Ketie Danelia • Producer, Takes Film
"We who work in art and culture always find the way to tell the stories that need to be told"
- We spoke to the Georgian producer, whose credits include And Then We Danced and Wet Sands and who is taking part in Producers on the Move at Cannes
Georgian producer Ketie Danelia worked as project manager at the Georgian National Film Centre before establishing her production company Takes Film in 2015, with which she co-produced Levan Akin's And Then We Danced [+see also:
interview: Levan Akin
interview: Levan Gelbakhiani
film profile] and Elene Naveriani's Wet Sands [+see also:
interview: Elene Naveriani
film profile]. Now selected for Producers on the Move 2022, she chatted with us about her projects and her view of the current situation with the GNFC and increasing censorship in Georgia's culture.
Cineuropa: You have produced two very successful films with a strong social message. What is it that attracts you in a project, how do you pick them?
Ketie Danelia: I love challenging and diverse projects. All my life I have been defending and supporting minorities, empowering people around me. I have my code of conduct that I always follow, I pick projects that I enjoy watching multiple times when they are brought to the audience. Sometimes, I think that projects are attracted to me.
Can you tell us a bit about the projects you are currently working on?
Currently I am working on a couple of projects, including City Noise by Papuna Mosidze, a debutant director whose voice will be heard and will be special for European cinema. It's about a 38-year-old man who leads a double life. His regular job is being an archivist for public TV, and in his secret life on social media he transforms himself into his acquaintances, steals identities of other women and chats with men. One of such identity thefts turns out to be tragic for a young woman without her realising the reality behind it.
Another dear project that I am part of is Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry by Elene Naveriani. It's her third feature film and I am lucky to be working with her and amazing Thomas Reichlin and Britta Rindelaub from Alva Film Production (Switzerland), and Bettina Brokemper from Heimatfilm (Germany). The story is based on the novel written by feminist Georgian author Tamta Melashvili and tells the story of a 48-year-old voluptuous woman from a Georgian village, who tries to live a free life, love, and be a feminist without realising that she is one. Depicting her voice is crucial for us, it should be resonating around the world.
Another project which I have been a part of for several years already is Border Games by the very talented Elene Mikaberidze. I am lucky and happy to be working on this project lead by Isabelle Truc from Iota Production (Belgium) and with Tekla Machavariani from Nushi Film (Georgia). This is an amazing story of people in power who are gambling with their countries and changing the lives of their people. We are reshaping the story now as the plot of this inventive tale has become too much of a reality nowadays with the Russian war in our dear Ukraine.
How do you see the current situation in Georgian cinema and culture, especially in the light of recent developments with the GNFC and Minister of Culture Thea Tsulukiani?
I would say it's pretty disappointing and dire. There is pressure and censorship around us, I don’t understand the aim of all the destruction in the culture field. All the professionals that have made the name of and helped create and shape modern Georgian culture are under huge oppression and persecution. Of course, cinema is not an exception. We have never been pampered by good financing and proper understanding of our sector anyway, but now things are uncertain and no one knows what lies ahead. There is no communication between the bureaucrats and the filmmakers.
I am concerned that now everything is in the hands of individual people who decide what we should create and what people need to watch. However, as history proves, the essence of art is freedom, but when it's under pressure, art becomes something liberating for people and its existence is crucial. We who work in art and culture always find the way to tell the stories that need to be told. There is no way that anyone can stand against evolution and progress. I know that nothing will stop us, and no one will make us do something we don’t believe in - at least I know I won't. I am an irrevocable optimist and true believer in the freedom of art and culture.
What do you expect from your participation in Producers on the Move?
I already have gained a lot by being part of this group of 20 amazing producers from Europe. We have had great meetings and sessions online; my fellow producers are the future of European cinema, they are vibrant and so talented, their eyes shine when talking about their projects and plans. I am thrilled to be part of the 2022 gang. We already have made some plans for collaboration, so this programme is very unique for us producers.
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