PRODUCTION: George Sikharulidze in Production with Georgian/French/Romanian/Italian Drama Panopticon

    Panopticon by George Sikharulidze Panopticon by George Sikharulidze credit: 20 Steps

    TBILISI: Georgian director/writer George Sikharulidze is currently in production with his debut feature Panopticon, a Georgian/French/Romanian/Italian coproduction exploring teenage sexuality and Christian fundamentalism in post-Soviet Georgia.

    In 2018, well after the dissolution of Soviet atheism, Georgia is a country of growing Orthodox Christianity. Rooted in this fundamentalism are emerging fascist organisations, which perpetuate conservative values on nationalism, religion and sexuality. One such battle is against sex clubs and brothels run by Muslim immigrants that offer a solution for Georgian youth in a country where premarital sex is a religious taboo for girls, but a cultural mandate for boys.

    Sixteen years old Sandro is in a formative moment in his life as his single father abandons him to become a monk. Vulnerable and susceptible to ideological influences, Sandro's mind and body are pulled from all directions. His search for a father figure results in a growing devotion to God and the influence of the Fascist organisations for young people.

    “The story told in Panopticon is important for Georgian society, but also unfortunately for the majority of countries. In many places, nationalism, Nazism, fascism, religious intolerance have re-emerged, and this has the greatest impact on teenagers, because it is at this age that a person/personality is formed. The cheerful form that George found by observing the life of the little boy (the main character) contains an important message for young people, who may see parallels and think about some difficult issues”, producer Vladimer Katcharava told FNE.

    The main cast includes Data Chichua, Ia Sukhitashvili, Malkhas Abuladze and Vakhtang Kedeladze.

    The film is produced by Vladimer Katcharava through Georgian 20 Steps and coproduced by Olivier Chantriaux through FILM02 (France), Anamaria Antoci through Tangaj Production (Romania) and Luca Cabriolu through More Rosse Production (Italy). Vladimer Chikhradze is line producer.

    The DoP is the outstanding Romanian cinematographer Oleg Mutu, who worked on Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, produced by Mandragora), Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) and Beyond the Hills (2012, Mobra Films), and Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass (2018, Arthouse Traffic).

    Panopticon was supported by the Georgian National Film Center with 203,702 EUR / 753,700 GEL in 2021.

    The project participated in Arras Days (2017), Cinemed Pitching Sessions (2018), Cinéfondation-Cannes (2018-2019), Torino Script Lab (2019) and Torino Film Lab (2020).

    "We started shooting the film in the summer of 2022 and it is almost finished. All locations are in Tbilisi", Katcharava also said.

    It is estimated that the film will be finished in 2023.

    George Sikharulidze was born and raised in Tbilisi, Georgia. At 18, he moved to the United States to pursue his studies in New York. His short films include The Fish that Drowned (2014, Official Selection Clermont-Ferrand IFF), Red Apples (2016, Official Selection TIFF, Clermont-Ferrand IFF), A New Year (2017, Official Selection TIFF) and Fatherland (2018, Official Selection Sundance FF).

    Production Information:

    Director George Sikharulidze, credit: 20 StepsProducer:
    20 Steps (Georgia)
    Vladimer Katcharava: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    FILM02 (Olivier Chantriaux) (France)
    Tangaj Production (Romania)
    More Rosse Production (Italy)

    Director: George Sikharulidze
    Scriptwriter: George Sikharulidze
    DOP: Oleg Mutu
    Cast: Data Chichua, Ia Sukhitashvili, Malkhas Abuladze, Vakhtang Kedeladze