TBILISI: Tbilisi-based 20 Steps Productions and Caucasian Film Service are partnering with UK production house Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) to shoot three films in 2015-2016.
The three companies coproduced the Pawel Pawlikowski scripted film Lost in Karastan starring Matthew Macfadyen, and Venice opener The President directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
The first project, How to Sell a War, will have its first draft of the script by British writer Tim Price in May. Rudolph Herzog is directing and the film is produced by Sam Taylor, Mike Downey and Vladimer Katcharava. The film tells the story of Peggy, a naïve but ambitious young woman with a crippling physical disability, who gets thrown into the deep end when she starts her new career in PR at high-profile company Cube, under the supervision of her ice queen of an aunt. Through a misunderstanding on her first day in the office, Peggy ends up becoming indispensable in a highly sensitive case where the Governor of Svaneti, in Georgia, needs to fabricate a humanitarian crisis in order to get NATO backing in his fight to halt Russian annexation. He needs a moral imperative to start a real war, and swing Western public opinion in his favour in order to get British soldiers on the ground.
The second film follows up the partnership of the two companies on a short by Mariam Bakacho Khatchvani (co-writer/director) with a feature titled Dede. The project and the team of Khatchvani and Vladimer Katcharava (co-writer/producer) and Irakli Solomanashvili (co-writer) have just been selected for the Sundance Lab in summer 2015. The story takes place in Georgia as the country fights for its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A young woman struggles to make a life in the remote, isolated villages high in the Caucasus Mountains, where ancient patriarchal laws threaten to separate her from her daughter.
F&ME producer Mike Downey said, "We see coproduction as a reciprocal two way street, hence our enthusiasm to engage with talented Georgian filmmakers at the highest level."
Born in Ushguli, Georgia, Mariam Bakacho Khatchvani directed the short film Dinola, which was nominated for a European Film Award and screened at several international film festivals. Dede will be her feature debut.
The third, untitled project, now in the early stages of development, is set in London and directed by award-winner Tinatin Kajrishvili.
20 Steps Productions was founded in 2010 by producer Vladimer Katcharava, director Beso Solomanashvili, production manager Dali Narimanidze, and editor/project coordinator Ekaterine Kartsivadze. The company focuses on the development and coproduction of independent feature, documentary and animation films that appeal both to domestic and international audiences.