Independent Georgian Cinema in PÖFF's 2024 Spotlight

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival supports Georgian autonomous filmmakers with a special programme.

Dedicated to the work of filmmakers protesting against restrictions on freedom of expression, the programme is entitled Flowers are not silent. Georgian independent film on the rise. The programme will be screened at the 28th edition of PÖFF in cooperation with the Georgian Film Institute. Founded in 2019 by a collective of visionary filmmakers who recognized the imperative of establishing the Georgian Film Institute, this non-profit organization operates on the bedrock of independent governance. Its objectives and values are meticulously crafted by the filmmakers themselves.

Georgian Film Institute brings together around 500 independent filmmakers, including internationally acclaimed directors, such as Salomé Jashi (Taming the Garden, 2021) and Mariam Chachia (Magic Mountain, 2023).

According to David Vashadze, the representative of the Film Institute, the organisation functions as a unifying force for professionals spanning diverse fields within the film industry, the Georgian Film Institute shapes a comprehensive film policy through collaboration within the Board of Filmmakers and the GFI Member base. This film policy is firmly grounded in the institute’s core values, championing the principles of freedom of speech, expression, and creativity. The primary focus of this policy is the advancement, fortification, and advocacy of contemporary Georgian cinema.

On the global stage, the Georgian Film Institute proudly represents the Georgian film industry and its filmmakers. Through active participation in global platforms, festivals, partnerships with international organizations, and collaborations with foundations, it tirelessly advocates for the recognition and promotion of Georgian cinema. The Institute is actively seeking strategic partnerships and cultivating support to fortify the long-term sustainability of the organization.

According to PÖFF founder and director Tiina Lokk, PÖFF stands always with the independent filmmakers. "It's not just dictator countries like Belarus that are trying to muzzle their filmmakers - the ambition of politicians in power to control who makes films and what they are about is increasingly evident elsewhere. It is our duty to draw attention to this and to support all filmmakers who stand up for their independence." she said.

The Georgian Film Institute will showcase its activities at the 74th Berlinale Film Festival where it will present projects in progress and seek international recognition.

In the past, the PÖFF has screened works by Belarusian opposition filmmakers. "These, as well as the work of Russian dissident authors, will not disappear from the festival's programme", Lokk confirmed.

For further information about the aims, background and core values of the Georgian Film Institute, listen to the Film New Europe podcast.

The 28th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival takes place 8.–24. November, 2024.