The FINANCIAL -- In
order to revive the dying Georgian cinema industry local government is
going to finance municipal cinemas. The decision was made by the
National Film Center (GNFC) in response to the situation of private
cinemas in the country which have failed to develop their business and
the cinema industry in the country to a sufficient extent. Decision can
hardly damage the company owning three major cinemas in Tbilisi and
The Ministry of Culture has bought five projectors to be sited in Telavi, Poti, Khulo, Martvili and Gori The FINANCIAL was told at the National Film Center. With this the Ministry hopes to be able to determine what kinds of movies are most popular in the regions.
“We are currently working on a project of restoring municipal cinemas, partly because we cannot demand that private companies reduce their ticket prices,” Nana Janelidze, newly-appointed Director of the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC), told The FINANCIAL.
“It is hard to involve business in film production when we only have three cinemas in the whole country, all of which are under the private ownership of the same individual. Till we restore the tradition of cinema-going, business will not be interested in this sector. Films should be widely broadcast in cinemas and ticket sales should provide some benefits too,” said Janelidze.
There are over six to seven active film production companies in Georgia. Turnover in Georgian cinematography was GEL 3 million, out of which 2 million belonged to the Film Center.
The annual budget of the GNFC amounted to EUR 1,800,000, equal to last year’s figures. Over 65-70% went on financing movie production.
“We have already financed two feature films, two debuts, three short films and seven documentaries. A part of the budget is allocated for grants. We issued GEL 250,000 for one film and GEL 400,000 for another. The rest of the budget must be attracted by the directors themselves. Unfortunately the actors are very often not paid. Therefore it is hard to determine the real cost of the movie. The cost of my documentary film was USD 104,000. The average cost of a feature film in Georgia is GEL 800, 000,” she added.
“The film industry and the sector have been improving steadily over the past thirteen years. The first movie was shot in 2009. It was titled “Other Bank”. A new wave was started with this film. This year two Georgian movies were presented on two sections of Berlinale film festival: Panorama and Forum. Out of them Nana Ekvtimishvili’s film In Bloom was awarded with the Independent Juries prize. This is good proof that Georgian cinematography has moved forward after the twenty years or so of its decline.
“Film production makes up over 65-70% of our budget. Arranging European trainings has become important to us. Animation is facing big problems that need to be solved. We now have to discern an appropriate diagnosis and apply it accordingly. Together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia we plan to create a project - Georgian Movies at Schools. We think that it will be in the form of seminars. Schoolchildren will be able to direct films, starring in them as well which will also be entertaining for the children. With this initiative we also want to direct children’s energies to a productive direction. We have already arranged four trainings this year.
“Georgian film is rarely commercial. It sits more in the cultural niche that represents the nation’s identity, language and specific problems. Film is a mirror for politicians. Accordingly, they should pay greater attention to it.
“We have 100 years of history of making films.”