Georgian Filmmakers against National Film Center System

Young Georgian filmmakers face various obstacles while coordinating with the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC), which is now the only institution helping them in film funding. Representatives of new film movement Vake Park noted that besides the existing long-term problems, most recently, they have had to face the issue of censorship and incompetent assessment from the jury.

The Vake Park Film Movement (VPFM) claim that the crucial moment for the movement’s creation was the jury’s incompetent evaluation of Lasha Tskvitinidze’s film ‘Armatura’. “Members of the jury demonstrated exceptionally unprofessional, incompetent and unethical behavior in their attempt to censor the project based on its “vulgar” content and the form of the script. The reviews and the scores given by the jury members were extremely biased and designed to simply unfairly ban the project from advancing to the next stage of the competition. Reviews of the jury ranged from outright insulting to the director to politically incorrect and abusive toward the mentally handicapped character of the screenplay,” stated rpresentatives of the VPFM.

Tskvitinidze, who is famous for directing the award-winning ‘I am Beso’ movie, said that the manner of speech of characters in his new work corresponds to their roles, and it cannot be considered as abuse or obscene language.

The VPFM said that the above happened due to the new lottery system of jury selection brought in by new director of the GNFC, Zurab Maghalashvili. “The lottery, or random, selection of jury members for funding competitions completely liberates Maghalashvili and the GNFC from any responsibility of ensuring the quality of the selected jury, as well as the quality of the evaluation of the projects presented in competitions. The lottery selection process is not automatic, but a very convoluted one, which at the end gives the director of the GNFC an opportunity to appoint jury members based on his personal preference in an unchecked, uncontrolled environment, behind closed doors,” noted in the VPFM’s statement.

As a solution, representatives of the Movement carried out a study and now want the proven international system of film and jury selection to be taken on. "We want to meet Director Maghalashvili, but our mandatory condition is that this meeting should be open to the media. Over the years we have conducted a lot of meetings with the GNFC behind closed doors, and these have never led to any results," said Rati Oneli, director and participant of the VPFM.

The director of the GNFC, in conversation with the media, said he was satisfied with the lottery system, but he has said he agrees to meet with representatives of movements and is open to their suggestions. The first meeting with a media presence, is due to take place today (August 5th).

Representatives of The Vake Park Film Movement highlighted that they do not belong to any political party or organization. They represent a like-minded independent group which fights not against individuals, but against the GNFC’s system and wants to solve existing problems in the Center.

Eka Karsaulidze

04 August 2016 21:37