davit Gurgulia and produced by Studio123, Twelve Lessons directed by Giorgi Mrevlishvili and produced by MAC Georgia, Harvest directed by Mikheil Antadze and produced by NAPR Cinemark, and Aznash Laman directed by Nona Giunashvili and produced by B-A-T studio Ltd.

Four animated films were produced in 2019: Trauri directed by Petre Tomadze and produced by ADF, Raven directed by Alexander Katamashvili and produced by 20 Steps Productions, Franzy's Soup-Kitchen directed by Ani Chubinidze and produced by Pocket Studio, and Abandoned Village directed by Mari Kapanadze and produced by Tsotne Kalandadze. Only Trauri was already finished by the end of 2019, the rest of them were in production or postproduction.

The following films and TV series were shot under the Film in Georgia programme in 2019: Venice a Georgian/Swiss/Norwegian coproduction directed by Rusudan Chkonia, produced by 20 Steps Productions in coproduction with Akka Films and Ape&Bjørn, and serviced by Nike Studio Ltd; Rocketry The Nambi Effect (India) directed by R.Madhavan and Prajesh Sen, produced by Tricolour Productions and Varghese Moolan Pictures and serviced by Betterfly Films; The Other Me (Georgia) directed by Giga Agladze, produced by The Fun Group and serviced by BA Production; Sakartvelo (Georgia) directed by Nikoloz Khomasuridze, produced by Lost Legends and serviced by Sakartvelo Films Ltd; Naked Sky / Daisi (Georgia) directed by Dea Kolumbegashvili, produced by Rati Oneli and serviced by Cinema-Architecture Office; The Resting Samurai a Georgian/Dutch coproduction directed by Levan Tutberidze, produced by the Georgian company Alamdary Films and coproduced with Windmill Film’s Annemiek van der Hell (the Netherlands) and supported by the Georgian National Film Center with EUR 132,000 / GEL 400,000, the Georgian Public BroadcasterUPP (Czech Republic) and Silk Factory Studio (Georgia); Kargil Girl (India) directed by Sharan Sharma, produced by Dharma Productions and serviced by Betterfly Films; The Lady of Heaven (UK) directed by John Stephenson, produced by Mattew Kuipers and serviced by Sarke Studio LLC; Doubleman a Thai TV series produced by Thai company Kanthana Motion Pictures and serviced by Georgian Film Production; Fast & Furious 9 (USA) directed by Justin Lin, produced by Original Film and Universal Pictures, and serviced by Enkeny Films; Field directed by Lasha Tskvitinidze, produced by Nodar Nozadze through Pansionati in coproduction with Nushi Film (Tekla Machavariani) from Georgia; It Is Not Milk (Visual advertising, UK) directed by Conor Byrne through Hungry Man, and serviced by Sarke Studio LLC (Georgia).

Comets by Tamar ShavgulidzeThe Film in Georgia programme rebated the first US studio production in Georgia, Fast & Furious 9, with 7.9 m EUR / 25.3 m GEL. The project used more than 2,000 locals in its 30 days of shooting (19 August - 21 September 2019) in Tbilisi. This has been the biggest international film production so far for Georgia. 

“It was the first US Studio production filming in Georgia, and the responsibility on us was huge to convince Hollywood that the country is ready to host large-scale productions, in terms of flexibility of doing business in the country, as well as qualifications of Georgian film crews. Today we have multiple upcoming projects with different US studios. The contacts that we have acquired in this process during the last two years give us the vision and the opportunity to create a strategy that will give us a stable, developed film industry in the long run. Along with production services, creating our content is one of our main directions as a company. We are currently developing a couple of scripts, at the same time having negotiations with film financiers in the USA and London. We believe, in a couple of years we will be able to become an important hub for filmmaking in this part of the world”, Sophio Bendiashvili, Enkeny Films Managing Partner, told FNE. 

The total investment of all 13 projects shot under Film in Georgia amounts to 60 m EUR / 192 m GEL so far. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

The Film in Georgia team plans to continue the active promotion of Georgia abroad, including participation in major industry events (AFCI, AFM Location Expo, Focus Expo,Winston Baker Film Finance Forum), meetings with major studios, location managers and independent producers, as well as familiarisation tours to Georgia, in order to introduce filming locations and existing relevant infrastructure in the country.

“The programme Film in Georgia is the main motivator for attracting international projects to Georgia. Our country has all the major advantages in order to be competitive in the world, such as various locations, flexible and simplified processes, lack of licenses for filming, competitive prices, film friendly society and more. However, the fact that the state supports the film industry and offers 20% cash rebate to companies, makes them more interested”, Tatia Bidzinashvili, Head of the Film in Georgia Cash Rebate Programme, told FNE.

“We have brought more experience and real results to the Hollywood market, which gave us more confidence in 2019. Representatives of Universal Picture gave us recommendations and spoke about the positive emotions surrounding filming in Georgia. They also made a presentation to the Motion Picture Association of America, where Georgia met with great interest and we are currently negotiating three major projects“, Tatia Bidzinashvili also said.

The agency also hosts Hollywood producers every year and it organises FAM tours to discover Georgia as the most attractive location of Eastern Europe. Also, during the year, the agency organises official Georgian stands at a number of cinematic markets.

DISTRIBUTION

Inhale-Exhale by Dito Tsintsadze, credit: Cinetech Film ProductionNew Georgian films were successful at festivals and nine of them were theatrically released in 2019.

The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) made its 14th appearance at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019. GNFC and the Ministry of Economy agency “Produce in Georgia” jointly presented a stand of Georgia at the European Film Market (EFM). The Georgian Pavilion, besides promoting Georgian films, promoted the Film in Georgia programme among the foreign filmmakers interested in shooting in Georgia.

The premiere of Armed Lullaby, an animated film directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze, was held in the Generation section of the Berlinale in 2019. Yana Ugrekhelidze is a Georgian animated film director who lives in Germany. The film was produced by Kunsthochschule für Medien (Germany) and is based on a real story that happened in 1993 during the Sukhumi ethnical cleansing against Georgian civilians.

Giorgi Shvelidze, the cinematographer for Georgia’s Academy Award bid Namme by Zaza Khalvashi, won the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Spotlight Award in Los Angeles in 2019. Giorgi Shvelidze also became a member of the American Motion Picture Academy in July 2019.

Nino Zhvania's and Misho Antadze's film premieres were held at the Rotterdam IFF in January 2019. Parade directed by Nino Zhvania received the Best Feature Award in the Georgian Panorama at the Tbilisi IFF 2018. Misho Antadze’s documentary The Harvest collected the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC)’s Award at the Jeonju IFF in Seoul in May 2019. The film premiered at the Rotterdam IFF.

GNFC participated in the Cannes Film Market for the 12th time. The Soviet Georgian feature film The White Caravan (1963), directed by Eldar Shengelaya and Tamaz Meliava and produced by Georgian Film, returned to the big screen at the Cannes Film Festival, 55 years after its first screening, as part of the Cannes Classics programme.

The Swedish/Georgian coproduction And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin and produced by French Quarter Film and Takes Film has its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section in Cannes 2019.

Dito Tsintsadze's Shindisi has been selected as Georgia’s entry for the 92nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best international feature film category. The film was produced by Georgian 20 Steps in coproduction with Free Movie Shindisi by Dito TsintsadzeStudio (Georgia), with the financial support of the Georgian National Film Center.

In October 2019, Shindisi received the Grand Prix at the 35th Warsaw Film Festival.

Dimitri Mamulia's The Criminal Man premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2019. It was produced by Georgia’s Millimeterfilm in coproduction with Russia’s Kinokult.

Film director, screenwriter, journalist and actress Nino Kirtadze is the new representative of Georgia in Eurimages. According to the Georgian National Film Center, 15 Georgian foreign coproductions have received support since 2011, the year when Georgia joined Eurimages. Click HERE for an FNE interview with Nino Kirtadze.

Salome Jashi's project Trees Floating (Switzerland, Germany, Georgia) produced by Mira Film Basel in coproduction with Corso Film and Sakdoc Film, and supported by the Georgian National Film Center, received 50,000 EUR / 160,000 GEL from Eurimages in October 2019.

Under a deal signed with Russia (Gosfilmofond, the film archives of the Russian Federation) in September 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. The first four films returned in November 2016 under the project Return of Georgian Heritage to Homeland, 11 films returned in 2017, 18 films returned in 2018 and another 17 returned in 2019.

Among the films returned in 2019 there is Their Kingdom directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili and Nutsa Ghoghoberidze. At this stage 57 Georgian films are back in Georgia. The process of returning Georgian films to their homeland will continue in 2020 and the priority will still be Georgian films of the 20s. After the completion of this phase, the Georgian film heritage from this period will be fully returned to its homeland.

The Criminal Man by Dimitri MamuliaEXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The first Dolby Atmos system cinema in Georgia opened in Tbilisi on 30 November 2017. The six-screen Cavea Galleria Tbilisi with 700 seats is the fifth cinema in the Georgian capital

There is also one chain of multiplexes, the privately owned Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters consisting of Cinema Amirani LTD (four screening halls, 679 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (five screening halls, 858 seats) in Tbilisi, and also Cinema Apollo LTD (one screening hall, 154 seats) in Batumi. Cinema Rustaveli LTD closed in July 2018 and its future destiny is unclear.

Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters also runs Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, two divisions dealing with film production.

The new multiplex Cavea City Mall with 886 seats opened in 2019. CAVEA also runs CAVEA IMAX, with 10 screens including an IMAX screen, and CAVEA MOLI, with five screens.

There are currently six cinemas in Georgia with 35 screens (including one IMAX). All except one screen are digitalised.

A total of 163 films were screened in cinemas in 2019.

The 2019 admissions top ten is topped by Avengers: Endgame with 64,494 admissions, followed by Joker  (63,064 admissions), The Lion King (35,833 admissions), Aladdin (34,652 admissions), Frozen 2 (34,446 admissions), Maleficent 2 (34,220 admissions), The Grinch (28,898 admissions), Captain Marvel (28,872 admissions), Spider-Man: Far from Home (25,740 admissions) and Aquaman (25,272 admissions).

The most successful Georgian films in cinemas in 2019 were: Shindisi directed by Dito Tsintsadze, with 23,722 admissions and 74, 250 EUR / 237,603 GEL gross, And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin, with 5,899 admissions and 22,707 EUR / 72,665How to Become Georgian by Natia Arabuli Weger GEL gross, and Izzy and the Magician directed by Khatuna Giorgobiani and produced by Giga Production, with 4,103 admissions and 10,490 EUR / 33,568 GEL gross.

Total admissions increased by 1.34 percent from 1,298,404 in 2018 to 1,359,365 in 2019.

Total gross increased by 4.1 percent from 4,006,124 EUR / 12,018,372 GEL in 2018 to 4,145,123 EUR / 13,264,395 GEL in 2019.

Admissions to domestic films decreased from 55,495 in 2018 to 37,865 in 2019.

Domestic box office decreased from 137,007 EUR / 411,022 GEL in 2018 to 119,979 / 383 934 GEL in 2019.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

A new director of the Georgian National Film Centre was appointed in May 2019. Gaga Chkheidze is the founder and the director of the Tbilisi International Film Festival. In July 2019 FNE spoke with Gaga Chkheidze about his goals and the challenges facing Georgian cinema.

The Georgian National Film Centre handles cinema strategy and allots state funding. The total amount of funding in 2019 was 1,660,043 EUR / 5,017,359 GEL. The GNFC gave out 1,407,709 EUR / 4,223,128 GEL in 2018.

In February 2019 the GNFC gave out 400,000 EUR / 1.2 m GEL for the production of four feature films.

In April 2019 the GNFC allotted 393,333 EUR / 1.18 m GEL for the production of four international coproductions.

The Low Budget Feature Film and Debut Feature Production Grants were announced by the GNFC on 30 June and 9 July 2019. The total amount of grants was 516,453 EUR / 1,549,359 GEL.

In September 2019 the GNFC allotted 120,000 EUR / 360,000 GEL for the production of six long and one short documentary.

In September 2019 the GNFC gave out 142,187 EUR / 455,000 GEL for the production of nine short films.

The grants for short animated films were announced on 11 October 2019. The total amount of grants was 88,064 EUR / 273,000 GEL.

Georgia launched its coproduction scheme for feature films in 2010 and a new call for documentary coproductions in March 2014.

The Resting Samurai by Levan TutberidzeThe tax incentives programme, which went into operation in 2016, offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenditure with an additional rebate of 2-5% based on the promotional value of the production.

The minimum limit of qualified expenses is approximately 190,000 EUR / 500,000 GEL for feature films, TV films, TV series/mini-series or animated films, and approximately 114,000 EUR / 300,000 GEL for documentaries, commercials, reality shows and music videos.

The programme has two stages. After shooting wraps in Georgia, 20% of qualified expenditure is automatically returned to the production company. When the film is finished and released, it is assessed according to pre-defined criteria (Georgia is mentioned as an acting place on the script level, well-known locations are used, etc.) for the additional 2-5% rebate. Both Georgian and foreign projects may participate.

No cultural test is required in order to apply for the initial 20% rebate, and the rebate also applies to key non-resident salaries paid in Georgia. The online application is valid for two years.

The Regional Film Fund of Adjara, on the Black Sea coast, launched in 2012, is also expected to boost the film initiative.

On 24 February 2015 Georgia joined the Creative Europe Programme.

In 2019 the third edition of the Georgian Cinema Forum was held in Bakuriani. The event was organised by the Mountain Resorts of Georgia and the GNFC. Creative Europe Desk Georgia and the Borjomi Municipality were among the partners.

The project Film at School started in 2014. According to data from 2018, a total of 800 schools from all regions of Georgia participated and 9,800 screenings took place since 2014. The project covered 90 schools and held a total of 1,024 film screenings in 2019. School students watch films, discuss them and learn to make short films with the help of professionals. The project won the Cinema Education contest (EACEA-14-2017 FILMEDU) in the framework of Creative Europe and became part of the project The Film Corner Reloaded - A Cultural Approach Together with Foreign Partners, organised by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Italy), The Film Space, (UK), The Nerve Center (Northern Ireland), the National Cinèmatheque of Serbia (Belgrade, Serbia), Kino Otok (Slovenia) and the University of Milano Bicocca, Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione Riccardo Massa (Italy).

TV

Inhale-Exhale by Dito Tsintsadze, credit: Cinetech Film ProductionLeading TV companies continue to produce TV series. The most popular TV series in Georgia are: Friends of My Wife / Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi (Broadcasting Company Rustavi2), In the City / Shua Kalakshi (Imedi) and Around Us / Chven Gverdit (Maestro). The new Georgian TV series No address / Misamartis Gareshe started broadcasting on Imedi in 2019.

Private channels Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 and TV Imedi are usually the producers of TV series. Public Broadcasting – First Channel also produces documentaries. TV channels do not fund independent film production as a rule; it depends on the individual case, according to sources from GNFC.

Three new TV channels opened in 2019: Mtavari Arkhi, Formula TV and Post TV.

The most popular domestic online platform is Myvideo.ge, a video sharing platform providing live streaming for dozens of TV channels.

CONTACTS:

The Resting Samurai by Levan TutberidzeGeorgia National Film Centre
4 Zviad Gamsakhurdia Named Right Bank
Tbilisi 0105, Georgia
Phone: (+995 322) 2 999 200
Fax: (+995 322) 2 999 102
www.gnfc.ge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report by Alexander Gabelia (2020)
Sources: the Georgian National Film Centre, “Film in Georgia”, Cinemas: Rustaveli, Amirani, Cavea Tbilisi Mall, Cavea East Point


MARKET ANALYSIS 2018

Namme by Zaza KhalvashiGeorgia had a great year with more awards at international festivals and more attention given to Georgian films. Georgian cinema days were held in Chicago, London and Lithuania and Georgia was a Focus Country at the 2018 Filmkunstfest, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur for Animated Film, the Cottbus Film Festival, the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol and at Filmfest Dresden.

Eighteen projects were supported in 2018 in the framework of the Film in Georgia programme. Their total spend amounted to 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Total admissions increased by 0.457 percent from 1,292,496 in 2017 to 1,298,404 in 2018. Admissions for domestic films decreased from 71,509 in 2017 to 55,495 in 2018.

Under a deal signed with Russia (Gosfilmofond, the film archives of the Russian Federation) in September 2016, hundreds of films made from 1921 to 1991 are to be returned to Georgia. The first four films returned in November 2016 under the project Return of Georgian Heritage to Homeland, eleven films returned in 2017 and another 18 films returned in 2018 with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science Culture and Sport of Georgia, the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC), the TBC Bank, the GMT Group, the IDS Borjomi company and the Geocell company. At this stage 34 Georgian films are back in Georgia.

PRODUCTION

Seven Georgian feature films were produced and finished in 2018, according to the GNFC. All of them are supported by the GNFC.

Namme, written and directed by Zaza Khalvashi and produced by Batumi Art-House Film Studio, was shot in 2017. The premiere took place in 2018.Brighton 4th by Levan Koguashvili

The production of Brighton 4th, the third feature film by acclaimed Levan Koguashvili, which is a Georgian/Russian/Bulgarian/French coproduction between Kino Iberica, New Media Order, Art Fest  and MACT Productions, also wrapped in 2018. It will premiere in the near future.

Giorgi Katcharava's low budget feature film The Man, produced by Cinemagia, is also already completed.

Other films are ready for their premieres. They were shot in 2017 and they were in postproduction at the beginning of 2018. The list includes the new feature film by Dimitry Mamulia, Unknown, produced by Milimeter Film, and Ursus, written by the esteemed Zaza Buadze, directed by Otar Shamatava and produced by Georgia’s Studio O in coproduction with Ukraine’s Fresh Productions, Germany’s Aktis Film Production and Bulgaria’s Geopoly. The postproduction of Ursus began in 2017.

The feature film Parade, directed by Nino Zhvania and produced by New Georgian Film, was completed in 2018. It was awarded best film at the Tbilisi International Festival in 2018.

The feature film Neighbors by Gigisha Abashidze was also completed in 2018. This is the first Georgian/Macedonian coproduction, produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Georgia’s Gemini and Macedonia’s Small Moves Films.

Tamar Shavgulidze’s feature film My House in Front of the Forest completed shooting in Tsavkisi and moved into postproduction in 2018. The film is inspired by Galaktion Tabidze’s poem I Still See It, Your Apartment at the Edge of the Forest, with the script written by Shavgulidze. The film is produced by Nushi Film.

The documentary director Rudolph Herzog shot his debut feature in Georgia in 2018. How to Sell a War is coproduced by Georgia's 20 Steps Productions.

Six short films were shot in 2018, of which three are already completed: Night Duty, directed by Nato Gabunia and Grigol Janashia and produced by Predator Film, Eraser, directed by Data Pirtskhalava and produced by Milimeter Film, and Bad People, directed by Giorgi Tavartkiladze and produced by 20 Steps Productions.

Ursus by Otar ShamatavaSeven documentaries were shot in 2018, of which four are completed: Homeless directed by Zurab Inashvili and produced by Author's Film Studio, Pioneer’ Palace directed by Ana Tsimintia and produced by Matchhouse, In The Hot Sun directed by Shorena Tevzadze and produced by DiaFilm, and Before Dad Comes Back directed by Mariam Gulbiani and produced by Nushi Film.

The following documentaries are not yet finished: Lost Eight and a Half directed by Vakhtang Varazi and produced by Nali, Floating Trees directed by Salome Jashi and produced by Sakdok Film, and How to Become Georgian directed by Natia Arabuli-Weger and produced by EBC Film Studio  

Three animated films were produced in 2018: Fisherman and the Little Girl directed by Mamuka Tkeshelashvili and produced by 20 Steps ProductionsZolemia directed by Nana Samanishvili and produced by Keti Djanelidze, and Frog in Love directed by Valer Kharitonashvili and produced by Alien Kid. Only Fisherman and the Little Girl was already finished at the beginning of 2019, the rest of them were in postproduction.

The following films and TV series were shot under the Film in Georgia programme in 2018: SEY RAA 2 (India) directed by Surrender Reddy, produced by Production House (Sweden) and serviced in Georgia by Production House Ltd , And Then We Danced directed by Levan Akin, produced by ATWD and serviced  by ATWD, Inside Edge (India) directed by Karan Anshuman, produced by SG Film Production and serviced by SG Film Production, The Mask (China) directed by Jian Lou, produced by Arsen Productions Ltd and serviced by Arsen Productions Ltd, In the Shadows (Turkey, Georgia) directed by Erdem Tepegoz, produced by Digital Kitchen Film and Contact Film Works, and serviced by Digital Kitchen Film Ltd, and Missing Emily (Georgia) directed by Padraig Reynolds, produced by MISSING EMILY LLC and serviced by MISSING EMILY LLC.

The total investment of all 18 projects shot under Film in Georgia so far amounts to 12 m EUR / 36 m GEL. More than 4,000 local cast and technical crew were employed.

Only the Chinese project The Mask starring Ryan Zheng and Zhang Guoli spent more than 3,666,666 m EUR / 11 m GEL in Georgia and used more than 1,900 people in its large scale shooting.

The Film in Georgia team plans to continue active promotion of Georgia abroad, including participation in major industry events (AFCI, AFM Location Expo, Focus Expo,Winston Baker Film Finance Forum), meetings with major studios, location managers and independent Neighbors by Gigisha Abashidzeproducers, as well as FAM tours to Georgia, in order to introduce filming locations and existing relevant infrastructure in the country.

“The programme Film In Georgia is the main motivator for attracting international projects to Georgia. Our country has all the major advantages in order to be competitive in the world, such as various locations, flexible and simplified processes, lack of licenses for filming, competitive prices, film friendly society and more. However, the fact that the state supports the film industry and offers 20% cash rebate to companies, makes them more interested. So it will be possible to make more investments“, Tatia Bidzinashvili, Head of the Film in Georgia Cash Rebate Programme, told FNE.

The agency also hosts Hollywood producers every year and organises FAM tours to discover Georgia as the most attractive location of Eastern Europe. Also, during the year, the agency organises official Georgian stands at a number of cinematic markets.

DISTRIBUTION

New Georgian films were successful at festivals and domestically released in 2018. 

Horizon directed by Tinatin Kajrishvili and produced by Gemini, had its world premiere within the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival on 16 February 2018. The film was developed with the support of the Georgian National Film Centre and it is a Georgian/Swedish coproduction.

Irakli Kvirikadze was among the 10 most promising European actors selected by the European Film Promotion for Berlinale’s European Shooting Stars programme in 2018. Irakli Kvirikadze is known for playing the lead role in Hostages by Rezo Gigineishvili, a coproduction between Russia’s INK TV and NEBO Film Company, Georgia’s 20 Steps Productions and Poland’s Extreme Emotions.

Horizon by Tinatin KajrishviliMy Happy Family directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross was nominated for Germany's LOLA Awards by the German Film Academy. My Happy Family is the first Georgian film for which Netflix purchased global distribution rights. The film, produced by Germany’s augenschein Filmproduktion GmbH in coproduction with Georgia’s Polare Film Llc and France’s Arizona Production, became the first film to bring back more than 20% of the qualified expenditure on production.

Georgian short documentary The Trader / Sovdagari directed by Tamta Gabrichidze was broadcast on Netflix in 2018. The Trader had its premiere at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival 2017 in Toronto, where it won the best short documentary award.

The Cranes Are Flying (1957) by Georgian-born Soviet director Mikheil Kalatozishvili was screened in the Berlinale Classics of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in 2018.

After receiving several accolades in 2017, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno FF and the Grand Prix at the Sarajevo IFF, Ana Urushadze’s Scary Mother opened the Critics’ Week in Berlin in February 2018. Scary Mother, which was produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Gemini and Estonia's Allfilm, was also selected for the 47th edition of New Directors/New Films in 2018.

Tthree Georgian filmmakers (Ana Sarukhanova, Rati Tsiteladze, Nino Varsimashvili) participated in the Berlinale Talents in 2018.

Ana Chubinidze's animated film Pocket Man received the Young Audience Award at the International Film Festival of Roanne, France. Pocket Man is the first Georgian/French animated film coproduction and it was created with the support of the GNFC.

Georgian films won four prizes at the 2018 Beijing IFF: Scary Mother, directed by Ana Urushadze and produced by Studio Artizm in coproduction with Gemini and Estonia's Allfilm, won Best Feature Film and Best Supporting Actress (Nato Murvanidze), while Dede directed by Mariam Khachvani and produced by 20 Steps in coproduction with Film and Music Entertainment, MP Film Production, Montauk Film Production and JaJa Film Productions, was awarded Best Director and Best Cinematography.

The Georgian short animated film Geno has been sold to Japan, Korea, France, Spain and the United States. This first Georgian 3D animated film was directed by David Kiknavelidze and produced by Lira Production Studios, with the support of the GNFC.

Also in 2018 the GNFC hosted a retrospective of Georgian films at the Frankfurt Book Fair. More than 20 films from silent cinema to Georgia's independence were screened, including the avant-garde cinematic samples such as Kote Mikaberidze's My Grandmother (1929) and Mikheil Kalatozishvili's Salt of Svanetia (1930).

My House in Front of the Forest by Tamar ShavgulidzeIn 2018 Zaza Khalvashi's Namme was selected as Georgia’s entry for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award in the best foreign language film category. This Georgian/Lithuanian coproduction had its international premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival in 2017.

The Oscar and Golden Globe campaign featured the first official screening of Namme in Los Angeles on 7 November 2018, followed by two additional screenings organised by the  European Film Promotion on 11 and 15 November 2018. Giorgi Shvelidze, the cinematographer of Namme, was nominated for the 33rd American Society of Cinematographers Awards in the Spotlight Award category. The ceremony will be held on 9 February 2019.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

The first Dolby Atmos system cinema in Georgia opened in Tbilisi on 30 November 2017. The six-screen Cavea Galleria Tbilisi with 700 seats is the fifth cinema in the Georgian capital

There is also one chain of multiplexes, the privately owned Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters consisting of Cinema Amirani LTD (four screening halls, 679 seats) and Cinema Rustaveli LTD (five screening halls, 858 seats) in Tbilisi, and also Cinema Apollo LTD (one screening hall, 154 seats) in Batumi. Cinema Rustaveli LTD closed in July 2018 and its future destiny is unclear.

The same company operates CAVEA cinemas, consisting of two multiplexes: CAVEA IMAX, with 10 screens including an IMAX screen, and CAVEA MOLI, with five screens.

Rustaveli/Amirani Movie Theaters also runs Film Distribution LTD and Light Bank LTD, two divisions dealing with film production.

There are currently six cinemas in Georgia with 26 screens (including one IMAX). All except one screen are digitalised.

A total of 179 films were screened in cinemas in 2018.

The 2018 admissions top ten is topped by Hotel Transylvania 3 with 64,494 admissions, followed by Avengers: Infinity War (63,064), Venom (35,833), Bohemian Rhapsody (34,652), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (34,446), Black Panther (34,220), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (28,898), Incredibles 2 (28,872), Smallfoot (25,740) and Deadpool 2 (25,272).

The most successful Georgian films in cinemas in 2018 were: Naughty Children: Operation Ninth Sky directed by Zura Menteshashvili and produced by Mentesh Production, with 19,049 admissions, Ekvtime: Man of God directed by Nikoloz Khomasuridze and produced by Lost Legends, with 19,003 admissions, and DeDe directed by Mariam Khachvani and produced by 20 Steps, with 10,259 admissions. 

How to Become Georgian by Natia Arabuli WegerTotal admissions increased by 0.457 percent from 1,292,496 in 2017 to 1,298,404 in 2018.

Total gross increased by 11.8 percent from 3,331,711 EUR / 10,594,843 in 2017 to 4,006,124 EUR / 12,018,372 GEL in 2018.

Admissions to domestic films decreased from 71,509 in 2017 to 55,495 in 2018.

Domestic box office decreased from 180,675 EUR / 574,547 GEL in 2017 to 137,007 EUR / 411,022 GEL in 2018.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

The Georgian National Film Centre handles cinema strategy and allots state funding. The total amount of funding in 2018 was 1,407,709 EUR / 4,223,128 GEL. The GNFC gave out 1,247,409 EUR / 3,921,854 GEL in 2017.

In March 2018 the GNFC gave out 83,333 EUR / 250,000 GEL for the production of seven animated films.

Project development grants were announced in April 2018.

In May 2018 the GNFC allotted 339,466 EUR / 977,668 GEL for the production of three debut features.

In June 2018 the GNFC allotted 150,000 EUR / 420,000 GEL for the production of eight long and two short documentaries.

Georgia launched its coproduction scheme for feature films in 2010 and also launched a new call for documentary coproductions in March 2014.

The tax incentives programme, which went into operation in 2016, offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenditure with an additional rebate of 2-5% based on the promotional value of the production.

The minimum limit of qualified expenses is approximately 190,000 EUR / 500,000 GEL for feature films, TV films, TV series/mini-series or animated films, and approximately 114,000 EUR / 300,000 GEL for documentaries, commercials, reality shows and music videos.

Fisherman and the Little Girl by Mamuka TkeshelashviliThe programme has two stages. After shooting wraps in Georgia, 20% of qualified expenditure is automatically returned to the production company. When the film is finished and released, it is assessed according to pre-defined criteria (Georgia is mentioned as an acting place on the script level, well-known locations are used, etc.) for the additional 2-5% rebate. Both Georgian and foreign projects may participate.

No cultural test is required in order to apply for the initial 20% rebate, and the rebate also applies to key non-resident salaries paid in Georgia. The online application is valid for two years.

The Regional Film Fund of Adjara, on the Black Sea coast, launched in 2012, is also expected to boost the film initiative.

On 24 February 2015 Georgia joined the Creative Europe Programme.

In 2018, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Levan Kharatishvili and the Director of the GNFC Zurab Maghalashvili visited the Georgian Film Studio to assess the situation of the project Chronicle of Georgia, which started in 2016. The project implies cleaning, sorting, restoration and transferring archive material to digital support. The studio has a unique documentary collection of 25,000 boxes of films reflecting the history of Georgia in the 20th century. The current 12,000 boxes were technically developed, cleaned, and transferred to 1 minute digital format in 2018. 

In 2018 the second edition of the Georgian Cinema Forum was held in Kutaisi. The event was organised by the Ministry of Economy of Georgia and the GNFC. Also in 2018 a workshop for film critics and bloggers was held in Kutaisi. The workshop was organised by the Creative Europe Desk Georgia.

The project Film at School started in 2014. According to the data of 2018, a total of 800 schools from all regions of Georgia participated and 9,800 screenings took place since 2014. School students watch films, discuss around them and learn to make short films with the help of professionals. The project has won the Cinema Education contest (EACEA-14-2017 FILMEDU) in the framework of Creative Europe and it is also part of the project The Film Corner Reloaded - A Cultural Approach Together with Foreign Partners, organised by Fondazione Cineteca Italiana.

TV

Leading TV companies continue to produce TV series. The most popular TV series in Georgia are: Friends of My Wife / Chemi Tsolis Dakalebi (Broadcasting Company Rustavi2), In the City / Shua Kalakshi (Imedi) and Around Us / Chven Gverdit (Maestro). A new Georgian TV The Trader by Tamta Gabrichidzeseries The Great Break / Didi Shesveneba started broadcasting on Imedi in 2017.

Private channels, Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2 and TV Imedi, are usually the producers of TV series. Public Broadcasting – First Channel also produces documentaries. TV channels do not fund independent film production as a rule, but it depends on the individual case, according to sources from GNFC.

Iberia TV stopped broadcasting in 2018.

The most popular domestic online platform is Myvideo.ge, a video sharing platform providing live streaming for dozens of TV channels.

CONTACTS:

Georgia National Film Centre
4 ZviadGamsakhurdia Named Right Bank
Geno by Dato KiknavelidzeTbilisi 0105, Georgia
Phone: (+995 322) 2 999 200
Fax: (+995 322) 2 999 102
www.gnfc.ge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report by Alexander Gabelia (2019)
Sources: the Georgian National Film Centre, Cinemas: Rustaveli, Amirani, Cavea Tbilisi Mall, Cavea East Point