Georgian Animation under the International Spotlight

If there is something positive about Georgia, it’s its culture, becoming more and more apparent and affirmed by success at various important festivals worldwide. Like feature and documentary films, Georgian animation is also establishing its name with remarkable projects by young talents. 

There are only a handful of artists creating animated films in Georgia, their work is not much supported at home, but hope is around the corner that soon things will change for the better and Georgian talented artists whose works captivate many hearts internationally, will be more popularized and promoted in Georgia.

“I can’t mention something concrete as my source of inspiration. An idea can emerge anytime and anywhere. I observe everything I see, hear and feel,” says Ana, whose first animated story ‘The Pocket Man’ has an interesting adventurous life. 

Being a children’s book illustrator, Ana Chubinidze created her first work in 2013 with financial support of the Georgian National Film Center (GNFC). ‘The Pocket Man’ participated in a workshop organized by the GNFC in cooperation with the International Animation Film Festival ‘Nikozi’ in Georgia and led by French producer Olivier Catherin. Chubinidze’s work was the winning project of the workshop, and the filmmaker was invited to present it at the 2015 Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France, attended by cinema professionals from the famous French studio Folimage. The artist was afterwards invited by the studio to continue working on the film with teams in France and Georgia, with the final project co-produced by Folimage and Georgian studio Kvali XXI.

As a result of this collaboration, Ana created the 7-minute long film ‘The Pocket Man,’ a story about a little man living in an old suitcase, who finds a new friend – an old blind man. The little man jumps into the blind man's pocket and helps the blind man walk and see things in the street. After being created, the pocket man independently continues his life… The animated film was named as the best short film at Montreal International Children’s Film Festival and also got the Special Mention prize for being a wonderfully illustrated simple and touching story. Later, the film was debuted at the prestigious New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Regarding current activities, the artist is processing new ideas for her new animation film. Plus, a book of ‘The Pocket Man’ will be released in print. Chubinidze also runs workshops for children and teaches them to create 3D books and moving paper characters. 

Natia Nikolashvili is another young artist with a very interesting and individual style. Her 10-minute hand-painted animated film ‘Li.le’ was debuted at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival 2017 in the category of Short Films Generation Kplus (aimed at those aged four and above). ‘Li.le’ tells the story of a girl left in a lifeless forest and seeks out her own reflection to bring light back to the world.  

As the artist notes, ‘Li.le’ was inspired by one musical piece and while listening to this musical composition, Natia drew in her imagination twin girls running on an iron construction, but without crossing each other’s path. “Then we made up a story and tried to find an appropriate technique and environment for the film,” said the filmmaker, adding that working on ‘Li.le’ took much time, but was rather an important experience for her. 

Regarding her current project, the artist once saw an image of imps on a hair-slide and became enthusiastic to breathe life into this image. “The working title of my new project is ‘Imps’. This project is at the development stage and I hope it will be implemented soon,” said Nikolashvili.

The artist represents an animation studio at ‘20 Steps Production’ headed by Vladimer Kacharava. The first production of the studio was ‘Grandmother’ by Sandro Katamashvili, where Natia was involved as an animator for the first time. The puppet animation “Sunset” by Mamuka Tkeshelashvili was the second production of the studio and then “Li.le” saw daylight.                                “More and more talented people are joining our studio and we work together on several interesting animation projects. Regarding future plans, we are starting to implement full-length projects,” Nikolashvili told us.  

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