About Batumi Film Festival and Competition Films
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14th Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival opened on September 15 and during a week, it offered interesting screenings, masterclasses, and workshops. At the opening ceremony, which was held in Drama Theater of Batumi, a lifetime achievement prize for the special contribution to the cinema was awarded to American screenwriter Paul Schrader, French actor Denis Lavant and Georgian actor Manuchar Shervashidze. At the closing, the same prize was honored to the filmmaker Aleksandre Mindadze.

Besides several sections, the audience saw the most interesting screenings in the programme Masters Collection where the competition programme films of Berlinale and Cannes were screened: Jean and Luc Dardennes' Young Ahmed, Brillante Mendoza's Alpha: Right to Kill, Krzysztof Zanussi's Eter, Fatih Akin's Golden Glove, Ken Loach's Sorry We Missed You and so on.

Festival's main competition programme included ten feature films. Among them, there were films which stay in your memory because of their ways of expression, being thematic, or the way of telling the story. Such as End of Seasons by the director of Azerbaijani origin Elmar Imanov. The film describes a common day of the common family. The three protagonists: father Samir, mother Fidan and son Madmud, are all emptied from the emotions, love, senses and have just kind of mechanic relationships. The doubt that something can change comes when they loose mother on the beach. No one knows where Fidan is, maybe she's run away with someone, or maybe she's drowned. It was just when the lifeguards saw someone asking for help and then disappeared. The film made up with close-ups is full of dialogues and describes the sadness of the human solitude and estrangement from each other. And the environment, be it the house of Samir and Fidan, deserted beach, with empty bar and almost demolished apartment hired by Mahmud, underlines the estrangement and exhaustion.

The film of Turkish filmmaker Emin Alper - Tale of Three Sister participated in Berlinale's competition programme this year. In the faraway village of Turkey, three sisters live with their father. All three of them have the same desire to go away from this place as soon as possible and start working as a maid in town. They are different from each other but all three of them are sure that they can start a real life only far away from this uncivilized village: faraway mountains and its inhabitants, women in this patriarchal world - Alper tries to tell this all in a poetic manner.

Absolutely different and outstanding was the best work of competition programme Iranian filmmaker, Reza Mirkarimi's film Castle of Dreams. Mother is in the hospital with bad condition. And the father, who has not seen his children for years, comes to take them. Jalal, who has just got out of the prison, doesn't want to take this burden (Sara and Ali) and to take his own children with him but there is no other way. The whole story develops in one car, where strange members of the same family head a long way. This is a film where in 86 minutes, you can find love, sorrow, pain, the relationship of children and parents, smashing the dream towers, and being humane. Ali, who's about 7-8 years old, can be so gentle to the almost complete stranger, a father who's mentally fallen and give him an example. While his little sister Sara, talks non-stop during the whole movie to the father she has not seen for years, asking him questions endlessly. The interesting thing is that as much the film makes the emotional influence on the audience, as reserved is the ending. The Hollywood Reporter compared Mirkarimi's Castle of Dreams with Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief.

The closing and award ceremony were held in Batumi State Music Centre on September 22. The five-member jury was presided by filmmaker Aleksandre Mindadze (Russia), the other members were: Tatiana Detlofson (USA), Martin Blaney (UK), Carmen Grey (UK), Rusudan Glurjidze (Georgia). The jury announced the winners in the following nominations:

Grand Prix - "Let There Be Light", dir. Marko Skop, Slovak Republic/Czech Republic, 2019

Best Film Director - "Castle of Dreams", dir. Reza Mirkarimi, Iran, 2019

Best Actor - Kayhan Açikgöz in film "Tale of Three Sisters", dir. Emin Alper, Turkey/Germany, 2019

Best Actress - Ece Yuksel, in film "Tale of Three Sisters"

Jury Special Prize - "End of Seasons", dir. Elmar Imanov, Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia, 2019


For the second time this year, the festival had Georgian Film Critics Jury consisting of - Lela Ochiauri (Chairwoman), Nino Mkheidze, Salome Kikaleishvili. Their choice was Castle of Dreams by Reza Mirkarimi.

Besides, BIAFF Documentary Films international competition section's Jury consisting of five members: Krzystof Gierat (Poland - Head of Jury), Ghasideh Golmakani (Iran), Karen Avetysian (Armenia), Oles Yanchuk (Ukraine), Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili (Georgia) granted the following prizes:

The Best Doc film - "Shooting the Mafia", Kim Longinoto, Ireland, 2019

Special Mentions - "Lovemobile", Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss, Germany, 2019 and "Forman VS Forman", Helena Trestikova/Jacub Hejna, Czech Republic/France, 2019


The head of the festival's Short Film international competition section's Jury was Otar Shamatava (Georgia), with him, the films were judged by Paul Thiltges (Luxemburg) and David Lorenz (Germany).

The Best Short film was "Animal", Amiran Dolidze, Georgia, 2019

Jury Special Mentions were awarded to two films:  "Hope", Aleksandra Markova, Belarus, 2019 and "Watermelon Juice", Irene Moray, Spain, 2019


At the closing ceremony BIAFF 2019 Industry Platform winner projects were also announced and awarded the following prizes:

Wroclaw Audio-Visual Center (CeTA) prize - 10,000 EUR equivalent production services to film project "Orange Sky" (Georgia), Director, producer: Shalva Shengeli; co-scriptwriter Alexander Kurkhuli.

BIAFF prize - participation at BERLINALE film festival industry platform for film project - "The Load" (Georgia), Director, producer: Ana Iosava; co-Writers: Otar Katamadze

Istanbul Film Festival's industry platform "Meeting on the Bridge" prize - participation in "Meeting on the Bridge" 2020 for film project "You Look Like Your Father" (Georgia), Director: Levan Lomjaria, Producer: Vako Kirkitadze





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