While the country was busy readying its supras for the extended holiday season at the end of last year, artists and athletes continued to represent Georgia, winning prizes and accolades for their outstanding achievements on the international stage. Investor.ge brings you some of the highlights from the holiday season in the world of Georgian arts and sports.
Cold temperatures may have kept many at home this holiday season, but Georgian cinema was rolling at a steady burn.
Georgian film Brighton 4th by director Levan Koguashvili won Best Film award at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia in December 2021. The film tells the story of a former Olympic wrestler from Georgia on his trip to the US to help his son out of a gambling debt. The film has also been selected as an Academy Awards contender for best international feature film in October 2021. Other awards Brighton 4th currently has under its belt include from the Asian World Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Film Festival Cottbus.
Georgian film directors are also in focus at Italy’s most renowned Trieste Film Festival, taking place between January 21-30, 2022. Every year the festival has a range of sections, showcasing the best pieces of cinematography in various genres. This year the festival explores films from European female filmmakers in the category Wild Roses: Women Filmmakers in Europe. The works of nine Georgian female filmmakers will be presented within this program scheduled to offer in-person viewings.
The audience will be offered films from female Georgian film directors that have already achieved recognition at other festivals, including, among others, Salome Alexi’s Line of Credit set in the recession-hit Georgian economy, award-winning House of Others by Rusudan Glurjidze that tells the story of the protagonist in the post-conflict 90s, and Taming the Garden, a documentary by Salome Jashi that follows the story of massive ancient trees transported at great cost to a private garden of a politically powerful person. In addition to the showcasing, Georgian filmmakers will also participate in industry networking and pitching sessions.
The Bolnisi Museum has been nominated as a contender for the European Museum of the Year Award. The award, established in 1977, marks “excellence and innovation in the museum field”. Part of the Georgian National Museum network, the Bolnisi Museum includes permanent exhibitions showcasing the region’s natural and historical artifacts, and has a hall fully dedicated to the life of the 19th century German settlers in the region of Kvemo Kartli and Bolnisi in particular.
The first ever Georgian-language edition of Domus magazine was published at the end of last year in December. Originally founded in Italy in 1928, Domus is dedicated to architecture and design and is now one of the most prestigious publications in the field. While being an international English-language magazine, it has several local editions in German-speaking countries, South Korea, Mexico, and China. Georgia will be the first country in Eastern Europe to publish its own edition in the local language. The launch also means that Georgia will be joining the Domus international platform as its newest member. Publishers emphasized the contribution the magazine can make to “improving the level of education” and introducing the world to prominent and emerging architects from Georgia.
A virtual reality-based installation by artists Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze was selected by the Venice Biennale to represent Georgia at the next international event starting April 2022. Named “I Pity the Garden”, the project takes a look at the inevitable change in natural and cultural landscapes using VR as its centerpiece, while being also accompanied by a “large-scale video installation”.
This year the biennial, which comprises several events, celebrating art, architecture, music, theater, film, and dance, will be held around the theme of The Milk of Dreams. Taking its name from the book by a surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, it will focus on projects that have a concept of an “imaginary journey through metamorphoses of the body and definitions of humanity” at their core.
Georgia signed an agreement on the country’s inclusion into Creative Europe, a European Union initiative set to provide support in the sphere of culture and creative sectors for its member and partner states on December 8, 2021. The program directs its budget at helping creative professionals and organizations “to cooperate and co-create across borders”, promoting cultural diversity. Georgia first joined the program in 2015, being the first country from the Eastern Partnership to become a member of Creative Europe. The second phase will run between 2021-2027 and among other goals, aims at supporting the news media sector and use of technologies, while also reinforcing resilience of media and audiovisual industries.
A new development has been added to the now widely famous Gaprindashvili vs Netflix court case, with a hearing set to be held with the United States District Court in the Central District of California on January 24. Nona Gaprindashvili filed a defamation case against Netflix after its 2020 TV show Queen’s Gambit referred to her as having never played against men.
Gaprindashvili, who was the first woman to be awarded the title of the Grandmaster by FIDE in 1978, has been specifically known for playing against men throughout her career. Her case has become a point of great interest to Georgians due to the role she played in the chess history of the country.
As Gaprindashvili’s legal team announced, prior to the hearing, screenplay author Scott Frank was interviewed by the attorneys representing the Georgian Grandmaster in the US hearing. Earlier in September last year, Netflix refused to remove the disputed reference or apologize to Gaprindashvili for calling her Russian instead of Georgian throughout the series.
A Georgian cultural center will be launched on the banks of the Jordan River. A 4,000 square meter land plot was presented to Georgia by the decision of the royal family of Jordan. A commission will be set by the Government of Georgia to develop a concept for the cultural center that will be located near the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ. Earlier Prime Minister Garibashvili named the construction of the Georgian cultural venue in Jordan, strongly supported by the Patriarch Ilia II, “a return to the holy land”.
A traditional Georgian wine cellar opened in the Brazilian state of Goias in December 2021 with the support of the Embassy of Georgia. Known for its use of large clay vessels, the qvevri, Georgia’s unique winemaking method has been on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2013. Brazil isn’t the only country to play home away from home to Georgian wine-making methods. Both Sweden and Japan have opened maranis producing Georgian wines. The Swedish wine cellar uses Georgian technology with local grapes, while Japanese company Tokachi Wine, on the market since 2000, released its first qvevri-made wine in 2020.
The end of 2021 saw renowned Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze awarded the title of the Weightlifting World Champion as well as winning three gold medals at the competition held by the International Weightlifting Federation in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This is Talakhadze’s fifth world champion title.
At the spot event in Tashkent, he broke three of his own records, having shown improved figures in Snatch and Clean & Jerk categories, while also increasing the total sum of weights lifted. Talakhadze showed a combined result of 492 kg, having mastered 267 kg for the Clean & Jerk attempt, and 225 kg in Snatch.
Georgian fencer Sandro Bazadze who represented the national fencing team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics won silver medal at the CN2 Elite Sabre competition in Pau, France after losing the final to the French fencer Bolade Apithy with a score of 14-15. Bazadze’s team won the round of French fencing club championships with the score 45-31.
Georgian baritone George Gagnidze will be performing in Metropolitan Opera in New York City for David McVicar’s staging of Tosca. In this classic by Puccini, Gagnidze will don the role of Scarpia and share the stage with a number of renowned performers, including sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky, Elena Stikhina and Aleksandra Kurzak, and tenors Brian Jagde, Joseph Calleja and Roberto Alagna. Production was opened in early December and will continue until March. His role in Tosca will mark Gagnidze’s return to the Metropolitan stage where he had previously performed title roles in Rigoletto and Macbeth, among other roles.