Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Project "krimanchuly" contains masterclasses and final concert for musicians. Georgian musicians (30 people) will be chosen by professional judges. It will be held lectures and masterclasses during three months for them. The final part of project will be concert, which will be made by teachers and musicians. During the masterclasses some foreign musicians will be invited, they will make work-shops during two or three days to their listener (audience), (an hour each day, an hour will cost 200 Euro). Organization will provide guest's travel and fly expense. Organization will also provide trips and tours, visiting sightseeing, with guide and translators. Please, visit Georgia and share your experience to adults who are interested in Ethno- Jazz. Waiting with pleasure. Thank you. 

Contact: lkmm@yandex.ru

Skype: mmenabde



Monday, February 23, 2015

INTERVIEW: With Givi Margvelashvili: Literature between two worlds. By Tata Khutsishvili, translation by Anastasia Zurabishvili (agenda.ge)

blog_author_img(agenda.ge) By Tata Khutsishvili, translation by Anastasia Zurabishvili 
Photos by Nino Alavidze

Ethnically Georgian, he writes books only in German. Author Givi Margvelashvili is a phenomenon of Georgian and German cultural life. He lived part of his life in both dictators' regimes of the 20th century – Fascism and Communism. 

Givi Margvelashvili's first book was published in 1991. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Goethe Institute and DVV International established an award in his name for special contribution to Georgian-German cultural relations. Today Georgian scientist, General Director of the Georgian National Museum David Lortkipanidze was awarded the Givi Margvelashvili prize.

Why is Givi Margvelashvili so important for cultural relations between Georgia and Germany? 

General Director of the Georgian National Museum, Professor David Lordkipanidze awarded with the Givi Margvelashvili Prize. Photo by Georgian National Museum Press office.
 Born in Germany in 1927 he was deported at the age of 19 by the Soviet KGB to his native but totally unknown land, Georgia. His father was executed in 1946 by the Soviet security service while he was detained in a Soviet concentration camp in Germany.

Givi Margvelashvili did not even know Georgian language when he arrived in Soviet Georgia.

Read Agenda.ge’s interview with the writer who successfully enjoyed a personal and work life immersed in Georgian and German culture.

Q.: Mr Margvelashvili, you were born and raised in Berlin but you had to outlive both dictatorial regimes – Fascism and Communism. What was this like?

A.: Hitler with his views was a strange phenomenon for Germany. This was not a natural occurrence. What was the reason this man and his movement started there? The reason was the Soviet Union. The revolution was coming to Germany and at that time there were many Germans who wanted to protect themselves from communism.

Hitler entered policy as an outspoken nationalist. At that time many Germans were looking for salvation in him, but they were mistaken. Hitler came into power and started a terrible dictatorship.

After the case of [Ernst] Röhm people found out who Hitler really was: a politician, who kills his adversaries – and Röhm was one of them - brutally. That’s when many Germans began to realize who Hitler was in reality but it was too late. This happened in 1934. I was a little child then but years afterwards I read about it and developed an understanding of all these tragic years as a part of one story – the story of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union did not fall from the sky. It was based on a European way of thinking, on the theory of revolution. Its author, [Karl] Marx, was undoubtedly a great thinker but his theory is nevertheless untrue. History can really change only by evolution and not by revolution.

Nothing will come of this if you take away from one and give to another. Revolutionary proceedings will come back to all who instigated them like a boomerang. This is how my story goes. 

Givi Margvelashvili was awarded Italo Svevo literature Prize in 2013 as the German language writer. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Q.: You father immigrated to Germany to escape communism, right?

A.: Yes, he left in 1921 for this reason. Emigrants thought they were in Europe in a peaceful and reasonable place but it turned out to be opposite. They found themselves in the centre of recklessness, which at that time had seized political power there.

Q.: After the execution of your father in 1946, the KGB deported you to Georgia to a totally foreign environment for you where you did not know the language or anyone there.

A.: Yes, that is how I came here. First of all, the Soviet Union and everything connected to it caused fear in the emigration circles. It was believed people in the Soviet Union with different political opinions were shot and this was really so. The regime persecuted everybody who thought critically of it.

After moving to Georgia, my biggest discovery was to find out that many people here hated this regime. At home, where they were under themselves they cursed it. I liked this very much [and] I became friends with people like this.

My friends were from families where at least one person was arrested or executed. There was a great commonness on which our friendship was based and developed. So I have not been alone in Georgia. 

Givi Margvelashvili with one of his books published in Germany. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Q.: When did you start writing?

A.: I certainly remember that I started writing in 1961 because I received a one-room apartment in Saburtalo [a district of Tbilisi]. I was alone and I started writing there, everything began from that flat.

All normal men write poems, some kind of writings and I did it too. Here I studied German literature and found out that I had a unique experience in my life which many others did not have.

I knew what was bad in Germany and what is bad here. These two ‘bads’ are much similar and this is reason enough to think and write about it. People who were writing about these problems mostly knew only one side but I knew both.

I knew from my personal experience that there is one main harsh line in the history of these two worlds. This was most precious to me and I tried to describe this somehow artistically.

Q.: How did your life change after your first book was published?

A.: My first book was published very late, in 1991. This was my autobiographical novel Captain Vakush. The first volume was published in Konstanz in the publishing house of Suedverlag in 1991. The second volume was published in 1992 and I thought it was in the bag.

This work has seven volumes but what happened was that enough people did not read it. A book needs plenty of readers to bring income. It turned out that only the first few of my multi-volume books were published in Germany. In the book business are many hardships; everything costs money. What does not bring in money immediately goes down. That is how I lost publishers.

They thought my content was exclusive and it did not need a big promotion but everything needs to be promoted and everything needs to be shouted at. If your shouting is loud enough, then people might pay attention and read. However, there is no guarantee especially if you have a foreign surname. They think that this is something exotic and do not want to read it. This is a very big Georgian problem. We have a great history but nobody knows about it and no one seems interested. 

"I am a German citizen who lives in Georgia now," says Givi Margvelashvili in his interview with Agenda.ge. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Q.: Why did you return in to Berlin in 1990 after more than 40 years away?

A.: I had not decided to live in Germany then. I thought I would travel back and forth but I have health problems, I had troubled kidneys. In 1992 I underwent surgery in Germany and I had to remain under the medical supervision. It was a painful period and I thought it would be better to live there.

In 1994 I was granted German citizenship but I had to give up my Georgian citizenship. So, I am a German citizen who lives in Georgia now.

Q.: Georgia is a baptized moon, you write in your novel. Could you please explain your metaphor to our readers?

A.: This line is from the book Captain Vakush. This is a kind of game. Before Christianity a strong lunar cult existed in Georgia and baptism is one of the Sacraments of Christianity. That is why in my book Georgia is a baptized moon.

Q.: Mutsali is a Georgian novel although it is written in German. How was this novel received by German readers and why did you make a choice on Mutsali?

A.: Vazha – Pshavela is a great Georgian poet. His poem Aluda Ketelauri is a story of the Kists [sub-ethnos in south Caucasus] and Georgians. Vazha did not like confrontation between them. That is why I made my choice on Mutsali. I put a modern idea in it, for example the moment when Mutsali is being taken by force. This is my story too, my personal story that happened to me and my father.

The whole story puts classic Georgian heroes, Mutsali and Aluda, in the modern world and shows their trip to the West. It had positive reviews and people said they expected other volumes to be published as well.

Q.: Mr Margvelashvili, are you planning to publish a book in Georgia?

A.: In order to publish a book here it needs to be written in Georgian but I cannot write in Georgian by myself.

Q.: Have you ever tried to write in Georgian?

A.: No. As for the translation, a good translation needs money. Will my book generate the necessary income? Nobody knows. Is it worth to translate my books into Georgian?

Q.: Are you working on a new book or new material?

A.: Yes, this novel is about racers of Formula 1. The characters of the book are hero pilots who know that they are in a book. When they reach very high speeds, a question rises whether it is their achievement or whether the book has made them successful. Of course they would like to achieve success and goals on their own. But there are also some characters who think they are real people. "What are you talking about? We are real and what we achieve comes from our own merit,” these characters believe.

The next issue is that the characters feel the novel is ending and ‘read-life’ comes to an end. How should they get used to it? Some do not believe and some know that if tomorrow’s race takes place it will be their last. Then they will disappear, they will be ‘read-out.’ 

Givi Margvelashvili's new novel will be published soon. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
"Could we come back again? Will another reader appear to get us back?” these characters ask not without fear.

And what comes next? Read-death!

This, I believe, is a very good text, perhaps the best I have written. My publisher called me and asked me to send the manuscript to him to publish it. He plans to publish it with high circulation. I am writing the last chapter of the book now and my novel will be finished this year.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DOCUMENTARY: THEIR HELICOPTER / მათი ვერტმფრენი . By Salomé Jashi

Ardoteli family uncovered one piece of civilization only. Chechen military helicopter crashed in Upper Khevsureti, Georgia, ten years ago. As it turned out to be useless for a library, cows found a shelter and children set up their private playground. Trees can be dangerous and sun might go to its mum here. This is a fairy tale of eldest, middle and youngest Ardoteli family told through the wrecked eyes of the helicopter.


Director: Salomé Jashi
DOP: Tato Kotetishvili
Sound: Irakli Metreveli, Salome Jashi
Editing: Salomé Jashi
2006, Georgia
22 min 

Salome Jashi

Education: MA Documentary Filmmaking, BA Journalism
Position: Producer, Filmdirector, Founder of Sakdoc Film  
Research Iinterests: Spaces and people in them
Languages: Georgian, English, Russian, Italian
City: Berlin
Email: salome@sakdoc.ge

Photo: Gocha Lezhava (RFE/RL). public-domain
Biography: Salomé Jashi is a documentary filmdirector from Georgia [1981]. With first degree in journalism she studied documentary filmmaking at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her films are observational discovering tiny details that surprise but also evoke a feeling of some intuitive familiarity. Salomé is a co-founder of production company Sakdoc Film. Through Sakdoc Film, Salomé was a project coordinator and trainer for project CAUCADOC [2012-2014], which aimed to support development of documentary film in the South Caucasus.

Her recent film BAKHMARO made in co-production with German ma.ja.de. received Honorary Mention for a Young Documentary Talent at DOK Leipzig, was awarded for the Best Central and Eastern European Documentary at Jihlava IFF and was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Silver Eye Awards in 2011.

  • THE STATION (working title) In production. Director/producer/DOP. Robert Bosch Co-production prize. In co-production with nselfilm (GER) and in cooperation with MDR/Arte and YLE.
  • A SWIM (12’). 2011. Director. As part of series 15 Young by Young. Georgia/Latvia/France, in cooperation with Arte
  • BAKHMARO (58’). 2011. Director/DOP. In co-production with ma.ja.de. filmproduktion and MDR/Arte. Georgia/Germany
    DOK Leipzig, Honorary Mention for a Young Documentary Talent
    Jihlava IFF, Best Central and Eastern European Documentary
    Nominated for the Asia Pasific Screen Awards and Silver Eye Awards, 2011.
  • THE LEADER IS ALWAYS RIGHT (43’). 2010. Director/producer/editor. Georgia. In collaboration with Goethe Institute.
  • SPEECHLESS (12’). 2009. Director/producer/editor. Georgia

  • A MR. MINISTER (16’). 2008. Co-director/editor. VPRO Tegenlicht.

  • THEIR HELICOPTER (22’). 2006. Director/editor. Georgia/Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
    Winner of the International Documentary Film Festival in Mexico – DOCSDF, 2008.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

KONFERENZ: Kulturelle Semantik Georgiens zwischen Kaukasus und Schwarzem Meer - in Berlin - 19.02. – 21.02.2015 (zfl-berlin.org)

(zfl-berlin.org) Gefördert von der VolkswagenStiftung 2012–2014 

Leitung: Sigrid Weigel, Giga Zedania
Wissenschaftliche Koordination: Franziska Thun-Hohenstein
Mitarbeiter: Zaal Andronikashvili, Emzar Jgerenaia
Doktoranden: Elene Kekelia, Konstantine Ladaria

In den aktuellen Spannungen im Prozess der Neuverortung Georgiens nach dem Zerfall der Sowjetunion kommt dem Kaukasus und dem Schwarzen Meer die Rolle widerstreitender kultureller Gravitationszentren zu. Aus georgischer Perspektive zeichnet sich in der erklärten Hinwendung zum Westen eine zunehmende Öffnung zum Schwarzmeerraum ab, die auch mit einer Problematisierung der Deutungshoheit über den Kaukasus verbunden ist. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Neuverortung Georgiens werden im Projekt – im Dialog zwischen russischen (imperialen), georgischen (nationalen) und abchasischen (minoritären) Perspektiven – symbolische und affektive Umdeutungen des geographischen Raumes untersucht. Dabei bedingt Georgiens geographische Lage als Grenzraum zwischen Asien und Europa, Orient und Okzident, dass Forschungen zur kulturellen Semantik Georgiens immer auch das kulturelle Selbstverständnis Europas betreffen.

In Kooperation mit der Staatlichen Ilia Universität Tbilissi

II. Veranstaltungen

25.04.2012, 19.30 Uhr
Ein Land geht auf Reisen
Mendelssohn-Remise, Jägerstr. 51, 10117 Berlin

22.05. – 23.05.2014
Internationale Kooperationstagung des ZfL und der Staatlichen Ilia Universität Tbilissi
Raum, Nation, Imperium. Kulturelle Semantik politischer Räume
Staatliche Ilia Universität Tbilissi, Kakutsa Cholokashvili Ave 3/5, Tbilissi, Georgien

19.02. – 21.02.2015
Internationale Abschlusstagung des Projekts / International closing conference of the project
Kulturelle Semantik Georgiens zwischen Kaukasus und Schwarzem Meer / Cultural Semantics of Georgia between the Caucasus and the Black Sea
ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Trajekte-Tagungsraum 308

Mit Georgien verbindet sich die Vorstellung von einem Raum, in dem die mythische Antike nachlebt, der heute aber auch emblematisch ist für die spannungsvollen geopolitischen Verschiebungen in Ost- und Südosteuropa seit dem Ende des Sowjetimperiums.

Die Tagung bietet erstens die Gelegenheit, zentrale theoretische Konzepte wie Kulturelle Semantik oder Pathosformel (Aby Warburg) interdisziplinär auf ihre Produktivität für konkrete kulturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen hin zu diskutieren. Ein zweiter Schwerpunkt der Tagung ist der kulturellen Semantik Georgiens zwischen Kaukasus und Schwarzem Meer gewidmet. In interkultureller Perspektive wird diskutiert, welche kulturellen Semantiken dem Kaukasus und dem Schwarzen Meer bzw. konkreten (wie etwa dem Kaukasus) oder auch mythischen Orten (wie etwa der Kolchis) aus verschiedenen Perspektiven zugeschrieben wurden. Ausgangspunkt ist die These, dass der Topos des Kaukasus als eines einheitlichen symbolischen Raumes, ein Topos, der von der russischen (literarischen und politischen) Romantik erfunden wurde, nicht mehr greift. Ins Blickfeld rücken die aus dem Zerfall dieses imaginären einheitlichen Raumes resultierenden geopoetischen und geopolitischen Neuorientierungen. 


Georgia is overladen with symbolic meaning. The imaginary space of Georgia is home to the mythical afterlife of antiquity, a phenomenon that is emblematic of the geopolitical shifts and growing tensions in eastern and southeastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet empire.

The conference pursues two main objectives:

1. The conference offers an opportunity for scholars to examine anew the central theoretical concepts behind the project, such as cultural semantics and the pathos formula (Aby Warburg), from an interdisciplinary perspective and in terms of their productivity for concrete investigations in the field of cultural sciences.

2. A second focal point of the conference is dedicated to the Cultural Semantics of Georgia between the Caucasus and the Black Sea. We will discuss – also from an intercultural perspective – which cultural semantics have been and continue to be ascribed to the Caucasus and the Black Sea as well as to other concrete or mythical places (like, for example, the Russian-Georgian Military Road and Colchis). This line of questioning also takes into account various perspectives and different time periods. Informing this discussion is the claim that the Caucasus as a topos with a unified symbolic space and its origins as an invention of Russian romanticism (both literary and political) is no longer effective. From this vantage point, a new geo-poetical and geo-political orientation becomes apparent, a result of the collapse of this imaginary and unified space.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DOKUMENTATION: Meine Traumreise durch den Kaukasus: Zu Pferd in unendliche Weiten. (3sat.de)

(3sat.de) Ein Film von Sven Ihden 

16.02.2015 | 15:05 Uhr | 3sat 

Foto: Simone Frewer 
Laura Jaeckel, 30 Jahre und in ihrem normalen Leben Schauspielerin in Paris und Berlin, erfüllt sich einen lange gehegten Traum: zu Pferd unterwegs im hohen Kaukasus zu sein. Mit ihrem Guide Jago reitet sie eine Woche durch Chewsuretien, eine der abgelegensten und einsamsten Regionen Georgiens. Ist dieses Land tatsächlich der Sehnsuchtsort von dem Laura geträumt hat, ein Flecken Erde voller wilder Poesie und unendlicher Weiten, oder ist es einfach nur schwer dort oben zu überleben? Und ist eine Stute mit Fohlen wirklich der beste Reisebegleiter, wenn es gilt, über dreitausend Meter hohe Pässe zu überwinden? 

Video: sr-mediathek.sr-online.de

Guide Jago Arabuli: www.kaukasus-tour.de

Quelle: sr-online.de/meine_traumreise

Saturday, January 31, 2015

PROTEST & PETITION: Nein zum "Panorma Tbilisi" - heute 15.00 Uhr (facebook.com)

(facebook.com) The “Panorama Tbilisi” project has not been approved yet, but construction (destruction) works have started. In order to get the building permit, the project has to pass through one last destination, the Ministry of Economy! The documents have already been given to the ministry.

The force to resist this major project has to be proportional and equally large!

To those who do not need an explanation about the meaning of Old Tbilisi, to those who have at least once been to the Gudiashvili Square, Imeli, Mirza Shaph, Vakis Park, Sakdrisi…those who believe that the city is ours, those who have the will to do something for Tbilisi, those who have not used the opportunity to do this before…those who think that the government is accountable to the people…

To those who think that the battle is always worth fighting…those who know, that “tomorrow” will be too late…

Saturday, January 31 at 3pm, come to the Freedom Square and let’s show everyone, we are this city!!!

Please, everyone who is available, come to the protest! If you are busy, ask your friends to participate!

The protest will start at the Freedom Square and will end ...!

+++ Petition Projekt Panorama Tbilisi +++

Projekt “Panorama Tbilisi” ist noch nicht bestätigt, die Abbruchsarbeiten sind aber schon im Gange. Für den Erhalt der Baugenehmigung ist nur noch eine Instanz übrig – das Wirtschaftsministerium! Die Unterlagen sind bereits eingereicht worden!

Dem Projekt dieses Ausmasses muss sich ein entsprechend großer gesellschaftlicher Protest entgegensetzen.

Ihr alle, die die Bedeutung der Altstadt von Tiflis versteht, die mehrmals auf dem Gudiaschwili Platz, neben Imeli Gebäude, auf Mirsa-Schafi Strasse, im Vake Park, neben Sakdrisi gestanden seid... Ihr alle, die denkt, dass diese Stadt euch gehört, die etwas für sie tun wollt und eine frühere Möglichkeit nicht nutzen könntet... Ihr alle, die meint, dass die Regierung der Gesellschaft Rechenschaft schuldig ist, dass Kampf immer Sinn hat und wisst, dass es „morgen“ zu spät sein wird

Kommt am 31. Januar um 15.00 Uhr zum Freiheitsplatz, vor dem Stadtrat. Lasst uns allen zeigen, dass es wir die Stadt sind!!!

Kommt alle, die frei habt! Die die beschäftigt seid – sagt es euren Freunden zu kommen!

Die Demo startet vor dem Stadtrat und endet ....

Link: facebook.com/TiflisHamkari

Building of the complex consisting of four hotels will start in Old Tbilisi in the closest future. The hotels comprising the "Panorama Tbilisi" will be named "Freedom Square", "Erekle the Second's Square", "Sololaki Heights" and "Sololaki Gardens".

more: ‘Panorama Tbilisi’ – 4 high-class hotels project in central parts of Tbilisi [georgianjournal.ge] 

Gardabani’s greenhouse economy is on its first stage of replacing 30% of imported tomatoes with locally produced ones.

“Tbilisi Panorama” project is overseeing the planting of 30 thousand trees in Tbilisi and the addition of 1800 underground parking spaces, the BPN informs. 

The projects financed by the co-investors’ six billion fund have finally become unveiled to the anticipating public.

Erection of a grand hotel complex, a milk processing plant and a hothouse thrift, a hydroelectric power plant over Mtkvari and a cascade of hydroelectric plants over Tskhenistsqali – these are the projects presented by the fund’s executive director, Giorgi Bachiashvili to the media, business and authority representatives.
Total volume of investments is 1.3$ billion and each of the investments has been initiated by co-investors of the fund. The fund has already found partners for some of the projects, but for others the search still goes on. Forty to sixty percent of the people responsible for the projects is composed of the fund’s co-participants.
Tourism – “Panorama Tbilisi”

Building of the complex consisting of four hotels will start in Old Tbilisi in the closest future. The hotels comprising the “Panorama Tbilisi” will be named “Freedom Square”, “Erekle the Second’s Square”, “Sololaki Heights” and “Sololaki Gardens”. Documents for the part of the complex located in Sololaki are to be handed to city hall next week, and upon their approval the fund will be ready to start construction of the Sololaki part immediately.

The 5+ star part of the complex will be located at the Freedom Square, 4+ star part in Old Tbilisi and Sololaki will be home to 4-star hotels.

Giorgi Bachiashvili, the fund’s executive director said that the decision to build the complex was based on the careful study of the market: “We have access to both the statistics from the Tourism Department that shows the growth of tourism as well as general data on how heavily currently existing hotels are burdened. We also conduct our own surveys. Based on the information we collected, we have made a conclusion that Georgia and especially Tbilisi is in need of additional hotels. “– Bachiashvili has declared.

In terms of “Panorama Tbilisi”, the fund still hasn’t found a partner who would be able to provide 100% participation in this stage of the project, but according to Bachiashvili, active negotiations are in progress with a few of the brands, including “Hilton”.

“We are currently negotiating with several brands. Since four hotels are planned, there is a possibility of having four different brands included, or maybe one brand with different sub-brands.” – Bachiashvili said.
According to him, the land required for the project already belongs to the fund, including the land previously owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili, but the fund’s general director has remarked that the property was purchased, not gifted or otherwise transferred.

“Part of the land that we purchased used to be Mr. Bidzina’s property and the other part we obtained from private owners” – Bachiashvili admitted.

He also said that the “Panorama Tbilisi” complex isn’t only made unique by having all four parts of it connected by the cable road, enabling clients to freely move between them, but also by the fact that it will be accompanied by planting of 30.000 new trees.

“This is going to be the first occasion of tree-planting on such a massive scale in Tbilisi, not to mention that it will be accompanied by creation of 1800 underground parking spaces” – said Bachiashvili.
According to him, the fund currently cooperates only with Georgian architectural enterprises, but does not exclude future cooperation with local construction companies.

“The duty of the architects is to account for Tbilisi’s cultural values in their planning. There is, however, a possibility for making some adjustments after the project has been studied by the city hall’s institutions.” – said the executive director.

Mamuka Khazaradze, the chairman of TBC Bank’s observatory council, has stated in his conversation with BPN that the massive scale of investment into Georgian business planned by the fund has not been matched by anyone, be it a single investment company or a collective scheme. 

The businessmn was especially pleased by the diversification of the investment and its main priorities being improvement of both the tourism industry and development of the city’s infrastructure.

“Such a grand construction will invite a completely new outlook on the city’s organization and the hotel system.” – Khazaradze declared.

According to Bachiashvili, the fund’s management is also planning to construct several 3-star hotels as well. The projects are currently in the preparation stage and will be revealed to the public in the nearest future.  

Georgian Co-Investment Fund’s 2014 projects: Further transparency needed [transparency.ge]

ANIMATION: ბებო (Granny). By Sandro Katamashvili (20steps.ge)

Director: Sandro Katamashvili
Screenplay: Nikoloz Mdivani, Achi Tabukashvili, Sandro Katamashvili
Producer: Vladimer Katcharava

10th Int. Short Film Fest "Sesily" - Sept 2014 "Best Animated Short"

12th Animae caribe - October 2013
3rd Animax Skopje - November 2013
15th Animated Dreams - November 2013
9th Athens Animfest – March 2014
6th Go-Short Nijmegen - April 2014
5th Golden Kuker Sofia – May 2014
5th "Cinesogni" Int. Short Film Festival - May 2014
10th Detmold Short filmfest – July 2014
44th Giffoni Experience - July 2014
10th Varna Festival of animated films – Sept 2014
21st Int. Anim. Film Festival "Krok" - Sept 2014
16th Int. Anim. Film Festival "Animaevka" - Sep 2014
8th Golden Anteaters - Oct 2014
23rd Festival De Cine Madrid - Oct 2014
6th "ReAnimania" Festival of Yerevan - Oct 2014
7th KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival - Nov 2014
3rd Libèlula Aniam. Festival Barcelona - Nov 2014
12th Asiana Int. Short Film Festival - Nov 2014

Special Screenings:
14th Melbourne Int. Animation Festival - June 2014
15th Hiroshima Int. Animated film festival – Jul 2014
Insomnia Film Fest (St.Petersburg) – August 2014
6th Int. Film Festival DIDOR DUSHANBE - Oct 2014
Moma NY / Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives "Discovering Georgian Cinema" - Dec 201

Source: 20steps.ge

Thursday, January 29, 2015

PORTRAIT: The woman who swapped home for a hut near Chechnya. By Tara Isabella Burton, Tbilisi (bbc.com)

(bbc.com) For much of her life, Devi Asmadiredja was a housewife in Germany - but then her husband told her to pack her bags and leave the country. She ended up 3,000km (2,000 miles) away living in a remote mountain hut among the Chechens of Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.

Few tourists visit the gorge, a notoriously insular region with a reputation for drug and arms smuggling, and radical Islam - one of the top leaders of Islamic State (IS), Abu Omar al-Shishani, hails from here.

But this remote part of the Caucasus Mountains is where Devi Asmadiredja, a German woman of Indonesian descent, found refuge.

Four years ago, she was living in Germany with her husband and three children. But in early 2011 he abruptly informed her that he no longer loved her, and told her to leave their home. He ordered her to go to Pankisi to learn Chechen, the language of his forefathers.

"He knew I was good at languages, he thought I could come back and teach him," she says.

He bought her a plane ticket and gave her enough money for food. "I had never travelled before. For me it was interesting and a chance to run away from him," she says. Leaving behind her three children - then five, eight, and 12 - was harder. "It was very difficult. I'd never slept a single night without them," she says. But she didn't feel she had a choice.

Asmadiredja arrived in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and took a series of marshrutki - shared minibuses - to the village of Duisi, the first of five villages that snake along the gorge. She says she didn't even have any local contacts, "I had nothing." 

She asked the first locals she saw where she could find someone to teach her Chechen. Within 20 minutes, tuition and free accommodation with a local family had been arranged.

She quickly learned the language and members of the community soon gave her a Chechen name, Khedi - derived from Khedijat, the name of Muhammad's wife.

Still, she attracted some suspicion, both as a foreigner and as a woman travelling alone. "They thought I was a Russian spy," she says. Her uncovered hair, her independence, her seven tattoos - she sports a traditional Indonesian dagger on her left leg, a Caucasian one on her right - set her apart.

Under pressure from the imam at the recently built hardline Wahhabi mosque, her hosts told her she had to leave and she moved in with another Kist family, the people she now refers to as "my mother" and "my sister". The Kists, Georgians of Chechen descent, migrated to the valley in the 19th Century.

After 18 months in the village, her estranged husband called, to tell her that he had moved on, and that there was no need for her to come home.

"So I went to the mountains," she says. A friend took her to a cowherd's hut - a simple stone building with no heating, electricity, or running water. She had one modern convenience - a mobile phone with a camera and solar charger.

Asmadiredja spent two months there living alone, surviving off the occasional donation of food from passing shepherds and water from the many mountain streams. 

Despite - or because of - the harsh circumstances, the solitude and mountain life brought her fulfilment. "I fell in love with the mountains," she says. "I had never seen mountains like this before - the light was unbelievable up there, the people I met while wandering around were unbelievable. She ate little, she says, and kept warm by walking.

She began to walk further - to the villages of Khevsureti, Tusheti, and Georgia's most remote mountain regions. "I didn't have any money. I had no choice but to walk," she says.

At this point Asmadiredja had only mastered the Chechen language, but now, meeting Tush and Khevsur shepherds, she learned to speak Georgian as well.

She memorised the labyrinthine, unmarked trails from Pankisi into the mountains. Once she injured her ankle and was stranded, without food and only a stream for water, for 12 days before passers-by found her. "It was damned close," she admits. 

Other challenges came from the locals. Initially some shepherds aggressively pursued her. "They hadn't seen a woman in a long time" - and a woman like Asmadiredja, living alone, was particularly interesting. Most of them were dissuaded by sharp words but one she had to fight off. "Nothing happened," she says. Other shepherds - who had by now come to recognise her - stepped in to stop the attack.

Eventually, Asmadiredja returned from the mountains to the village. A German travel agency offered her a job - $100 a day to guide hikers through the Caucasus, where there is little tourist infrastructure and few locals speak either English or German.

"I had to open a bank account," she laughs. Another friend, hearing of Asmadiredja's interest in photography, brought her a second-hand camera, and she began displaying her photographs of Pankisi in galleries across Tbilisi. "I'm not an intruder," she says. "People know me." Early next year, Asmadiredja's work will have its first international showing, at the Georgian Embassy in Indonesia.

But life back in the village could, at times, feel oppressive. "I am not Chechen, I am not Kist. I am not even Georgian. I was born in East Germany. I need my freedom. I am an independent woman, who does not ask for permission to do or go anywhere. In the Kist traditions you have to follow your elders. I needed some time for me alone, [in a place] where I didn't know anyone."

In March last year, a friend told her about a small, hidden cave in Georgia's southern Samtskhe-Javakheti province. She went at once, taking only a camping stove, a sleeping bag, and some fruit and nuts. 

The entrance to the cave where Devi Asmadiredja stayed
But once there, something happened that would change Asmadiredja's life again. Two local cowherds driving their cattle happened across the cave, and at once insisted that she return home with them. She refused.

"My first thought was 'Why don't they leave me alone?'" They asked her if she liked khinkali - traditional Georgian meat dumplings. "They left and a half-hour later they were back with khinkali and wine."

One of the cowherds, a Georgian called Dato, began to visit her every day, insisting that she give him her telephone number. At last, she relented, and the two began a relationship.

They plan to marry later this year. The ceremony will not be legally binding - Asmadiredja is still married to her Chechen husband who is in Germany. But her adoptive family has already planned a traditional Pankisi supra feast anyway. "I never thought I would have love like that," she says.

She knows he cannot join her in the various caves and huts she has called home, but envisages a life spent between a home in Pankisi and the mountains - she is encouraging him to learn to drive, so that he can work alongside her on her guided tours. 

Even so, Asmadiredja, now 45, is aware of how much she left behind. Two of her children, aged nine and 12, who initially remained with her husband, are now in foster care. With a different partner, she also had an older child, a daughter who lives with her father.

Asmadiredja emails her children from time to time, but they do not respond. She has been tempted to return to Germany to seek custody, but has been given no assurances that she would be able to get them back.

"I have a life here," she says. "It has cost me a lot of strength. To go back to Germany... maybe I will get my kids, maybe not, but even if I get them, [it would only be] for a few years - and for this, I should throw everything away? I cannot. Maybe I'm selfish, [but] I have built my life here. My name is known here as a guide, as a photographer. Why should I throw it all away - just to live off [benefits] there?"

The mountains, she says, are her real home. "In the mountains I am free."

Devi Adventure

Shot with sony ericsson, took me one year
this is how I started four years ago with photos in mountains

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN: Lost Territories - photo project in Central Asia. By SPUTNIK PHOTOS (indiegogo.com)

(indiegogo.com) 5 photographers, 5 exciting stories from post soviet countries in Central Asia.

Lost Territories - crowdfunding campaign from SPUTNIK PHOTOS on Vimeo.

Please support this project here - indiegogo.com >>>

Who are we?

Sputnik Photos is an international collective founded in 2006 by documentary photographers from Central and Eastern Europe. We are united by a desire to observe and describe what surrounds us, as well as by our common experience of living in post-transformation countries.

Our achievements to date include important international awards, such as World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International. Together we have organized several exhibitions around the world and published 8 photobooks. Our projects have been featured at photography festivals, in galleries and magazines worldwide. 

About our project.

We would like to invite you to support our artistic project in post-soviet countries of Central Asia. Twenty-five years after the fall of the USSR five Sputnik Photos photographers are setting out on a journey to five former soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

For a number of years, we have been documenting changes taking place in post-communist countries, particularly in the former republics of the Soviet Union, always referring to our own individual experience of the transformation period. Recently, we have focused on Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, Armenia and Georgia. In the face of an increasing political tension in the region, photography documenting everyday life, and the changes and myths of the countries still falling under Russian influence, becomes even more relevant. 

Rafal Milach - from the series “Black sea of concrete.”
At the current stage, we are planning further trips to the former Soviet empire, focusing on Central Asia, and we hope you will support our efforts.

We are interested in what is happening in the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union, and still remain under Russian influence, because their history is also our history and it concerns us directly. We are immersing ourselves in this complex and multi-faceted world. We are uncovering the nations’ nostalgia for the empire, their drive to democracy, traces of former propaganda, poverty, but also the emergence of the new and hope for a better future. We are aware that our project will give neither a diagnosis nor simple and straightforward answers to the questions relevant for the region. Yet, we want to make discoveries and show them to others. We believe that 25 years after the change is a perfect time to sum up the efforts our nations have made to date.

Your help can make it happen! 

Agnieszka Rayss - from the series "I reminesce and cry for life."
The funds raised will enable each of us to go on a single trip to one of the countries we focus on:

Kazakhstan: Agnieszka Rayss

Uzbekistan: Michał Łuczak

Turkmenistan: Rafał Milach

Tajikistan: Adam Pańczuk

Kyrgyzstan: Jan Brykczyński 

Adam Panczuk - from the sersies "I_AM_IN_VOGUE@BELARUS.BY".
The amount will cover return flights, films, their developing and scanning, accommodation and guides. In other words, a minimum that allows 5 people to make 5 independent trips and create 5 extraordinary stories. 

Jan Brykczynski - from the series "Primary forest".
The project will be rounded off in 2016 by a mobile exhibition and a photobook for audiences across the globe. It will show all the 15 countries that used to be part of the USSR. 

Michal Luczak - from the series "Spitak".