27-09-2010

FNE Georgian Cinema Focus: A Proud History Reborn

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In recent years Georgian cinema has been witnessing a period of rebirth and revival. Yet another generation of filmmakers emerged, and the directors who stopped making films in the 1990s returned to the country. Financial support from the state and private industry has helped. Georgian cinema has appeared on the international arena and continues to attract the interest of the international film market.

Georgia enjoys a long an proud cinema history and looking back can help to put today’s Georgian cinema in focus

In November 1896, just months after appearing in Paris, cinema arrived in Georgia. The Georgian audience became familiar with the Lumiere Brothers Cinematographe back in 1896.

Soon cinemas such as the Odeon, Apollo and Moulin Electric appeared throughout Tbilisi. 1908 is officially considered the year cinema was born in Georgia.

In 1912 Vasil Amashukeli made his first full-length documentary "Akaki Tsereteli's trip to Racha-Lechkhumi", which captured that prominent Georgian poet's tour of the north-central Georgian region.

In 1916-1918, producer Germane Golitidze facilitated the production of the first Georgian feature film, "Christine", by the theatrical director Alexandre Tsutsunava.

With the arrival of the Soviets in 1921, cinema became a chief method of propaganda, Although Georgia continued to produce films based on national literary classics. Georgia used to produce 20 - 25 feature films on the average per year. The number of moviegoers was 20 million per year.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Georgian cinema sector faced 10-12 years of stagnation during which period no films were produced at all. This was due to general economic problems: the transition from planned economy to market economy, skills shortage, and an outdated infrastructure were key issues.