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Zaza Rusadze

Producers on the Move 2013 - Georgia

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- Zaza Rusadze's first feature film A Fold In My Blanket opened this year’s Berlinale Panorama

Zaza Rusadze

Georgian writer/director/producer Zaza Rusadze graduated in directing from HFF Babelsberg in 2003 and founded his company Zazarfilm in 2007, debuting with the short Folds And Cracks, which received the Discovery Award in Cottbus in 2009. His first feature film A Fold In My Blanket opened this year’s Berlinale Panorama.

Cineuropa: A Fold in My Blanket opened Berlinale’s Panorama, but received less attention than the other Georgian film at the festival, In Bloom?
Zaza Rusadze: I am aware that I have made a kind of hardcore art-house film that is hard to sell. A Fold In My Blanket was not an easy piece of work at any stage of the production, especially in financing. We tried almost everything to get the international money for the film, but at the end of the day, if not for the support of the Georgian National Film Center and personally the trust of its former director Tamara Tatishvili, the film would never have been made.

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I could not even have dreamed of the world premiere the film as Panorama opening film. I think it was quite a risky and brave move by Wieland Speck and Nikolaj Nikitin and I’d like to once again thank them for this.

From a distribution point of view, we haven’t done any sales yet. But films like A Fold In My Blanket need much longer time to start appealing to festival programmers and distributors. They are all under enormous pressure of saleability and commercial success of the films that they select and screen.

Most of recent Georgian films deal with Soviet or post-Soviet period, which is logical. But what is your personal interest?
Soviet time was quite a big source of my inspiration, both visually and emotionally. I was born and grew up in Soviet Georgia and then witnessed the collapse of all that right in front of my eyes as a teenager. Then I moved to Berlin when I was 18, so there is this European or Western rational part in me as a grown-up person, opposed to my Soviet-Oriental childhood memories that lurk beneath it, and this is exactly what interests me.

What is the current state of production and distribution in Georgia? Does Hollywood product rule the market as in most of eastern Europe?
We are at the very beginning of awakening of a kind of ‘New Georgian Wave’, after long years of the stagnation caused by the collapse of the Soviet system. The distribution situation is similar with Hollywood films, but the larger problem is the non-existence of a theatrical network in Georgia. At this time, just five or six cinemas operate in the whole country, while in the Soviet era it was about 80.  But the growing awareness for Georgian cinema on the international scale gives us hope for a better future. Even though the situation doesn’t look that great now, with the Georgian National Film Center having an annual budget of around €2 million, but the mood and energy in the entire Georgian film industry among my colleagues is extremely positive. Maybe we are really starting up something new.

What are your next projects and what do you expect of PoM in Cannes? 
I am currently in post-production with the film Time Forward, an archive footage documentary about the Georgian TV propaganda. I am also developing a prison drama Negative Numbers, as well as an exciting animation feature project Ulayah Saba. A Bear Over Our Heads is a project in development about the national tendencies towards war between Abkhazian and Georgian people. I am really looking forward meeting, getting known and networking and hopefully later working with my colleagues from around the world, which are part of Producers on the Move in Cannes now.

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