“Scary Mother” – Ana Urushadze’s debut at Locarno Festival
“Scary Mother” – Ana Urushadze’s debut at Locarno Festival
Festival in Media

Locarno International Film Festival is being held on 2-12 August in Switzerland. Georgian film - Ana Urushadze's "Scary Mother is part of a competition program in Filmmakers of the Present section. The films is produded by Lasha Khalvashi, Tinatin Kajrishvili and Ivo Felt ("Gemini", "Artizm" and „Allfilm").

"It comes itself, hiding silently in most faraway corner of the brain. And you leave it there, not to bother. And it's slowly taking shape, even face is visible at the end. And that's when it shows up to you" - says Ana Urushadze about her characters. She likes to write. She works on film scripts and says this is some kind of a "Cavemen Period" - home, walk, write, sleep, home, walk, write, sleep. She's created many novels or feature and short film scripts in "Cavemen Period" but put them aside herself, saying, she didn't like them anymore.

"Scary Mother" showed up just like that. The script was meant for 15-20-minute short film. She applied it for short film contest of Georgian National Film Center but it was rejected. She says, she was even depressed after that but it lasted for only an evening. The next day, she was already inventing new stories for her "Scary Mother". "Usually, no matter what I do, a university degree film, a novel or a script, I always want to put it aside after I finish, it doesn't interest me anymore, I don't want it anymore. This is the first actual time that I'm really satisfied."

After being rejected as a short film, "Scary Mother" became a feature film script and it won the debut feature films contest of Georgian National Film Center in 2016.

Scary mother is a 50-year-old housewife Manana living in the dull, gray blocks of Tbilisi with her husband and 3 children. One day, she starts to struggle with a dilemma - to go on with her life as monotonous as it is or... to write a novel. Obsessed with the idea, only supporter of hers is Nukri, a shopkeeper of a stationery and now her only confidant. This novel is a chance to escape or even to be born once again. She describes herself and her family on the pages of the book trying to let them see the reality: show them what she feels, how she feels like.

Writing the script, the only actress she imagined the face of was Nato Murvanidze. Although, Nurki is absolutely different as a character in the movie, she immediately confirmed Ramaz Ioseliani on this role. "The intuition tells you how the transformation may occur" - says the director. Avto Makharadze plays Manana's father. Relationship with this actor was extremely important for Ana, who still keeps a notebook from him - "One day he gave me a notebook, which is full of notes about his character... habits, gestures, motions, words, details - all the words are constructed as music. He didn't care me being a beginner, with no experience and asked me everything, absolutely everything. Yes! Of course yes! - was my only response."
She says that while shooting, she didn't even glimpse at the script at all. She cut some scenes off and made some of them even more discreet. "I'm very mobilized at the set, which is usually rare. I'm never nervous and I concentrate extremely. In everyday life, I may be occupied with some problems, what I call "teenage complexes" but when I'm at filming set, all of it disappears. But as soon as the shootings are done... everything comes back again."

She thinks that she's been very lucky working on this film. At first - it was a crew - art director Tea Telia, Director of Photography - Mindia Esadze, film editor - Alexander Kuranov, sound editor - Paata Godziashvili, the actors... She loves the fact that that her debut feature was also a debut for many others. For instance, a composer Nika Pasuri who felt the atmosphere so well and wrote just right music for the film. She borrowed the equipment from Dito Tsintsadze who had stopped working on his own film that time.

When did she decide to become a director? There's no sense asking this question. She says she didn't really ever decide it. It was supposed to be like that. "My father is a director. And he was like a hero of my childhood. That's why I had never thought about what I wanted to become. There was only one way." Her father is film director Zaza Urushadze whose film "Tangerines" was nominated in the category of Best Foreign Language film of the Year on the Oscars 2015.

And still, where did "Scary Mother" come from? Lastly, I ask. "Maybe, from my own family. My mother wanted to write a novel. She even started writing some but she abandoned all of them. My sister is going to finish her first book soon now. She also writes all the time. But what influenced the most was my grandmother. She doesn't talk a lot but I know she regrets not having done what she wanted so much to do in the past - to become a director. It's sad when you realize that it's really late already. What if she had decided to take this step and... or when was she supposed to decide? All in all, is it even of any importance now? I don't really know."

The film was shot in 34 days and edited in 6 days. On August 3, "Scary Mother" of 26 year-old Ana Urushadze was screened at Locarno, in "Filmmakers of the Present" competition.

"Georgian premiere? I don't even want to imagine it. I'm so nervous, it's killing me. I want to avoid going there somehow. I'll be totally happy if the audience will remember the movie just several times after leaving the cinema hall."

"Scary Mother" will be screened during Tbilisi Film Festival this year.

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