HISTORY OF TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Tbilisi International Film Festival was first held in 2000 within a larger art festival framework, Gift which had numerous supporters and sponsors. Consequently, the festival at that time had interesting and diverse program. In 2002 the festival faced closure threat and a circle of friends and co-thinkers (Gaga Chkheidze, Nino Anjaparidze, Lasha Bakradze, Davit Bukhrikidze, Besik Danelia, Guga Kotetishvili, Gaga Lomidze and Giorgi Kajrishvili) decided to set up the Cinema Art Center, Prometheus to maintain it and run other projects too. In 2002 the Cinema Art Center, Prometheus organized the festival with its scarce financial resources.
Ultimately, Prometheus succeeded in attracting attention of governmental agencies and in 2004 the Georgian National Film Centre provided it with financial support along with other private sponsors. A couple of years later the Ministry of Culture and Tbilisi Municipality joined the track.
Main aims of the festival are to introduce Georgian public with new works of high artistic value made in Georgia proper and worldwide, inform it about new trends in the world cinema and support development of Georgian cinema industry.
Meetings of professionals in cinema community, workshops, master classes, retrospectives and other industrial events organized within the festival's frameworks give motivation to young cinematographers and encourage them to develop talent and artistic vision. We strive to turn the festival into a gathering place for filmmakers, producers, sales agents and distributors in South Caucasus. The festival has gained more significance throughout its history on worldwide scale. Number of the filmmakers willing to participate in the festival in any way is increasing year after year.
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION AND PRIZES
The most exciting part of the Tbilisi International Film Festival is the International competition in which 10 - 12 directorial debut or second full length feature films by European directors participate. Since the Festival takes place in December it gives us an advantage of selecting films that have already gained popularity at different festivals in other parts of the world.
There are two official prizes for the categories: Best Film (Gold Prometheus) and Best Director (Silver Prometheus). In addition to the golden and the silver Prometheus we also have the non-official prizes for instance the Parajanov Award, for Outstanding poetic vision. Different organizations are also encouraged to fund the event with various prizes. In 2011 Bank of Georgia, established an award for the Georgian Panorama film, the award was given to WILL THERE BE A THEATRE UP THERE?! by Nana Janelidze.
FORUM OF EUROPEAN CINEMA
The idea or concept of the festival was clear from very beginning that it was intended for European Film Festival which is why the Forum of European Cinema plays a huge role during this event. During this program we screen the best, recent European Films.
This is one of the traditional sections which consists of a diversed ensemble of filmmakers from other parts of the world such as Asia , America, Africa, Australia except Europe.
Tbilisi International Film Festival brings a great attraction and awareness to the process and purpose of Georgian cinema. Every year the festival screens the latest Georgian films in this special section "Georgian Panorama" to a diversed audience. The Film Festival paves a way for local upcoming filmmakers to be on the same pedestal and compete on an international stage.
MADE IN GERMANY
Since 2005 Tbilisi International Film Festival has closely cooperated with its loyal partner, Goethe Institute and presented new German films annually under the program, "Made in Germany".
DIRECTOR IN FOCUS
One of the traditions of the festival is the Director in Focus section. This section shows a small retrospective of a certain guest director during the event. After the screening the director holds a Q & A discussion with the audience, often the same director conducts a Master class session for students or anyone who is interested in the film industry.
In 2001 the festival had the privilege of having Leos Carax as a guest director. In previous years guest directors included the likes of Ulrike Ottinger, Hugh Hudson, Bob Rafelson, Mike Leigh, Joe Wright, Patrick Cazals and Harutyun Khachatryan .
The Tbilisi International Film Festival yearly host well known directors, producers, actors and cameraman. This section screens various films from a certain artist , then after the screening it is crucial for the artist to have a "meet and greet " with the audience. In addition the festival always honors the works of Georgians who made a great contribution to the development of Georgian cinema. For instance the celebration of the 100 years of Nato Vachnadze and Michael Kalatozishvili , 80 years of Sergey Parajanov , and 70 years of Mikheil Kobakhidze and Irakli Kvirikadze.
Over the period of twelve years the festival has hosted more than 500 film directors, producers, actors, film experts, documentalists. During these years, TIFF was privileged to host honorable International filmmakers such as Bob Rafelson (USA), Vanessa Redgrave (UK), Leos Carax (France), Greta Scacchi (UK), Mike Leigh (UK), Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland), Mika Kaurismaki (Finland), Franco Nero (Italy), Bruno Dumont (France), Hugh Hudson (USA), Maryam D'Abo (USA), Jafar Panahi (Iran), Franc Roddam (UK), Sergey Solovyov (Rissia), Yesim Ustaoglu (Turkey), Helma Sanders-Brahms (Germany), Joe Wright (UK), Jim Stark (USA) and others; as well as Georgian filmmakers and actors working abroad: Otar Iosseliani, Mikheil Kobakhidze, Irakli Kvirikadze, Nana Jorjadze, Nino Kirtadze, Mikheil Kalatozishvili, Dito Tsintsadze, Merab Ninidze and others.
Some of the major partners and supporters of theTbilisi International Film Festival are Erika and Ulrich Gregors, co-founders of the Berlin International Film Festival, who are consistently and enthusiastically consulting the Festival's organizers. The Festival's acknowledged supporters include Peter Scarlet, and established actress Maryam D'Abo. The festival cooperates with foreign embassies and international organizations, Goethe Institute and French Institute and international publishing agencies, such as Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily.