Major changes in the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) threaten creative freedom

26. 6. 2023

Author: Press Release

The Documentary Association of Georgia released an open letter in response to the sudden changes made by the government in the case of Georgian National Film Center. Free speech and artistic freedom is in danger. We stand behind Georgian filmmakers!

Please read and share the following statement released by our Georgian friends and colleagues:

The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) has recently undergone significant changes with the appointment of Mr. Koba Khubunaia as its interim director, effective June 10. In addition to his new role, Mr. Khubunaia currently serves as the Head of the Economic Office at the Ministry of Culture and has a background in the penitentiary system. This appointment has been swiftly followed by a decision to terminate the positions of deputy directors, effective from July 12, marking the beginning of a comprehensive reorganization of the Film Center. 
These developments come in the wake of the Ministry's ongoing efforts to assert substantial political control over Georgia's theaters, museums, and writers' organizations. The film industry has widely interpreted these actions as a means of exerting political influence over the country's film sector.

The whole text of open letter you can read here.

In the current collection of our alternative documentary distribution project KineDok CZ we are presenting Salome Jashi's film Taming the Garden, which is currently considered anti-regime in Georgia. We stand behind Georgian filmmakers so we are now providing the film to you for free. The film is only available for countries participating in the KineDok project, viewers can request a voucher via FB, KineDok Instagram or until 30.9.2023.

Taming The Garden

Production Country: Switzerland, Georgia, Germany
Release Date: 2021
Language(s): Georgian, Mingrelian
Directed by: Salomé Jashi
Produced by: Vadim Jendreyko (Mira Film), Salomé Jashi (Sakdoc Film), Erik Winker, Martin Roelly (Corso Film)

The urban and rural trees that the former Georgian prime minister buys up and moves across the country to his garden represent for ordinary rural people a shared history and formative objects of the identities of the place. But a shared emotional connection to these culturally valuable plants, when the machinations of money and negotiation are involved, awakens long unspoken political dissent. Deliberately omitting some essential information, the documentary relies on archetypal figures and situations to present the story of a myth of a great dream come true against the drama of everyday life of ordinary people. Director Salome Jashi's unique sense of observation takes the form of a poetic visual style that hypnotizes the viewer's perception with shots of the technologically challenging process of untangling the web of roots and the logistically unimaginable relocation of these opulent giants.

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