by Vladan Petkovic
- Best known for her work on Corn Island, Georgian producer Nino Devadariani is currently working on George Ovashvili’s next two projects for her company, Alamdary Film
Georgian producer Nino Devdariani is best known for George Ovashvili's Corn Island [+see also:
interview: George Ovashvili
film profile], winner of the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary in 2014 and short-listed for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Through her company Alamdary Film, she has just finished principal photography on Ovashvili's new film, Khibula, and is developing his next project, The Pass.
Tell us a little bit about Khibula and The Pass.
Khibula is inspired by Zviad Gamsakhurdia's final days. He was Georgia's first president following the collapse of Soviet Union. But it's not an attempt to tell the true story of his mysterious death; it is a visual story of sacrifice, betrayal, power and decline, set in the Caucasus Mountains.
The Pass is based on the novel by Guram Odisharia and describes the real story of the 1990s in our country. At the end of the armed conflict in Abkhazia, a large part of the Georgian population living there was forced to leave the territory. People had to walk over 200 kilometres to cross the mountain pass at a height of 3000 meters, and hundreds of people died.
Both films are co-produced with my foreign partners, whom I've been collaborating with regularly, Germany's 42Film and France's Arizona Productions.
All of Ovashvili's films, and many other recent Georgian films, deal with the 1990s and the wars and problems the country went through at that time.
It is the most painful, cruel and mysterious period of our recent history and its different, diverse and interesting angles are absolutely impossible to be fully explored in art. We are worried, curious and anxious. It eats us from inside and we are involved in it naturally.
But of course, I am not going to dedicate all my life to this topic. One day I will realise that I am done with it and move to another theme. The Pass could actually easily be my last film about it.
The Georgian film industry has really exploded in the past five years, with two or three films really breaking out and winning awards at festivals, Corn Island is one such film which also had successful international distribution. Can you comment on this development, and what else is necessary to further develop Georgian film production?
Yes, many critics characterise new cinema coming out of Georgia as a "new wave" and I think this definition is justified. Georgia is actually a country of great culture and we have a long history of filmmaking. Art and culture have always been the means for reaching the world, but after 1990s there was a big decline in the industry. Now we are trying to get back on track.
Georgian filmmakers fight for this common goal every day. They manage to overcome a lot of difficulties and do their job in order to revive Georgian cinema. The filmmaking profession is a hard job in general, but it is especially the case in our country. The government allocates money for filmmaking, of course, and have helped my projects many times, something for which I am very grateful, but still it is not enough for the general development of cinema art in the country.
What do you expect to get out of Producers on the Move at Cannes?
Producers on the Move is a wonderful platform that will give me an opportunity to find the partners for my projects, meet other producers, promote my work and learn much more through sharing knowledge and skills. The event’s activities (including pitching session, one-on-one speed dating meetings, case studies etc.) will greatly contribute to achieve these goals.
I would like to highlight the fact that the main profile of my company is a co-production. The reason for this direction is that Georgia is a small country and it is very hard to find sufficient funding to produce a film on your own. That is why we have to find partners outside Georgia and produce the projects together with them. I find Producers on the Move is a perfect opportunity to discover partners for my future projects.